The immediate past Sports Minister, Chief Sunday Dare, has been applauded for bequeathing the National Stadiums in Abuja and Lagos to the present administration in an improved state.
The pitch of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja had been abandoned for close to a decade and was becoming a breeding ground for livestock while that of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos had been rendered otiose for much longer with no efforts made to rehabilitate it.
The former Sports Minister initiated the adopt-a-pitch programme and attracted the private sector in his aggressive drive to restore both national edifices to their glory days.
Respected journalist Dare Esan said, “Sunday Dare should be commended for leaving both the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos and the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja in a much better state than he met them when he was appointed Sports Minister in August 2019.
“For the Lagos Stadium, three key components, which are the track, pitch and digital score board have been delivered thanks to the adopt-a-pitch initiative which facilitated the private public partnership with the Premier Lotto group and its owner, Pa Kessington Adebutu. The facility has been out of use for over two decades.
“The track, an eight lane tartan track has been professionally laid and lined. It is a beauty to behold,” observed Esan who is Nigeria’s foremost track & field sports journalist.
Also, former Nigerian international athlete, Mary Onyali praised the former Sports Minister for restoring her ‘former stomping ground and venue of her many national and international sprint triumphs’.
“I am one of the happiest persons on earth right now with the delivery of the tartan track at the Lagos National Stadium. That stadium holds a special place in my heart and I thank Honourable Sunday Dare for delivering on his promise to rehabilitate the track and two other components of the edifice,” observed Africa’s former sprint queen.
The Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja has had its pitch rehabilitated with the water sprinklers to ensure good maintenance also in place as well as two new digital score boards.
For close to a decade, international matches could not be held in Abuja but since the rehabilitation which was bankrolled by the Dangote Group in 2021, all Nigerian national football teams have played international matches there.