Sports stakeholders in Ogun state have accused the permanent secretary of the state Ministry of Youth and Sports, Engr. Olayiwola Abiodun, for being absolutely responsible for the sorry state of sports in the state.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity noted that sporting activities have been put on hold in the state capital, Abeokuta as a result of the various directives issued by the Permanent Secretary.
“Sporting activities had been put on hold in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital until further notice as a result of the closure of the main bowl of MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, and the only training pitch constructed to serve as a supporting pitch for numerous sporting activities engaged on by young men and women within and outside the State capital. The turf of the main bowl is so unkempt, undulating with multi-colour grass, and this is due to the nonchalant behavior of the stadium management. The grass had been left for years without wetting, therefore, preventing the normal green healthy posture of a standard football field.
“It is pertinent to recall that because of LMC ban on the MKO Abiola International Stadium Abeokuta as a result of mismanagement of the field. Afterward, the pitch was closed and the main bowl was locked mainly to allow for the wetting of the grass and re-planting of the bald area of the pitch. It is against this backdrop that all activities were switched to the only training pitch constructed to serve the main bowl.
“Unfortunately, by 28th July 2022, the stadium authority spare headed by one Mr. Yinka Oyelumade (technical officer) colluded with the Permanent Secretary to lock up the training pitch arguing that there is a need to re-grass the affected area of the field. And the said area was badly affected because of the non-wetting of the field. The last time the pitch had any sort of wetting was early 2021, only 5 (five) sprinklers towards the far side of the pitch out of over 20 (twenty) were observed functioning while all others were not sprinkling water or working.
“We gathered that the directive by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Dr. Oluwadare Kehinde not to totally close the sporting activities within the stadium complex, a directive supported by the stadium Manager, Alhaji Bello was not honoured by the Permanent Secretary who gave a counter directive to Mr. Oyelumade the stadium technical officer to lock up both the Mainbowl and the training pitch at the same time.
Further investigation revealed that the Perm. Sec is plotting to approve the application of Mr. Oyelumade who is expected to retire by the 23rd of September, 2022 for the role of a contractor so as to continue in office. A decision that is generating lots of argument among the staff of the stadium who see it as totally alien to them, more so that the said man had not added any value to the management of the stadium except for some alleged dubious acts like a collection of money from various Clubs without remitting same into the coffers of the government, vandalising and catering away of Stadium properties.
“We, therefore, call on the state government to intercede on the matter for the following reasons:
Safe our Sporting activities in the state capital.
Prevent unnecessary breach of procedural structure within the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Protect the reserved authority of the Commissioner for Youth and Sports.
Prevent evil machinations of individuals from overriding the sporting normalcy of the state capital.
Restore the required respect deserved for Gateway United Football Club.
Open the Stadium pitch for normal sporting activities as projected by the State government when constructing the sporting arena.
This is pertinent in order to prevent the envisaged chaos that both the PS and the technical officer of the stadium are perpetrating within the Arena,” the stakeholders concluded.