President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of National Stadium, Surulere to the Lagos State Government for retrofitting and upgrading to host international sporting tournaments.
Speaking at the ongoing annual ministerial press briefing to mark the third anniversary of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration;, Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr Kweku Adedayo Tandoh, said it was gratifying to report that after series of back and forth, action would commence next week on paperwork for the formal handover of the facility to the State Government.
Responding to a question on the delay in handover of the stadium to the State Government for upgrade from its present state of decay, Tandoh said the approval for the release was given verbally by the President during his visit to Lagos few weeks ago, while terms of the agreement would now be based not on concession but complete release to the State Government.
Giving details, Tandoh said: “You would recall that the Lagos State Government signified interest in taking over completely the National Stadium and the Governor did not just say it, he actually met with the Minister of Sports and a tour of the facility was carried out.
“One thing later developed and there were signs and signals that the Governor received that they were not actually ready to hand over the Stadium to us rather it seems as if they just wanted a concession agreement where the State Government would spend the money, get it fixed while the Federal Government would still be in place but that is not what Lagos State Government wants.
“So, during the visit of the President to Lagos State few weeks ago, the Governor at the State Dinner was able to grouch the intention again and he mentioned it in his speech to the President and the President verbally gave approval that that was going to be in place. Just yesterday, the Governor directed that I proceed to Abuja next week to deliver some communications that are necessary to put in place a formal handover of the National Stadium to Lagos State Government. We are grateful that this time they will give it to us on the terms that the Lagos State Government has requested for,” he explained.
On activities of the Commission in the last one year, Tandoh said in line with the commitment of the present administration towards provision of world class sporting facilities, approval had already been given for comprehensive renovation of Campos Mini Stadium in Lagos Island, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere; Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Rowe Park, Yaba; Isheri Football Field/Swimming Pool, and Ijede Mini Stadium, Ikorodu.