Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Dangote Group of Companies yesterday handed over to the Federal Government the rehabilitated football pitch of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja also fitted with new computerised score boards.
The Stadium was renovated under the Adopt-a-Pitch Initiative that aimed at using private collaborations to enhance the development of sportsmen in the country.
The Executive Director, Stakeholder Management and Corporate Communications, Dangote Group of Companies, Mansur Ahmed handed over the facility on behalf of the conglomerate to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare.
Ahmed stated that his company was committed to lifting the Moshood Abiola National Stadium to an international standard because of the tremendous impact sports has had on the stability and unity of the country.
He said Dangote Group of Companies carried out the renovation of the foootball pitch and digital score boards of the National Stadium in order to boost sports development in the country.
The renovation carried out by local contractors, Aron Nigeria, made use of pure dynasty pas palum, the latest grass technology in the world, which is also the one being used for Qatar, 2022 as well as latest digital technology for the scoreboards.
Dare, who reiterated the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration to the development of youth and sports in Nigeria, assured that the ministry will continue to use its Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative to woo private interests in the rehabilitation and renovation of all the national stadiums in the country.
He said the provision of sports facilities is critical to the development of sports, saying, government will continue to provide enabling environment for more partnerships with a view to giving sports its pride of place in the country.
He urged Dangote to ensure the realisation of the two-year maintenance stipulated in the contract terms, stating further that the federal government expects the national teams will play at the National Stadium.
He also expressed optimism that the National Stadium, Lagos will also come on stream and provide the players with the opportunity of alternating between the Lagos and Abuja stadia for their matches.
He said that the maintenance of the facility will be a pride to the nation and millions of football loving Nigerians.
“Our teams will play here, score goals and win and football will continue to promote unity and love in Nigeria”, Dare said.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the President on Sports, and former Super Eagles star, Daniel Amokachi has charged the Dangote Group to consider extending the period of maintenance beyond two years, stating that after expending $1m to renovate the facility, long-term maintenance is paramount.