Industry News

Lagos government eyes takeover of National Stadium

The Lagos State Government has announced it is to renew its bid to take control of the National Stadium, Lagos, in the Nigerian region of Surulere, in an effort to restore the venue to its former glory.

Opened in 1972, the multi-purpose facility has been used to stage a host of major events, including Nigerian national football team games, boxing matches and the 1980 African Cup of Nations football final.

However, having not hosted a national football team game since 2004, the site has fallen into a poor state and largely taken over by area boys and squatters.

In March of last year, Sports Minister Solomon Dalung and Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode inspected the stadium and declared the local government’s intention to take over its management.

While the Lagos State Government is yet to reach an agreement with the Federal Government over the move, Punchng has reported that plans are still in place for Lagos State to assume control, with officials believing a deal is not far away.

Deji Tinubu, special adviser on sports to the Lagos State Governor, said: “We are still waiting for a positive response. We didn’t think it was going to be easy but what I know is that we’ve got a template and an honest proposal.

“Contrary to what some people think, we are doing it for Nigeria. It’s an honest proposal for the country, for us to take Nigeria as a sporting nation to the next level.”

Tinubu said that should the project prove to be successful, the National Stadium, Lagos, could once again bid for hosting rights to major sports events, such as the All Africa Games and the Africa Cup of Nations.

“We’ve got an offer on the table, nobody will doubt Ambode in the last two years.  The place is nicknamed Sports City but now we only see sports, but can’t see the city. We want to create the city.

“So, if he (Ambode) says he wants to transform the stadium, I don’t think there should be any Nigerian who should begrudge him.”