The Federal government will remain a major stakeholder when the Lagos state government concludes renovation of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos.
Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung made the clarification when he paid a courtesy call on the governor of Lagos state Mr Akinwunmi Ambode In his office in Alausa.
He explained that the federal government will not completely take its hands off the management of the National Stadium when it is renovated but will remain a partner and maintain its own equity in the facility.
“Taking over ownership and management of the National Stadium does not mean Lagos state will completely discharge our equity. No. The federal government will still reserve its rights just like it is in other national sporting monuments that have gone through the same process.The intention basically is to abate the national embarrassment being faced as a result of the stadium’s present state.”
The Minister noted that the facility has produced great sportsmen and women who are the symbol of the country’s sports pride but they cannot look back and point at the origin of their success.
“In uplifting and renovating the National Stadium, we are also willing to assuage the emotions of those who have made Nigeria proud in the past. It will also help to groom young Nigerians who will serve in future and create employment opportunities, foreign investments and develop a tourist tradition.”
The minister reaffirmed his commitment to drive the process to a logical conclusion and also assured Gov Ambode that the Ministry of Youth and Sports will continue to partner with Lagos state in other areas where they can add value to humanity.
Earlier, Governor Ambode thanked the minister, describing the step taken in giving the stadium a facelift as a convergence of vision.
” Our visitation and inspection of the National Stadium is a clear example of what a true leader should do in times of difficulty.
The white collar job is gone and so we have to think out of the box to create employment for our people and activate their creativity and ability to use their skills and earn income.”
Gov Ambode pledged Lagos state’s commitment to youth and sports development, promising to use sports as an instrument to galvanize the state’s economy.
” This stadium that you’ve seen is not only for Lagosians . It is for Nigerians and foreigners. That is our own sports tourists’ attraction. We have our own Teslim Balogun stadium but the National Stadium will catapult us to be able to create other sports facilities across the state. We will be able to generate employment for millions of Lagosians. There is no amount of investment that we both commit to this project that will not bring back returns to Nigeria. So we will support you in whatever steps that need to be taken, up to the final processing for this national stadium project to come to fruition.
” At the end of the day, it will be to your credit that we had Ministers of sports and Directors-general of sports but there was one Solomon Dalung that came across and built bridges across the nation. That’s the history I want to create with you and I believe we can make this happen and also give you all the support you need to make sports grow in this country”, Gov Ambode said.