By Albert Akota
Activities heralding the 36th edition of Federation of Public Service Games began last Thursday, December 7, 2017 with pre-games seminar for officials and team managers just as arrival of athletes, screening and accreditation that followed days later.
The formal opening ceremony will be performed this afternoon by Representative of President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside executive governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi.
No fewer than 6,500 athletes from various federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are taking part in about 14 sporting events in a yearly tournament
introduced in 1980 with the aim of bringing civil servants together for mental fitness.
Speaking ahead of today ground breaking opening ceremony, FEPSGA president, Comrade Hassan Dahiru, said the games had already surpassed his expectation and those of so many people alike in view of its attendance record and commitment of Bauchi State government towards hitch free event.
He said they are happy to stage the 36th edition of the Games in Bauchi because of the fact that the state is the most peaceful state in the North Eastern part of the country and hailed the facilities for the games.
“The opening ceremony is tomorrow (today). We were expecting Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari to come and declare the event open, but we heard he will send somebody to perform the event on his behalf together with the host governor, Muhammed Abdullahi Abubakar.
“We are extremely grateful to the government and people of Bauchi State for their support in hosting the event here in Bauchi, under a peaceful atmosphere and standard facilities,” he said.
Receiving the executive members of the Federation of Public Service Games (FEPSGA) that paid him a courtesy visit at the government house, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar reiterated the determination of his administration to continue promoting sports activities in the state.
Comrade Dahiru expressed satisfaction with the facilities put in place by the Bauchi State Government, saying choice of the state to host the Games is not by accident but by merit and success recorded.
He pointed out that Bauchi stand to benefit a lot from hosting the Games, particularly in improving the economy of the state, as well as fostering unity among Nigerians in making new friends.
The President therefore called on the participants not to consider the competition as a do or die affair but to foster unity among them. He revealed that 15 different events will be competed during the 10day competition.
He assured that the state government will do everything possible to surpass the FEPSGA record in the past and commended the foresight of the founding Fathers of the Games and urged the present executives to ensure its sustainability.