MKO Abiola National stadium is functional, says Dare

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MKO Abiola National stadium is functional, says Dare
L-R: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Gabriel Aduda; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello; Mr Kola Abiola; Minister of State for Labour and Productivity Barr. Festus Keyamo; Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare; Deputy chairman, House Committee on Sports, Lekan Afolabi and Minister of Trade and Investment Adeniyi Adebayo.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare has stated that the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja is not rotting away contrary to public assertions but was functional and ready to be used for competitions.

Speaking on the sidelines during the renaming and the unveiling of the signage of the stadium, Dare said all the sporting facilities within the stadium were functional.

It will be recalled President Muhammadu Buhari on June 12, 2019 renamed the Abuja Stadium after the assumed winner of the June 12, 1992 elections and pillar of sports, Chief MKO Abiola. 

“This is a functional facility and again I say that the grass growing outside is not functionality. Functionality is that there is light in the stadium, there is water, the facilities are working, the indoor sports hall is fixed, and the velodrome has been approved by international bodies to host cycling events in Africa.

“There are no single holes or leakage and I promise Nigerians that very soon, the football pitch that we promised will be renovated. We are leveraging on private partnership and we have to go by their own time. This football pitch will come back alive and this stadium will host the great matches,” he said.

The Minister disclosed that the occasion was an attestation of the President’s vision and mission of giving recognition to worthy citizens while encouraging the younger generation to join him in building a “strong, virile and indivisible nation”.

While also describing the late MKO Abiola as a great Pan Africanist and a great lover and promoter of sports, he said, “Abiola was a consummate sports lover. He invested his time and resources in sports development particular football. Not many sports administrators will forget Abiola in a hurry.

“It is therefore fitting and proper for President Buhari to have named our national stadium, an iconic monument after such an illustrious citizen and a lover of sports. This renaming beyond its symbolism will remain a reminder through time of the indelible footprints Chief Abiola left in our political and sports development as a nation.

The naming of this stadium will serve to beckon to other Nigerians with ways and means like Abiola to emulate him and embrace, support and invest in sports development.
“Under this dispensation we have seen Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Chief Adebutu Kessington step up to the plate to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in the quest to restore our sporting infrastructure such as this. We thank them and several others supporting in their own little ways.
“We are grateful, first to God who has kept many of the actors and participants alive and most importantly to President Muhammadu Buhari who has demonstrated courage where other leaders before him failed and who has further validated his democratic credentials  by recognizing Abiola’s democratic value, apologizing for the political injustice and declaring June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day. He also honored and conferred on Chief Abiola with the highest honor of the land GCFR- post humorously.”
The President was represented at the occasion by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Mallam Musa Bello as the Special Guest of Honour at the event while Kola Abiola son of the late Moshood Abiola represented the family.
Other dignitaries at the occasion were the Minister of Trade and Investment Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of State for Labour and Productivity Barr. Festus Keyamo, DG NYSC Brig. General Ibrahim Shuaibu, General Secretary of the NFF Dr. Sanusi Muhammed, Chairman League Management Company Alhaji Shehu Dikko among others.

Speaking also, the scion of the Abiola family, Kola Abiola said he looks forward watching more games in the stadium while stating that Abiola Babes FC is not entirely dead.

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“I have watched a match in this stadium but now that is carries our name, the more reason why I will watch more matches here.

“Abiola Babes may not come out as you all knew it and it doesn’t mean we are not involved in sports in a way. Ours is to contribute to sports and youth development,” he said.

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