By: Ben Nwachukwu, Abuja
Facts may have emerged as to why the Abuja National Stadium has continued to suffer neglect as a result of lack of maintenance which has left it dilapidated few years after it hosted the 7th All Africa Games in 2003.
The stadium which could be compared with the best stadia in the world has been an eye saw as virtually every single structure on the premises has lost the glamour it had when it was built.
Speaking with the sporting media in Abuja on Wednesday, Permanent Secretary of ministry of youth and sports Mr Olasade Adesola said the money required to maintain the Abuja National Stadium is far higher than all the budgets of the ministries.
He disclosed that construction giants, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc submitted bill of over N2bn for the purpose of maintaining the massive structure which was the pride of Nigerian people home and abroad.
“Maintaining the Abuja National Stadium is in the mind of everyone of us but the truth is that the kind of money required to maintain the stadium is far higher than the entire budget of all the ministries.
“Government had made attempt to contract the maintenance to Julius Berger which built the edifice but the construction giants submitted a whopping N2bn proposals to the ministry,” he said.
Mr Adesola further noted that unlike other stadia with such massive structures where sports fans troop out to pay and watch games, the Abuja National Stadium suffers the apathy from Abuja residents who do not even go to the stadium to watch games free how much less paying to enter the stadium.
He argued that maintenance of such massive structures is not an easy task more so when they are not viable.
Unlike the Godswil Akpabio stadium Uyo and Stephen Keshi stadium Asaba where residents troop out in their thousands to pay to watch games, the Abuja National Stadium suffers the apathy from Abuja residents who are not ready to watch games free.
He however noted that the just concluded 19th National Sports Festival hosted in Abuja has assisted in upgrading the stadium facilities adding that major renovation work took place at every segment of the stadium.
The Abuja National Stadium which hosted both the All Africa Games and Fifa U17 World Cup in 2003 and 2009 respectively became bushy and good for hunting as reptiles and all kinds of animals inhabited the place.