National Stadium to be Concessioned

Fri, Jan 24, 2014
By publisher


The federal government has given the National Sports Commission the approval to concession the National Stadium Lagos, after it has been neglected over the years

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Feb. 3, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

AFTER years of agitation for the refurbishment of the national stadium Lagos, President Goodluck Jonathan has finally approved the concession of the stadium. The edifice was built in 1972 by the Yakubu Gowon military administration. The stadium hosted the 1973 All Africa Games and several other important international football matches for Nigeria. But it has been neglected over the years which resulted in the decay of most of the facilities in the stadium.

Julius Ogunro, special assistant on media to the minister of sports, said with the approval, a steering committee is to be set up by the National Sports Commission, NSC, to facilitate the concession. “With the approval, the Honourable Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, will constitute the Project Steering Committee and the Project Delivery Committee, which will liaise with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, to draw up modalities for the concession,” he said.

Already, the NSC is warning up to complete the concessioning of the Lagos stadium before the end of the third quarter of the year. The commission said that the project was a very important one and must be treated with such seriousness. “The target is to complete the process within the next six months. We don’t want one of those programmes that would drag on virtually forever and miss the major ideals. An important aspect of the work was getting the approval of the President and since that has been secured, we have to move as fast as possible. A lot has been invested into that place (National Stadium) but it has been wasting over the years and we should not allow that to continue. Everyone has to work hard and fast to make it work and put the centre to very good use again,” the commission said.

The NSC is in the process of putting up public notice for the position of the transaction adviser whose work would determine the major direction the concession will take. For now, no clear picture has been developed on how the massive complex would be run after the concession. Apart from the main bowl where football matches are played, the arena also has a sports hall for basketball and other indoor games. Over the years, private businesses have set up places at the complex including restaurants and bars. The expansive car parks have also been serving as venues for wedding and religious activities. The National Institute for Sports, the Nigeria Olympic Committee and offices of sporting association are also within the complex.

The federal executive council had in September 2012 set up a committee to look into the mode of maintenance of federal stadia and to develop a sustainable funding framework for sports in general. That committee in turn set up a technical sub-committee, which will in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Enterprise and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, recommend the most viable option for the maintenance of the six federal stadia, according to a statement from the sports ministry.

The technical committee recommended the involvement of private sector participation in the management and operations of the stadia with concession as the preferred approach. It also recommended that the concession of the federal stadia should start with National Stadium, Lagos. The Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu was handed over to the Enugu State government last year as part of the process of running the federal-owned stadiums effectively.