The move by Lagos State to take over and rehabilitate the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, enjoyed a major boost on Wednesday with a joint inspection of the facility by officials of the Lagos State Government led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and those of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development led by the minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung.
The inspection according to Ambode was to assess the state of the facility with a view to evaluating the extent of work to the done to bring it back alive.
Ambode said it is a compelling generational response to reverse the ugly state of the facility with a sense of responsibility.
“We must stand up for leadership. We cannot all stand by and continue to watch an important facility as this continue to decay.
“We owe it a duty to our generation to bring it back to shape. We cannot be a generation of waste. We all used this stadium and we must leave a legacy by putting it back to shape for the use of our children.”
Explaining that he had come to the stadium several times as a kid to watch Lagos defunct darling club, Stationery Stores, FC and NEPA FC play, he said the revival of the stadium is in line with the agenda of the government to use sports as an instrument to drive human capital empowerment, employment, sports tourism and economic development.
He said the request for the take over cannot be said to be aggressive, pointing out that other such facilities like the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu and the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar had earlier been handed over to their respective host states.
Barrister Dalung who had earlier described the interest of Lagos on the facility as “overriding” urged the Lagos Government to set up an organ for the efficient and effective management of the stadium to ensure optimum maintenance and capacity utilization.
The minister indicated that if the stadium is rehabilitated in the next state it will become the venue for the Super Eagles remaining matches in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Top sports personalities who joined the inspection included the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, and his Vice President and also Chairman of Lagos State Football Association, Seyi Akinwunmi, Lagos State Special Adviser on Sports and Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, the Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Special Assistant to the Lagos Governor on Sports, Special Assistant on Facilities, Bolaji Yusuf,