Worried by an alleged secret concessioning of the National Stadium, Lagos, to an unnamed businessman, some of the shop owners and other tenants at the facility have taken their case to Sports Minister, John Owan Enoh, urging the minister to investigate the conduct of the exercise.
Yesterday at the National Stadium, some of the stakeholders told a group of journalists that they were waiting for the kickoff of the bidding process for the partnership with the Federal Government on the stadium, as they were earlier informed, only to hear that the edifice has already been ceded to a particular investor.
The National Stadium was shut down by former Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, when it became obvious that the adopt-a-facility programme of the ministry would not resuscitate the whole of the structure.
Dare muted that the structure would be concessioned to private investors, who would renovate and manage it on behalf of the government. But he could not complete the process before he left office.
On assuming office as new Sports Minister, Enoh, promised he would continue from where his predecessor stopped in the interest of the nation.
Yesterday, some of the stakeholders raised the alarm, claiming that the process for the concessioning, which they said has been almost completed, has not been transparent.
According to one of the stakeholders, who pleaded anonymity, some of the tenants that have invested in resuscitating some parts of the stadium, were not notified or carried along in the exercise.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, he said: “This stadium was left to rot for many years, but some people kept it alive. Some of us invested heavily in keeping the tennis courts, practice pitch and other facilities in good shape.
“If you go to the swimming pool area, you will find out that the Federal Government gave one of us permission to resuscitate and manage it.”
Now, they want to take everything away without giving him opportunity to bid for the structure. It is not fair.”
He commended the ministry of sports for recently coming to take inventory of the appurtenances at the stadium, adding, however, that stakeholders thought the ministry would open the concession bidding after evaluating the facility.
“Nobody says the stadium should not be concessioned. It’s in a bad state and we want it renovated, but people must be carried along, why are they hiding it? We have not been told about how they arrived at who they want to give the facility to, which shouldn’t be,” he said.
Reacting to the allegation of secretly concessioning the stadium to an individual, however, Director of Facilities at the Ministry of Sports, Abolore Alanamu, said the process is still ongoing, adding that the outcome of the report would be made public in due course.
According to the director, “the relevant committee is continuing with its work, so whatever the outcome of their report is, will be uploaded to the relevant management. The ministry will announce the bid winner at the end of the process.”