…says N10bn needed to fix floodlights
The National Stadium, Lagos and the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan owe a staggering N950m electricity bills, The PUNCH has learnt.
Sports minister Sunday Dare made this known during his recent visit to both stadiums.
“As at five years ago, the National Stadium, Lagos owed N600m in electricity bills while the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium owe about N350m. The water in Ibadan was restored after N150m was paid,” the minister said.
Our correspondent learnt the frustrated electricity distribution company in charge of the Lagos stadium stopped sending bills to the sporting arena since 2018, after futile attempts to get the money paid by the sports authorities.
Dare lamented the rot of the Lagos stadium, where work is ongoing inside the main bowl pitch, tartan tracks and scoreboard, courtesy of billionaire businessman Kessington Adebutu’s N400m sponsorship.
“The work has been ongoing, but we are working on a complete fix of the electrical problems because the connection is the most important: it connects the sprinklers, the scoreboard, you can’t go to the floodlights yet because to fix them, you need about N10bn. All the cables have been stolen, what you have there is a carcass. I almost wept day I went to the stadium Control Room. Everything there is gone, except the wood,” Dare said.
“There’s no money to see off what I wanted to happen at the Lagos stadium. I can’t run faster than the money on the table. Look at Abuja stadium, it was a corn field, I have the pictures, everything was completely destroyed. We’ve played more than 17 international matches there now, FIFA and CAF matches. We brought in the reserve bench and took care of all the FIFA conditions.”
Dare stated that the National Sports Industry Policy, which was approved last November by the President, Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd.), would help attract private funding to the sports sector.
“The efforts we made in three-and-a-half years was to make sure we got private funding and they told us, ‘there’s no policy in sports development, sports here is not business.’ There must be government business policy behind sports. It took us two-and-a-half years to get that ready. November 2 last year, the Sports Industry Policy was approved. The technical committee and the finance ministry are working out the brochure of incentives because that’s what the private sector needs to come in.”
Dare added that following the harsh economic conditions in the country, the Federal Government has made moves to return some of its stadiums to the states.