NSC boss Weeps Over Rots At Lagos Sportscity
The Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Alhassan Yakmut, could not hold back his emotions, as he made an inspection tour of facilities round the National Stadium, Lagos, on Friday.
Yakmut, an ex-national volleyball player, took over from Gbenga Elegbeleye as the NSC DG a few weeks ago, following the removal of the latter by the Presidency.
He was in a sober mood all through the inspector tour, following what he described as ‘monumental damage’ done to the facilities over the years.
“I wept on seeing the sorrow state of virtually all the facilities at the stadium,” he told The Guardian. “The facilities in the National Stadium, Lagos, have gone beyond routine maintenance to total breakdown. In short, the Stadium has to be shut down completely for repair work to be done,” Yakmut said.
The Lagos National Stadium, a multi-purpose complex, built in 1972, served as the main venue for the 1973 All-Africa Games. It also hosted the 1980 African Cup of Nations final, with a record attendance of 85,000 between Nigeria and Algeria, the 2000 African Cup of Nations final between Nigeria and Cameroun, and FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, among others.
But the complex had been left to rot away since 2001, a situation Yakmut described as great disserve to humanity.
As a national volleyball player, Yakmut had his last national camp at the complex 28 years ago in preparation for Nairobi ’87 All African Games.
“But I feel guilty because I have been part of the system for years, though, there was nothing I could do to salvage the situation,” he said. “The swimming pool is a disaster. It has been abandoned for 14 years, which means, for three Olympics Games and two years, our youths have been denied access to the swimming pool. We visited the weightlifting gym at about 2.00 pm, and none of us could see what was on the floor. There has been no electricity there for years. I have to attack these challenges immediately. To start, I have vowed to fix the electricity for the weightlifters within 14 days. The mainbowl has a serious challenge, which I believe the government has to look into as quickly as possible,” Yakmut stated.