The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, says the Federal Government will collaborate with the Lagos State Government to accelerate the process of concessioning the National Stadium, Surulere.
Dare said this on Saturday in Lagos, during the inspection of the stadium and Teslim Balogun Stadium, both in Surulere, as well as the Onikan Stadium.
He noted that there could be no sports development without corresponding improved facility, hence the need for the inspection of the facilities in the stadia to assess their state.
According to him, the inspection tour is in line with the federal government’s commitment to ensuring that stadia in the country are properly maintained.
He said that the inspection was a sign of what would happen to the stadia in Lagos and other sporting facilities across the country.
”Today is historical because we are seeing the next level in sports development in this country.
”There is no sports development without facilities, hence we need to maintain our facilities. We need to upgrade them and we need to manage them properly.
”What you see today is the first step towards maintaining what is a national monument,” Dare said.
The minister said the plan was to renovate and upgrade the national stadium to an international standard.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state said he had gone around with the minister and seen the state of negligence and misuse of the national stadium.
Sanwo-Olu said that the state was ready to turn the stadium to an international asset that Nigerians would be proud of.
He said that the federal government had agreed to work with the Lagos state government on the process of concessioning the stadium.
”Lagos state has indicated interest to help manage and bring back the dead assets that we have there and turn them into a viable asset for our teeming youth,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor promised that the stadium would soon wear a new look to guarantee a sporting future for the people around as well as the sporting community at large.
He said that the stadium was built over 43 years ago and the infrastructure was still very strong.
”We just need to do a whole lot more to revamp it, put it to use and monitor how it is managed,” the governor said.
He said that the state government was committed to making the national stadium ready for the second FIFA inspection team’s visit.
Sanwo-Olu said that government was working with security agencies and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth FIFA Under-20 Women World Cup tournament scheduled for 2020.