From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The first stadium in Nigeria, which is the dilapidated Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, hitherto known as Liberty Stadium, Ibadan in Oyo State, has finally caught the attention of the Federal Government.
The government has promised to begin repair works on the leaking roof of the facility as well as fixing the grasses of the main bowl of the stadium within some days.
The assurance was given by the Director of Procurement for the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Segun Oke at the weekend, when the House of Representatives Committee on Youths and Sports Development paid an assessment visit to the stadium.
According to him, “I can assure that what is budgeted for the stadium in the 2021 budget will not be rolled over. We are completing the process next week. After the completion of the process, the contractor will move to the site immediately.
“As I am speaking with you now, my staff are going to sleep in the office throughout this weekend because we want to make sure we complete the process next week. I am giving you the assurance that we are completing the process next week by the grace of God. We are assuring the National Assembly and the whole nation that this place will wear a new look.”
The House Committee was led by the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Sports, Olalekan Afolabi, who said: “We are here to inspect the state of Liberty Stadium, to see if any job has commenced or not, because we have appropriated money for the replacement of the roof, which is in the 2021 budget.
“We came here physically to see things for ourselves and get the assurance from those who are in charge of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development as regards the starting of the renovation of the roof and re-grassing of the main bowl.
“By now, we have expected the contractor to be on site. So, we are here now to see what is happening and ask some questions from the head of the team here, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to tell us the position of things as regards the renovation of roofing and some other parts of the stadium, which are inside the 2021 budget.
“The Director of Procurement has given us the assurance that the contractor process will be completed within the next one week and will ensure that the contractor moves to the site immediately and will be mobilized. They have promised us that the roofing of this shed will be completed by the end of this year. We are looking at between November and December which is a cycle of two months, this place will wear a new look and the grazing will wear a new look.
“This is one of the heritages of sports in this country. We know very soon, things will change for the better. We are working assiduously at the National Assembly to ensure that adequate provision is made in the budget for sports infrastructure and to engage the youth to curb restiveness among them.”