New Maracana Stadium, Ajegunle, Lagos State
Sports Development Minister, John Owan Enoh, has called for more private sector participation in the provision of facilities nationwide, saying that the Federal Government would support every initiative supporting the development of the nation’s sports sector.
The minister, who was thrilled by facilities at the new-look Maracana Stadium, Ajegunle, Lagos State, at the weekend, said the current administration would enter into private-public sector partnerships with individuals or organisations eager to contribute to the growth of the sector.
The Minister, who toured the facility alongside the Oniru of Iru, HRH Abdulwasiu Omogbbolahan Lawal; Chairman, Ajeromi Ifelodun Council, Fatai Ayoola; Olu of Iwa and Apapa kingdom, Oba Mohammadu Oluwa; Lagos State Commissioner of Youth and Social Development, Mobolaji Ogunlende, as well as the chairman of the Nathaniel Idowu Foundation, Chief Yemi Idowu and other dignitaries, described the edifice as a showcase of what sports should be.
He said: “The Maracana Sports Complex, for me, is both a showpiece and a showcase and this is the way our sports should go. I now understand why people kept talking about this place.
“It’s also quite astonishing that you can find something positive, something that you can showcase to the rest of the country located here at Ajegunle; it speaks volume”.
“This shows what you can achieve by having sufficient will, commitment and passion. I have been told that this place used to be a dumpsite. So, there’s a lot about here. Not just the fact that it is in Ajegunle but located in a former dumpsite.
“I have seen so many kids here today. I mean this complex provides an opportunity for young kids to come to engage, be happy and to play goodwill. This is the future for our sports development policy, and I thank Yemi Idowu, I thank the chairman of this Local Government, who has been very supportive.
“When we talk about promoting Private Public Partnerships, this is it. I have been told how the Lagos State government has provided the enabling environment to get this happen. So, when you have the government making things happen and you find willing people who have passion to develop the sport, this is what you find,” the minister said.
In his remarks, HRH Abdulwasiu Omogbbolahan Lawal, whose idea it was to site the complex in Ajegunle, commended the Nathaniel Idowu Foundation for keying into the idea, while also eulogising the minister for visiting the edifice.
Also speaking on the complex, Yemi Idowu, whose foundation, Nathaniel Idowu Foundation, sponsored the reconstruction of the facility, commended the host community for supporting the project.
“We are grateful to have the Sports Minister here and all the dignitaries. Ajegunle is a lovely place and I’m so proud we have this facility here. I love Ajegunle and the reason we chose here is because Ajegunle has got the heartbeat and the children are here.
“They are ready and they have received us. The Royal father, the local government. Everyone has been part of this and that is why it had to be Ajegunle. We are on a long journey and this is the beginning. We’ve got infrastructure for football in place, there’s the hostels. Other facilities like the swimming pool, table tennis, tennis and basketball will come on board.
“We will have a recreation hall, a canteen, kitchen and all of these are still coming. We believe that the more we have such facilities inside here, the less social vices we will have outside,” Idowu said.