Newsmen reports that Dalung said as much in his speech to herald the 19th National Sports Festival, which he said is a big achievement of the Federal Government.

Dalung recalled that there were several shifts in the venue and take-off dates for the 19th edition of the festival, until the Federal Government decided to take over sponsorship and organisation of the competition.

Cross River State was originally named to host, after the last edition of 2012 in Lagos, but the minister explained that their failure to live up to expectation forced the Federal Government to step in.

Dalung added that a total of 8,861 athletes and officials are taking part in the 2018 festival, with the participants drawn from 35 states.

A breakdown of the participants includes 7,227 athletes, 710 coaches, 322 other team officials and 602 state delegates, with the athletes set to take part in 10 games.

Only Ebonyi State is not participating in the Games, which began on Thursday and ends on December 16.

The state government’s involvement in the 1st Ebonyi Governor’s Para-Military Games 2018, is seen as a reason why they skipped the festival.

Dalung said National Sports Festival and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) are the key legacies of Nigeria’s unity in diversity.