The immediate past Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, has been commended for bequeathing the National Stadiums in Abuja and Lagos to the present administration in an improved state.
A statement issued on Sunday by Toyin Ibitoye, Dare’s Special Assistant on Media quoted prominent sports enthusiasts and former athletes as commending the minister for the legacies he left behind.
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.
Similarly, the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, had been rendered otiose for much longer with no efforts made to rehabilitate it.
Dare had initiated the “adopt a pitch” programme and attracted the private sector in his aggressive drive to restore both national edifices to their glory days.
Dare Esan, a respected journalist commended the minister for the renovation of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos and the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
Esan said Dare left the stadiums in a much better state than when he met them when he was appointed Minister of Sports in August 2019.
“For the Lagos Stadium, three key components, the track, pitch and digital score board have been delivered thanks to the adopt a pitch initiative which facilitated the Private Public Partnership (PPP) with the Premier Lotto group and its owner Pa Kensington 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,” Esan added.
Former Nigerian international athlete and sprint queen 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 Sunday Dare for delivering on his promise to rehabilitate the track and two other components of the edifice”.
The pitch of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, was also rehabilitated with water sprinklers installed, to ensure good maintenance.
Also in place were two new digital score boards.
The rehabilitation was bankrolled by the Dangote Group in 2021 under the former Minister’s PPP arrangement with the company.
All Nigerian national football teams have now used the pitch for their international matches after many years of its abandonment.