The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reiterated his commitment to revive sporting activities in the state if elected.
He made the commitment while speaking with members of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) at its secretariat in National Stadium, Surulere.
The dearth of recreation centres and the dilapidated state of the National Stadium, a Federal Government-owned sport facility, were the focus of an interactive discussion with SWAN members, with the APC candidate pledging to revive obsolete facilities in the National Stadium, on the condition that the Federal Government would agree with its condition to revive the national monument.
Sanwo-Olu said his government would prioritise the recovery and regeneration of recreational centres across the state for the benefit of Lagos residents. He maintained that Lagos is challenged by inadequate land size, but said he would keep to his promise to build two mini stadia in the highly populated areas of Ikorodu and Kosofe.
He said: “I grew up in Surulere, which is the epicentre of sporting events in Lagos. But, I am personally not comfortable to see the National Stadium rot away like this, because I knew what it is used to be like. The current state of the stadium is an open reminder to us, that we must stake up investment in sports.
“If elected, I am giving you my words that my government will take up the rehabilitation of the National Stadium and we will engage the Federal Government on terms and conditions. The rot in the stadium is an eyesore. We will rebuild the stadium provided the Federal Government will cooperate with us.
“Our agenda for sport and youth development will also lead us to recover recreation centres located in our communities, repair them and make them useful for the purpose for which they were created. We are not going to renege on our promise to build mini stadium in Ikorodu and Kosofe not only to promote sports among the youth, but also to improve healthy lifestyle of residents.”
Sanwo-Olu made a promise to expand the private sector sponsorship of youth sporting events, pledging that Paralympic Games for the physically challenged sportsmen would be supported.
Appreciating the APC candidate and his running mate, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, for creating time to attend the forum, the Chairman of SWAN in Lagos State, Mr. Debo Oshudun pledged the support of the association to Sanwo-Olu if elected and commitment to support the state government in developing sports in the state.
“Lagos has always been a centre of excellence in sports development and production of talents in various sports in Nigeria. Some of our footballers and athletes who later became national and international icons were discovered in Lagos, Sports are very important to national development and promoting the right image for a country and state. Lagos should commit and invest in grassroots sports development so we can have new Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Mary Onyali, Segun Odegbami among others.