In his bid to reclaim the lost glory of sporting activities in Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde, Thursday, flagged-off the remodelling of the popular Lekan Salami Sports Complex to perfectly fit in into international standard.
Makinde, during the flag-off, held at the main bowl of the stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, noted that the event was a step in the right direction, positioning the state to attract investments.
He added that his administration would double its efforts to put the infrastructure in place that would support the growth of IGR in the state, adding that he would create an avenue for everyone to feel the real dividends of democracy.
The governor stated further: "Experts all over the world have predicted that there would be a period of economic hardship post-COVID-19."
"In fact, if you have been following the news, you would have heard about a few countries that are already heading towards a recession. So, this is the right time to make decisions that will cushion the effect of the pandemic on our economy. We must double our efforts to put the infrastructure in place that will support the growth of IGR in the state."
"And this is why we are here today, to flag-off the remodelling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Ibadan. This is another step in the right direction, positioning Oyo State to attract investments. I hear some people are already saying we should slow down."
"But I am here to tell you that this is not the time to even think of slowing down. Our administration is here to grow Oyo State and to make sure everyone in our beloved state feels the real dividends of democracy."
"Oyo State has had a rich sporting history. Back in 1963, the first World Boxing title fight in Africa was held here in Oyo State. We were able to host that fight and benefit from all the tourism revenue because we had the facilities to do so. And so, we are remodelling this sports complex now, so we can to reap the benefits in IGR. If there was a call for cities to host a national sporting event today, can Oyo State boast of having the facilities?"
"The total contract sum for the remodelling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex is Five Billion Five Hundred and Eighty Million, One Thousand One Hundred and Fifty-One Naira, Sixty-Two Kobo (₦5,580,001,151:62k). This project will be funded using the Alternate Project Funding Approach (APFA). The contractor will use his own money to fund the project and then we will repay over 29 months."
"The contractors, Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concerns Ltd, have given us the assurance that the project will be completed in 18 months. By God's grace, in the next 12 months, Coronavirus would have left us, and we will have the opportunity to sit here, in this stadium, fully remodelled and watch my team the 3SC beat their opponents, live!"
The governor emphasised that no investor could be attracted without the right infrastructure, noting that: "If we are telling people to leave wherever they are and come here, we should be able to give them what they are benefiting there and even more."
"We can keep saying Oyo State is ready for business, but without the right infrastructure in place, they will tell us they like our policies, but they want to see better facilities."
"So, we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that whenever investors come calling, we are ready to receive them and make them stay. That means matching our policies with action."
"We have already told them there will be no multiple taxations and that we will not wake up and impose random taxes on them, they can see that is true. We have also promised that they will not spend hours in traffic, we are keeping our promise by investing in road construction and rehabilitation."
"We also have to match the tourism and recreational facilities that they have in other places," Makinde posited.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports in the state, Mr. Seun Fakorede, stated that event was a beginning of a new era for sports-loving people in the state, as they were about to witness an important occasion where sport is being giving a rebirth and a new lease of life in an effort to retrieve the past glory of the state in sporting activities.
He decried the poor state of facilities of sports infrastructure in the state, adding that all the facilities are old and in need of urgent renovation, completion and remodelling.
"No new one has been constructed in the last fourty-four years of the state's existence."
"This, has, therefore, explained why the level of sports performance in the state is dwindling and the state is losing its pacesetting status in sports performance."
He pointed out that the remodelling was essential for the growth and survival of sports and the engagement if youths productively, stressing that, it was also to attract infrastructural focus and change the economic fortune of the state through hosting of international sports tournaments.
Similarly in his address, the representative of Messers Peculiar, the contractor handling the project, Mr. Olarenwaju Adeleke, hinted that the benefit that would be derived from the remodeling of the stadium would be unquantifiable, bearing in mind the stadium was planned to be a place of discovery and nursing of talents.
He disclosed that the present capacity of the stadium which was put at 8,000 would be increased by 25% which would be put at 10,000 capacity, adding that all existing facilities in the stadium would also be upgraded and accredited for national and international tournaments.
"By the time we are done in 12 months, the stadium will be fully certified for local and international events," he assured.
The event has in attendance, the deputy governor, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Bamiwo Adeosun; the Chief of Staff, Chief Bisi Ilaka and other top government functionaries.
Vanguard News Nigeria