•moves for ownership of National Stadium
By John Egbokhan
Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has made a solemn pledge to go the extra mile in restoring the lost glory of sports in the Centre of Excellence.
Speaking during an interactive session with members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter at the Sports City yesterday, Sanwo-Olu, who recalled what sports used to be like in the good old days, where the likes of Stationary Stores, ACB and Leventis United dominated the sports landscape in the land, said it was regrettable that Lagos was no longer a beehive of sporting activities.
Displaying his deep passion for sports, Sanwo-Olu said that sports development was tied to the provision of facilities, technical capacity and a sustainable reward system, promising to move for the reclamation of previously sports grounds now turned to housing apartments and shopping centres, warning that such deviation from the master plan was hindering the development of sports talents in Lagos State.
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Noting that the Surulere area was going to serve as the pilot scheme of the project if elected in the March 2 gubernatorial election, Sanwo-Olu said that ‘’without these sports centres in our city, our plan to make Lagos reclaim its lost glory in sports would remain a pipe-dream, that is why we must liaise with the House of Assembly to enact a law that will make it compulsory for developers to make provisions for sports grounds in their future land development’’.
On plans to acquire the National Stadium from the federal government, Sanwo-Olu said that it was pitiable that what used to be the biggest sporting edifice in the country was now a shadow of its once glorious self, rotting away, making a mockery of the reason for its construction in the 1970s.
Noting that it was high time the federal government came down from its high horse by handing it over to the Lagos State government, who would in turn make it a beehive of national, continental and international sports competitions , Sanwo-Olu, who was a former Commissioner during the governorship tenure of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, promised to explore legislative options if the federal government remained obstinate in handing-over the Sports City to the state government.
‘’We would explore all options. The Lagos State government has been engaging the federal government through the means of dialogue on the issue of the National Stadium but the efforts have not yielded the desired change of ownership. We cannot allow such a monumental sports edifice to remain fallow because talents are being wasted and resources are being lost. We will also look at the legislation, through our members in the House of Representatives and Senate, so that a lasting solution can be reached’’, said Sanwo-Olu.