According to sources, the National Stadium in Lagos and the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium in Ibadan owe an astounding N950 million in electrical bills.
During a recent visit to both stadiums, Sports Minister Sunday Dare made this known.
“As at five years ago, the National Stadium in Lagos owed N600 million in electricity bills, while the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium owed about N350 million.” “Water was restored in Ibadan after N150 million was paid,” the minister added.
Our correspondent learned that the dissatisfied electrical distribution business in charge of the Lagos stadium has stopped delivering bills to the sporting facility since 2018, following failed attempts by the sports authorities to get the money paid.
Dare lamented the state of the Lagos stadium, where work is being done on the main bowl surface, tartan tracks, and scoreboard thanks to an N400 million sponsorship from billionaire businessman Kessington Adebutu.
“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, and you can’t go to the floodlights yet because they require about N10 billion to repair.” All the cables have been stolen, so all you have is a carcass. I almost wept the day I went to the stadium Control Room. “Everything except the wood is gone,” Dare claimed.
“There is 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 cornfield, and everything was completely destroyed. We’ve now played more than 17 international matches there, including FIFA and CAF matches. We brought in the reserve bench and took care of all FIFA conditions.”
Dare added that the National Sports Industry Policy, which was adopted by President Major General Muhammad Buhari (retd.) last November, would aid in attracting private funding to the sports sector.
“We worked for three and a half years to get private funding, and they told us, ‘there’s no policy in sports development, sports here is not business.'” Sports must be supported by government business strategy. That took us two and a half years to complete. The Sports Industry Policy was approved on November 2 of last year. The technical committee and the finance ministry are preparing an incentive booklet since it is what the business sector requires.”
Dare further stated that, as a result of the country’s difficult economic conditions, the federal government has begun to return some of its stadiums to the states.