By Huseyn Mbar
No fewer than 6,500 athletes and officials from Federal Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are expected in Bauchi for the 36th edition of the Federation of Public Service Games (FEPSGA).
President of the Federation, Dahiru Hassan, disclosed this to newsmen in Bauchi on Monday in the wake of Sunday’s courtesy call on Gov. Muhammed Abubakar at the Government House.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FEPSGA officials led by Hassan had on Sunday visited the governor to formally inform him of the 2017 FEPSGA Games.
Hassan said more than 2,000 members of supporter clubs of about 150 MDAs were also expected to attend the games tagged “Bauchi 2017’’ and expected to begin on Dec. 11.
“About 10 ministers and 20 permanent secretaries of various ministries have indicated their intention to grace the occasion. So, it is a big event with good quality sports activities,’’ he said.
Hassan disclosed that the games was introduced in 1980 to develop the physical and mental abilities of civil servants to enable them provide effective and efficient services to the country.
He said FEPSGA deliberately chose Bauchi State due to the prevailing peaceful environment, which was missing in neighbouring states in the North-East sub-region.
“We decided to come to Bauchi because of what you have in terms of peace and security. The games will also help to improve the economy of the state,’’ the FEPSGA president said.
NAN reports that Gov. Abubakar, while responding to Hassan during the visit, had described sports as a unifier of the people.
He commended the organisers for their efforts, especially in selecting Bauchi State for the 36th edition of the games.
“Our administration is a sports-friendly one and is currently giving all sports facilities in the state a facelift to enable them meet international standards,’’ the governor had said.
NAN reports that the games will be formally declared open by Gov. Abubakar, while the games organisers have promised an exciting games with the full backing of the State Government.
The games is scheduled to begin with the pre-games seminar to hold from Monday to Wednesday, while participating athletes and officials are expected from Thursday to Saturday.
Accreditation of all athletes and officials will hold from Friday to Sunday, while the games’ opening ceremony will be on Dec. 11.
Athletes are expected to compete in 14 scoring events and one demonstration game for the physically-challenged.
The games’ defending champions are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and they will be aiming to defend the title won at the 35th edition in Jos, Plateau in 2016.