The Kaduna state government, on Friday, received approval from the federal government to reclaim full possession of the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, which had been returned to it.
Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports development, visited Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, in his office in Abuja, where the transfer was officially made.
“The Federal Government has concluded plans to formerly hand over the stadium to the Kaduna State government on January 27 with a view to ensuring more participation of the country’s teeming youth in sporting activities,” Dare said.
The minister announced that on January 27, his ministry would travel to Kaduna to participate in a novelty match between the governor and himself to inspire the young footballers who would be on display at the stadium.
As he explained, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration launched Adopt-a-Facility through the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development to attract private investment in the nation’s ageing sports facilities.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Chief Adebutu Kessington were the first private sector figures we approached when we launched the programme. He said, “Third, we contacted the Governor of Kaduna State, who instructed his Commissioner for Sports Development to investigate all aspects of the stadium’s repair and carry it out.
El-Rufai promised that the stadium in Kaduna state would be renovated to an international standard and put to use, creating important economic and social prospects.
The governor said that “our state has a history of producing football talents for Nigeria,” naming players like Rashidi Yekini, Daniel Amokachi, and Tijani Babangida as examples of those who have represented Nigeria with distinction on the international stage.
The Ahmadu Bello Stadium opened in 1965 and is one of the oldest stadiums in Nigeria.
The stadium has held two FIFA events, the Under-20 World Cup in 1999 and the Under-17 World Cup in 2009. It has a capacity of 16,000.