New Sports Minister Vows To Fix MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja
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By Amaechi Agbo.
The minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare has stated the commitment of the ministry to fix the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja and bring it back to live in terms of hosting football matches and other sporting activities, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can repot.
The minister who stated this while on inspection tour of the stadium on Friday said that apart from the playing turf, every other facility in the arena remains functional.
Consequently, he expressed hope that the ministry under his watch will prioritise regrassing the field and putting every other facility currently not in good shape in order and bring live back to the stadium.
The minister who was greatly shocked over the none usage of the facility that cost the country N60 billion to construct in the early 2000s, said that the government under President Buhari understood the importance of sports in the country and vowed to fix the field in no distant time.
Although the minister did not disclose the time frame nor how he was going to fix the playing turf, he however gave his word that fixing the stadium is top on the agenda of the ministry.
“There have been funding challenges. And the moment the last batch of ministers left office, there was a little delay. I have been just sworn-in as a minister, less than 72 hours ago. I have been briefed and based on that, I prioritised coming to the MKO Abiola Stadium. Barring any funding difficulty, and we are going to be innovative in trying to see how we can get extra funding, we are going to prioritise the stadium field. I don’t want to put timeline but I think it is sufficient to say that it is right at the top of the agenda of the ministry because we know it has taken some time. Nigerians want matches to be played there and it will be ready soon.
“Youth development is critical. This administration is committed to youth development and sports development. We have been charged to also look for innovative ways to be able to generate funds for our ministry. I looked at the pitch this afternoon and I was seeing a revenue-generating possibility through advertising.
“I am going to be a minister for youth and sports development. I understand that soccer or football is loved by most Nigerians. It gets the attention of almost everyone. In the same way, badminton, cycling, athletics, table tennis and the other sports in which we have the leverage and potentials, will also get equal attention. We will find a way to make sure that beyond football, we will get other sports up to speed.
“As far as I am concerned, the MKO Abiola Stadium is in order. There are no leakages and a competition just ended in the stadium. I have seen that the energy supply is back fully. The velodrome is a signpost of what we should expect. The fact that the velodrome is functional and up to speed, means that we need to bring all other facilities in the stadium to the same level of functionality. Of course the pitch will receive a priority attention,” he said.