The Lagos State Government has expressed interest in the renovation of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos. According to Nneka ikem-Anibeze, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Sports, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode made the state’s intent known when he paid a condolence and courtesy visit on the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung at his residence in Abuja at the weekend.
“I will like to bring the National stadium to life. The last time a game was played at the National Stadium was in 2005. There is also the employment aspect of football and hosting of matches at the stadium. That includes the jerseys, branding, mama put, the sign writers, the supporters, merchandising, and so on. We want to bring back the football culture of Lagos state to the National Stadium after its renovation” Governor Ambode said.
Barrister Dalung thanked the Governor for his visit and praised Lagos state for its successful hosting of the 2nd Lagos City Marathon. He called on the state government to add more entertainment and culture to the event in subsequent editions to get more youths involved in the marathon and to ensure that Nigerians benefit more from the whooping prize money .
On the renovation of the National Stadium by the Lagos state government, the minister said he will go through their proposal and work on it.
“It is only fair that we hand over the stadium to Lagos state for renovation since we’ve given to Enugu, Bauchi and Kaduna states.
“We were trying to drive a concession but Lagos state’s interest in the National Stadium is what we call an overriding interest which is based on equity. If Gov Ambode is interested in the National Stadium then the concession process is already abated” Dalung said.
The Minister noted that Nigerian football and its followership started going down when the National Stadium in Surulere ceased to host local and international matches.
“No matter how strong your home team is, if you don’t have a common ground where your teams play their big games, the environment counts a lot. Football has so many interests and since we lost the National Stadium Lagos, football started going down.”
Governor Ambode has since invited the Minister for a joint working visit of the National Stadium with the Lagos state government to ascertain the level of decadence and to hold talks on the evaluation and the next line of action to take.