Rommy Ezeonwuka, Proprietor of Rojenny Stadium and Tourists Village, has called on government at all levels to ban religious and other non-sporting activities in all spots sports stadia in the country.
Ezeonwuka made the call when he received members of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Anambra chapter, who were on tour of sports facilities in the state.
The tour of sports was part of the three days SWAN Week activities in the state.
The facility investor blamed the collapse of most Nigerian stadia on their use for non-sporting activities like religious crusades and political rallies.
He berated successive sports administrators in the country for misuse of the multi-billion Naira facilities for momentary gain.
Ezeonwuka said Rojenny was still relevant more than three decades because he refused to allow such distractions in his facility.
“One major factor that is killing our sports facility is the permission to use them for activities that are not sports-related, it is said that the government allows crusade, political rallies, burials in our stadia.
“Look at the National Stadium in Surulere, National Stadium Abuja and other facilities that should be used for training our youths for world championships collapsing because our administrators rent them out for money.
“Even here in Anambra, Achebe Stadium, Fegge and Ikpeazu Stadium have collapsed because of these things, it should be stopped and government should outlaw it.
“Sports has a spirit and you must respect the spirit of sports, that is why I have refused to allow anybody to use here for any other thing other than sports, that is the secret of Rojenny survival after 35 years.
“This is the only individually-owned Olympic size Stadium where you can hold most major games without leaving the stadium complex,” he said.
Ezeonwuka said Nigeria had all it takes to dominate sports at the world stage but regretted that administrators have reduced the country to the mere training ground where other countries come to adopt talented athletes.
He said Nigeria must try to retain their best so that the country could enjoy the benefits of the sporting economy like Europe, America and now, Asia.
On the coming Nigeria Police Games scheduled to hold at Rojenny next year, Ezeonwuka described Rojenny as the proverbial parish waiting for the priest to come and conduct the Holy Mass.
“Bahrain adopted about 10 Nigerians athletes, the young girls that recently won the world championship for them trained here, we must stop the West from poaching on us by placing value on what we have.
“Rojenny is like a parish waiting for the priest, the priest is the government who is supposed to create programmes so that athletes can make use of what we have here.
“It is not easy to run a stadium, even the government is finding it difficult, so those of us in the private sector need encouragement.
“I want to thank the Nigerian Police for finding here worthy and we promise that the 2020 Games will be the best for them,” he said.
In his remark, Philip Balepo, a veteran journalist, said Rojenny deserved a golden place in the history of Nigerian sports because of what he had done for the Nigerian youth.
Balepo, who expressed satisfaction with the ambience of Rojenny environment, called on Nigerian sports administrators to visit the place and see how best it could be optimised for sports growth.
The SWAN team was led by its chairman Anthony Oji.