By NBF News
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THE 17th National Sports Festival – Garden City Games – scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, will now begin on June 27, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) has assured.

Explaining the postponement of the Games earlier scheduled to hold next month, LOC Chairman and Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Tele Ikuru, said the shift in date was necessitated by the forthcoming national elections and the need to ensure that everything was in place for a successful competition.

Ikuru, who spoke to journalists through the Executive Secretary of the organising body, Bestman Nnwoka, and the marketing consultant for the Games, Patrick Ukah, assured: 'We are committed to hosting a world-class sports festival and we will do our best to ensure that the Garden City Games leaves a lasting legacy.'

Stressing that the facilities on ground at the moment were enough to host an excellent event, LOC Secretary, Nnwoka, said: 'I can assure you that those are the new dates and we have absolutely no intention to change them. If not for the election, we could have comfortably hosted the Garden City Games in February with the facilities available to us.'

To Ukah, a former national hockey team player and current president of the Hockey Federation of Nigeria, the festival should be treated as a major event. He said: 'The sports festival should be treated as our own Olympics, because it should be the gathering of our best athletes.

'Rivers State has shown that it is ready to host the ideal sports festival and that's why I'm glad to get on board as the marketing consultant. Together, I believe we can take the festival to the highest level ever.'