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Ogun moves to save MKO, Muda Lawal stadiums





Festus Abu

Ogun State Government has revealed plans to refurbish the long-abandoned Muda  Lawal Stadium and expand the main bowl of the MKO Abiola Stadium, both in Abeokuta.

Our correspondent learnt that the state government was highly disturbed by the bad publicity generated by the two facilities and decided to take action.

SATURDAY PUNCH  exclusively reported on February 11 that the Muda Lawal Stadium, Asero, Abeokuta—once the home of Abiola Babes in the 80s, when it was known as Asero Stadium — had been converted into a park for heavy duty vehicles.

Reports also claimed that the stadium is being used as a hideout by criminals.

The stadium, which is located along the Abeokuta-Ibadan Road in the state capital,  was named after the late Nigeria midfield star   Muda Lawal, after his passing  in 1991.

The MKO Abiola Stadium in Kuto area of Abeokuta was in the news for all the wrong reasons, with SATURDAY PUNCH exclusively reporting on July 15 that the facility had become a  hotspot for teenage prostitutes.

But the state government reacted by ejecting traders  from the stadium and destroyed   their structures to stop the condemnable act.

And the stadium has been in bad condition since the structures were destroyed.

Our correspondent learnt that the state government is planning to rebuild the  Muda Lawal Stadium’s perimeter fence, the handball, basketball  and tennis courts, as well as fixing  the  football  pitch and  the stands.

It was learnt that the state is planning to host the National Sports Festival and has decided to put its facilities in shape to boost its chances of winning the hosting rights for the fiesta.

Spokesman for the state ministry of sports Akinbobola Adeniyi, who denied Ogun’s alleged plans to host the national festival, however confirmed that the state government was planning to rehabilitate the  two stadiums.

Meanwhile, the state  commissioner  sports Afolabi Afuape  has  said  his ministry  needs  N2.5bn  for capital development  in 2018.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Afuape, who  defended  the  youth and sports  ministry’s 2018 budget of N2.7bn  before the  House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation in Abeokuta on Wednesday, said  the capital expenditure estimate was for the rehabilitation of MKO Abiola and Muda Lawal stadiums.

He added that during the period, recurrent expenditure would gulp N165m.

He said  the state government planned to increase the capacity of the MKO Abiola Stadium.

 “There is a  need to put down structures and templates in the state for preparations for the National Sports Festival,” NAN quoted the commissioner as saying on Thursday.

“We are also developing initiatives to revive grassroots sports by setting up a fund mobilisation machinery and creating legacy projects for annual implementation.”

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