The Delta State Local Governments Sports Festival earlier scheduled to open on January 14 has been postponed.
Chairman of the Local Organising Committee and former Chairman of the Delta State chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon Itiako Constantine Ikpokpo, explained that the shift became necessary in overriding public interest in consideration of the new wave of COVID-19.
The development arose from a meeting on Monday with the Secretary to the Government of Delta State, Hon Chiedu Ebie who invited the organisers to present their plans for precaution and prevention of the spread of the disease during the event.
While commending the committee for their detailed strategy, the SSG said, considering the amount of work already done by the committee, deciding for or against going ahead with the event is like a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. He however pointed out that in situations like this, it is safer to err on the side of caution.
“Your COVID-19 prevention protocol plan is well articulated and I am not surprised considering the calibre of people involved in the organisation. The question however is: Can we continue as though things are normal? There is growing public health concerns that the COVID-19 case numbers are going up and there is need to take adequate measures against the second wave. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get people to comply 100 percent. If you go ahead to hold the event, nothing may happen but if something happens then it will deemed irresponsible to have held it at this time.”
Responding, the Chairman of the LOC affirmed that no amount of expenses already incurred in the organisation of the event is worth the risk of the exposure.
“We know that sports is still going on in the country and across the world, howbeit with various levels of observation of the COVID prevention protocols, but the threat of the disease and the second wave is real. This gives cause for caution. While preparing for the event, we had been watching developments and we believe that no amount of expenses already incurred is worth the risk of going ahead at this time. Under the circumstance, we can only act on the path of responsibility and that is to postpone the event until the coast is clear. We thank the state government for its support as well as our sponsors, UBA and Levant Construction for their understanding. We urge the athletes to use this break to prepare harder ahead of a new date.”