The Sports Minister, Sunday Dare has revealed that two national stadia in Lagos and the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, owes electricity distribution companies (Discos) the sum of N950 million.
According to him, “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.”
Naija News reports that the minister, who made this revelation at during his recent visit to both stadiums, bemoaned 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 N400 million sponsorship.
He said “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 N10 billion. 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.
“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.
“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.”
The sports minister was however positive that the National Sports Industry Policy, which was approved last November by President, Muhammad Buhari would help attract private funding to the sports sector.