Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has endorsed the renovation of the 5,000 capacity Onikan Stadium Lagos Island.

This was borne out of the desire to make the state-owned stadium assume the expectation of a 21st century sporting facility.

This is in conformity with the modern Onikan-Marina Regeneration Plan, which the state government has started already.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde said the state government is proving that it is committed to its innovation of using sports as an effective means of development and job creation. He added that the stadium, which is reputed as the oldest in the country, was built in 1930 but renewed in the 1980s.

Ayorinde said the present administration is looking towards renovating the stadium and a number of other infrastructure in the locality in order to create a tourism center and make the stadium a port of call for different sporting activities.

“The upgrading of the stadium will rekindle the interest of football fans in local league, as well as promote sports tourism, take sports to greater heights and encourage youth activities,” he stated.

The sports commissioner admitted that in spite of the intention of the state to positively increase revenue generation, the renovation will afford the state a Host City status for local and international competitions.

Ayorinde said the renovation will include among other things, a total destruction of extant facility, and removal of the former turf, pitch, underground drainage and artificial pitch base.

The renovation will also comprise working on the external and internal walls, electrical and mechanical fixings, paved driveways, perimeter fence, borehole, water reticulation, outer electricity lighting and landscaping.

Onikan Stadium was recognized for many years as a centre for multipurpose events aside the hosting of football matches. Inadequate funding and maintenance of the stadium necessitates the need for renovation.

“The Governor realized that the stadium in its present state could not inspire any sense of pride in Lagosians, especially our youths, and falls short of the expectations of a State that has always led the rest of the country in sporting activities,” Ayorinde said.

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