Monday, April 15, 2024

Why Lagos govt abandoned refurbishment of Onikan for National Stadium

Fresh facts have emerged as to why the Lagos State Government had to abandon its primary project of rebuilding Onikan Stadium at the Victoria Island for the refurbishment of the National stadium in Surulere.

Lagos State Government and the Federal Ministry of Sports had proposed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, as a step towards the taking over of the stadium and refurbishing it to a world standard.

A competent source told our correspondent that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has been working underground to formalise the process of taking over the oldest stadium in Lagos by setting up a committee to understudy the possibility of how to turn the arena around and make it a beautiful edifice.

Lagos Government had inspected the stadium twice after the initial inspection with the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung recently.

According to a source close to the Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on facilities, the inspection team went round the stadium again with some officials of the Ministry of Sports to evaluate the cost of refurbishing the entire edifice at a stipulated time limit and how the investment would favour the state and the federal government through generated revenue.

“There have been series of speculations about the take-over project but Lagos is not under pressure, as alleged by a section of the media. The governor has been working round the clock to get the best out of the project and it had set up a committee to look into the cost implications with the proposed agenda of the Sports Ministry. There is no conflict of interest. Both parties are working towards the success of the refurbishment. Lagos State had to abandon the proposal to rebuild Onikan stadium this year for the National stadium.

It is now a priority for the state,” the source said.

Onikan stadium, the former traditional home of Lagos teams, has been a sorry site for a while with grown weeds inside the main bowl.

And the government contemplated rebuilding the edifice and turning it to a tourist attraction but the emergence of the National Stadium issue has now shifted the attention of government officials to the Mainland.

“Lagosians love sports and conducive atmosphere. The government is trying to live up to its promise by developing sports and putting all existing facilities in top shape for greater output. Lagos wants to be the best in everything,” the source added.

Calls put through to the Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Sports, Deji Tinubu, for an update on the project were unanswered while he also failed to respond to the series of text messages sent to his mobile number.

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