Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has assured the Federal Government that his state would resuscitate the National Stadium, Surulere, to ensure it plays a prominent role in the nation’s sports development.
Speaking during a tour of the edifice alongside Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, Governor Ambode thanked President Mohammadu Buhari for approving the hand over, adding that it was in line with Federal Government’s decision on the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, which has been handed over to the Kaduna State government, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium handed over to Enugu State Government and the U.J Esuene Stadium Calabar, which has been given to the Cross River State Government.
He said, “We can’t fold our arms and watch this monument continue to rot away. We intend to renovate the facility and bring it back to its prime position as sports city where other sports, apart from football can also be developed.
“I promised Lagosians during my electioneering campaigns that I will use sports, tourism, entertainment and arts to increase the GDP of Lagos and we have not shifted from that standpoint.”
The governor assured the minister that Lagos would not disappoint as there was already in place, an agency in charge of infrastructure in the state.
Earlier, Dalung had lamented the poor state of the sports complex, which was once the pride of Nigerian sports.
He said, “The national stadium, which was regarded as a monument of our national history has become a national embarrassment. It is in a very sorry state, as the level of dilapidation can never be compared to our level of civilisation.
“That is why I welcome the decision of the Lagos State Government to step in to restore our national pride and bring it back to a state we all can be proud of.”
Dalung said the inspection was necessary, adding, “It is the first step and a very important step in the process of a possible takeover. This inspection has given us a first hand information as to what is required to bring back the edifice to use.”