By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has hailed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari for naming the National Stadium, Abuja after our late Patron and Africa Pillar of Sports, Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 Presidential Election.
According to a statement issued by the administrative secretary, Habila Ramako, the honour on MKO Abiola is well deserved in view of his holistic contributions to sports development, in a way that encouraged the growth of administrators, participators and sports media, in Nigeria and the entire Africa.
Abiola was a great Patron of SWAN, who on several occasions, rescued sports Associations and national sports teams; using his time, personal purse and influence.
”We are very proud of all that he did for sports and our association. He was a philanthropist par excellence. His efforts saved Nigeria a lot of embarrassment and brought honour to the country.
“This gesture is an indication that the sports sector is about to be placed on the front burner of President Buhari’s administration, in the understanding that sports is capable of addressing youth restiveness, creating jobs and compete favourably with other sectors of our economy in generating opportunities for Nigerians”.
The pronouncement also paints a picture that athletes preparing for international competitions, will soon wipe away their persistent fears over poor state of facilities, lack of allowances, being chased out of hotel rooms because of failure to pay bills, backlog of unfulfilled promises; and the increasing allegations of massive corruption plaguing the sector will be curbed, while sports writers play their watchdog role.
SWAN therefore, used the opportunity to call on the Federal Government to immediately commence the rehabilitation of dilapidated facilities in the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja especially the playing field which is already growing anthills and the collapsed tartan tracks.
“To leave parts of the stadium in its present condition where it cannot host events, will diminish the well applauded recognition of our departed Patron and Africa Pillar of Sports, Chief Moshood Abiola.
“We advise the Federal Government, in the spirit of this recognition, to appoint a person who is committed to the development of sports and also ready to clean the rot in the sector as the next Minister of Sports.”