The Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung inspected the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos on Wednesday.
The sports ministry have decided to handover the stadium to the Lagos state government as announced by Dalung during the inspection.
The stadium which has hosted international events like the Africa Cup of Nations (1980 and 2000), U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (1995) All Africa Games (1973 and 2003)and the FIFA U-20 World Cup (1999), has been in a sorry state hence the decision to hand it over to the Lagos State government to return it to its glory days.
“Abuja National Stadium is already having the same situation (neglect),” Dalung said. “And my findings have shown that the management culture of these structures is very key and fundamental. You can sink any amount of money into these structures but if we don’t have good managers, we are going to have problems.
“Whatever arrangement we are going to put in place, the management team must not be political, they must be very professional and patriotic in carrying out their duties. If the management don’t carryout the duties expected of them, our efforts will go to waste.
“This visit is very important because it has provided us with the information of how we got to where we are today and what step we can take in the future. We have gone round, we have seen the National Stadium, Lagos, in a sorry state. The level of dilapidation is embarrassing. It can never be equated with our civilization as a people, so whatever step that can be taken must be taken to address it.
“Today we have a disaster and we must do everything possible to avert it. For Lagos State government to sustain the National Stadium, there must be a Lagos State Infrastructural Development Agency. This agency will be saddled with the responsibility of management of National Stadium and all other relevant sporting facilities belonging to Lagos State government.”
The minister disclosed that the stadium will host some of Super Eagles’ 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers if renovations are done on time to meet up.
He said: “Though from Plateau State, I am a fan of Stationery Stores of Lagos and I will want your excellency to do whatever it takes to make sure the club returns because the hitory between Stores and the National Stadium cannot be detached.
“I have recieved what I can call sport football gossip from the Nigeria Football Federation that if the National Stadium, Lagos, is handed over to the Lagos State government, and renovated in six months, the next match between Nigeria versus Cameroon will be played here. This promise to bring the Nigeria versus Cameroon game here is to spur the Lagos State government so that they can achieve the desired result.”