With the flagging off of the ‘The Adoption Campaign’ by the Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, the minister, Sunde Dare has restated that business moguls, Chief Adebutu Kessington popularly known as Baba Ijebu and Alhaji Aliko Dangote have respectively‘adopted’ the National Stadium in Lagos and the Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The duo according to the Sports Minister, have accepted the offer as part of the respective Corporate Social Responsibility of their respective companies. The Adopt Campaign for sports in Nigeria held Monday at the Civic Centre in Lagos, at the instance of the Sports Ministry.
Dangote is a well known figure in sports circle after his numerous philanthropic gestures especially to the Super Eagles but Chief Kessinton who as been sponsoring football at the grassroot level is on the national limelight for the first time.
While Dangote will take charge of the Moshood Abiola stadium in Abuja, Kessinton who is into sports betting business will renovate the dilapidated National Stadium in Lagos according to the Sports Minister during the laugh on Monday night.
The Abuja stadium which was completed in 2003 in readiness for the African Games, which Nigeria hosted may only need regular maintenance but the playing turf requires outright replacement.
The same cannot be said of the stadium in Lagos that was built in 1972 for the hosting of the 2nd African Games. The stadium tagged ‘Sports City’ is a shadow of itself even after a complete renovation in 1999 for the Under 20 FIFA World Cup finals.
The main bowl is completely out of fashion and the last time it staged an official match was in 2001 when the Super Eagles defeated Zambia in AFCON qualifying match.
There had been several futile attempts to renovate the multi-purpose edifice that currently serves as home to urchins and rodents while the once hallowed main bowl serves as a venue for parties and religious activities.
Formerly a Mecca of some sort to sports men and women across Africa, the stadium comprises an Olympic-size swimming arena and a multipurpose arena used for basketball, volleyball, table tennis, wrestling and boxing matches.
It hosted several international competitions including the 1980 African Cup of Nations final, the 2000 African Cup of Nations final, and FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
The facility has inexplicably been left to dilapidate since 2002 and last hosted a national team game in 2004.
The Adoption Campaign has three components. To adopt a home-based Athlete is $10,000 and to adopt a foreign-based athlete is $20,000.
All proceeds will go to the athletes, pay their coaches, the therapist and other necessary things.