April, 20 2023.
Hours after the massive thunderstorm tore through Lagos, knocking down the floodlight mast at the national stadium in Surulere Lagos, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has dispatched its Director of Facilities, Engineer Analamu to Lagos to access the situation.
The thunderstorm, accompanied by a rainstorm combined to uproot the gigantic mast, holding a litany of floodlight lamps, but has rarely seen any maintenance, in the 51 years existence of the stadium, which was completed in 1972, and inaugurated for use as the main venue for the hosting of the national sports festival, a year later.
Thank goodness, nobody was injured, neither was any death recorded, but the incident aptly brings to the fore the abandonment of the edifice, which has been without any meaningful maintenance
in the last 19 years.
Luckily, efforts geared towards the rehabilitation of parts of the stadium, have been on but the paucity of funds mean seventeen (17) components of the stadium, including the crashed mast, were not included in the rehabilitation work, championed by the outgoing minister of sports, Chief Sunday Dare, who has repeatedly harped on the need to embrace a sustained maintenance culture for the nation's sporting facilities, since he mounted the saddle as Youth and Sports Minister.
While the damage and exact cost of Monday's unfortunate incident is being awaited, it is sad to digest how the stadium in Surulere Lagos, which treasures a substantial portion of our rich sports history, and the folklore of our past football glory, was left to waste and decay by successive administrations.
Having said these, it is pertinent to underscore the dire need to bring all the components of the national edifice back to life, while modernizing the aspects that requires being upgraded, and made functional again.