Oyo State Government, Peculiar Investment Set To Change Face of Sports in Nigeria
By Taofeek LAWAL, in Ibadan
The Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan named after the late sports enthusiast, Chief Lekan Salami, is located in the city centre along the ever-busy Mokola-Dugbe Road. The Lekan Salami Stadium is home to one of the best football clubs in Nigeria, Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan popularly called 3SC. It was officially opened on May 28, 1988 and currently has 8,000 seats capacity, but the sitting arrangement at the stadium will be increased to 10,000 if what the contractor working on it said is anything to go by. The complex includes a football field, tennis courts, squash court and indoor sports hall. Since it was opened, the facilities have been poorly maintained.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State in August this year approved the remodeling of Lekan Salami Sports Complex to meet international standards. 9News Nigeria correspondent who was in Ibadan met with one of the project supervisors who craved anonymity to speak on the level of work and the expected day of delivery.
The supervisor who gave the name of his company as Peculiar Investment Nigeria Limited said the project commenced in August 2020 and would be completed in a year and half time, February 2022. He, however, said they were exploring all means to see how they could deliver the project before 2022. “We started in August 2020. It has one and a half year completion target, but we would try to finish it withn a year. The initial design of the seat capacity at the stadium was 8,000, but we are adding 2,000 more seats to make it 10,000 at completion,” he said.
The new design the contractor has come up with has attracted sports lovers and stakeholders from far and near to come and have a glance at the stadium which has been given a total facelift. Although, the work stage is presently at 35 percent completion, there are already signs that when completed, the stadium will compete favourably with one of the best in Nigeria and Africa. Awed by the design at the stadium, our reporter asked where the contractor got the design from. His response raised hope that something good could still come out of Nigeria despite our challenges.
He said, “If I may tell you the truth, the design you see here is the brainchild of Nigerians. We did not get it from anywhere. We just sat down, thought about it and arrived at the design and that was all. This is 100 percent Nigerian brain; we did not get it anywhere. You cannot see this design anywhere in the whole world. Google it and you will not see this particular design anywhere in the world. This is our own brain work. Go round and see what we are putting in place”
Speaking on the plan to maintain the project after completion, he said the company is planning to discuss with the Oyo State government to maintain the stadium for three years before handing it over to the government. Maintenance culture has always been the problem of many African countries with Nigeria at the forefront. He said his company’s plan was to train some officials of the state government on facilities maintenance after which Peculiar Investment would hands off. He, however, added that what they were doing was not limited to the main bowl, as all the facilities in the Stadium would be given international touch. The artificial turf at the main pitch, he added, would be replaced with grass to meet international standard. “Of course, we are having discussions with the state government and the plan is that after completion of the project, we would maintain it for three (3) years during which period the government will give us their staff to see to its maintenance together, and after then, take over fully from us. We cannot be here forever, so what we are really thinking is to allow us to maintain it for three years, to keep the shape of the stadium and that is our plan. The amount (for the project) is in the open; it is N5.5 billion. The amount is not only for the main bowl, it covers every other facility within the stadium and when this place (the main bowl) is completed, it would be strictly for football and not for any other activities, not even for training because outside here we are going to build a mini pitch for training. The main pitch is going to be natural grass. You know footballers do not like playing on the artificial turf for the fear of getting injured.”
The supervisor added that although they had not received any money from the state government, they were motivated to work and show to the world what Nigerians could offer to the world if given the opportunity to express themselves. “Since we started we have not taken a dime from the government. So right from the scratch till where we are now, we have been using our money, but we are hoping that by January, 2021, the government will give us some money, and then you would see more progress. The reason the project has been dragging like this is because it is not easy to fund this type of gigantic project. Since they have not given us anything yet, we are waiting for them to harmonize what we have spent and get us mobilized. When this is done you would see more activities coming up”
What is going on at the stadium complex should not be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with Ibadan. The ancient city is home to many firsts and it is expected that the Oyo State government under His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde and Peculiar Investment Nigeria Limited will deliver on this project for the benefit of the present and unborn generation.