Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has assured that the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos will soon be completed to play host to sporting activities.
Speaking on Monday, 31 January, 2022 when he paid a working visit to the Sports City, the Minister said he was excited that since the scoreboard was functioning, the pitch regrassed, other facilities like the tartan tracks, VIP lounge, spectators’ stands among others will soon be completed.
According to him, “this facility was abandoned for many years. The stadium, unlike the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja had zero maintenance fund for almost 17 years, but we got Chief Kesington Adebutu to get it back to life.
“The time needed to get it back to life is much longer than what the eyes can see. The underbelly of the pitch had to be excavated and new sprinklers installed because the old ones were either stolen or rotten.
“The 10 lane tartan tracks is starting from the scratch because we listened to expert advice, the scoreboard took a longer time to dismantle because it had become obsolete and had to be replaced with a new one. The decay at the complex has been on for too long.
“The person funding the work insisted on the right quality and international standard before work started.”
The Sports Minister further said, “it took me a while to come here, but my coming is a validation of the fact that I’m impressed with the level of work that has been done. I hope that very soon we can host events here once we get the place functional.
“We are going to clear the debris, the grass is being properly maintained and the tracks will soon be laid and we are good to go.”
On plans to restore the masterplan of the Stadium, the Minister said, “I set up a taskforce to restore the Masterplan of the stadium and to eject illegal occupants and remove illegal structures. We took down more that 100 illegal shops, we received bashing from the press and some people that had lost their source of livelihood. This is a sports facility and not a market place which holds a lot of fond memories.
“We have identified a parcel of land where we can build about 150 lock up shops, a bank, fire service station to accommodate those that were evicted. We are awaiting Mr President’s anticipatory approval, we are working with the Ministry of Works, Bureau of Public Enterprises(BPE) and other government agencies. Once approval is given, work would start in earnest.”
Minister Sunday Dare also explained that measures would be put in place to get the control room functioning so that the water sprinklers, scorecoard and the lighting systems can become activated.
“By April we hope the facility can host a football match or an athletics meet that would bring the fans back to the stands.
“With the Covid restrictions on the number of fans at sports events, we can get them back in few numbers,” the Minister concluded.