Stop using sport facilities for social events, Minister tells governors

Barr. Solomon Dalong at the Ministerial screening

The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalong, has advised state governors to stop using sports facilities for social events like marriages, weddings and carnivals.

Mr. Dalung gave the advice, Saturday in Calabar after inspecting facilities at the UJ Esuene Stadium and some of the facilities slated for use during the forthcoming National Sports Festival.

“The turf of the football pitch here appears to be in bad shape and there is evidence that it was in good shape before but along the line, something happened,” the minister said.

“So, I suggest that football pitches across the country be exclusively used for those things that they are meant for and not to be subjected to other events that could destroy the turf.

“Invariably, what I am suggesting is that, state governments should not subject sports facilities to other events such as marriage, wedding, Carnival, cultural events and so on.”

Besides the high cost of maintaining the sports facilities, the minister said the advice became necessary bcause of the poor maintenance culture of Nigerians.

He, therefore, called on Cross River Government to work on the facilities to get them ready for the festival, saying, “a lot still needs to be done.”

The minister and his team inspected the football pitch, volleyball, handball and basketball courts, as well as accommodation facilities at the Cross River University of Technology, Calabar.

Also speaking, the Cross River Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Asu Okang, said the state had the capacity to host the festival if given the final nod.

Meanwhile, participants at the ongoing National Council on Sports in Calabar have resolved that the 19th National Sports Festival be held in the city from Nov. 8 – 21.

The meeting also resolved that the second edition of the National Youth Games be hosted by the University of Ilorin, Unilorin, Kwara State with 22 sports on the bill.


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  • Omo Akin

    When sporting facilities are used for social events, the events’ organizers should be ready to pay good money for the facility and the money should not be “eaten” by some unscrupulous government officials. The money should go towards maintenance and even upgrade of the facility. Yesterday, Bruce Springsteen played in a sporting arena in Philadelphia.
    If a couple want to hold their wedding in a soccer stadium, let them pay N 150 million and owners use the money to maintain the facility. It is good business. But it is unacceptable for some people to use the facility and not pay anything or merely offer peanuts because of their connection; worse still, the little yam (apology to Prof Pius and President Jonathan) they come up with is eaten by some government goats.
    I remember when I was at Ife, Prof Soyinka was the Chairman of the Oduduwa Hall Management. The Management kept the hall in top condition through the money generated by the use of the hall. Everything in the hall worked perfectly well. There is no reason a sporting facility cannot be run on that model so long the users are will not bringing trucks unto the turf. In any case, there should be agreement as to what they want to use the arena for and the management should decide if that use can cause damage.