The Federal Government has formally transferred the custody and management of the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna to the Kaduna State Government in line with the implementation of the National Sports Industry Policy(NSIP) which centers on sub-national governments as well as private sector involvement in sports development in Nigeria.
The Honourable Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Sunday Dare alongside the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, H. E. Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, who both signed the Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) on behalf of the Federal Government and Kaduna State Government reiterated the commitment of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration to sports development in Nigeria.
According to the Minister, “the signing of the MoU signifies the official transfer of the stadium which is long overdue,” adding that it follows the earlier traditions of transfer of Tafawa Balewa Stadium to Bauchi State Government and Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium to Enugu State.
Dare expressed confidence that the Kaduna State Government will develop and effectively manage the national infrastructural edifice for the benefit of the entire 19 northern states and Nigeria, stressing that sports infrastructure is the backbone of Sports development.
He urged other State Governors to emulate the Kaduna State Government who have spend over N300m to revive the formerly abandoned stadium making it accessible for sporting activities.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai expressed gratitude to President Buhari and the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare for giving the State the opportunity to own and control the Ahmadu Bello Stadium bequeathed to the northern states by the late Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello who incidentally was an active sports man.
He stated further that some of his peer group, that grew up in Kaduna, see the stadium as an icon of tourist attraction and revenue generation.
According to the Governor, “we have very great plans for the stadium, we intend to modernize it to a world standard edifice suitable for everyone to watch football and other sports events,” he said.
The Governor also promised to revive the three Olympic standard Swimming Pools, and collaborate with the private sector in ensuring that all other uncompleted facilities within the stadium are fully completed and operational.
The highlight of the MoU signing occasion was a novelty football match between Team Dare – ‘Bonanza’ (led by the Sports Minister) and Team El-Rufai – ‘Francis Lee’(led by the Governor) which ended in 2-1 in favour of the Governor’s side.
The game was played at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium and watched by an appreciable number of people.