I visited Olubadan Stadium, nothing prepared me for the experience at Ibadan’s foremost sports center…
There is evidence of a buzzling lifestyle in the neighborhood but all that ended when I entered the second most popular state government-owned sports facility in the state, the iconic Olubadan Stadium Ibadan.
The stench of abandonment was strong and being the only person in the entire stadium made me realise that the Olubadan Stadium has become nothing more than another monument to the awful maintenance culture associated with government facilities in Ibadan and other parts of Oyo State.
The only person that I saw around the facility was a guy who stood on the balcony of one of the residential apartments beside the stadium. He was wearing boxers and brownish white singlet.
There’s no proper demarcation nor a fence that can prevent intruders from beseiging the stadium in the present age. Remembering what obtains elsewhere, I understood why the stadium is no longer getting public attention, patronization and usage.
Last week, I visited Lead City High School for the very first time and I was amazed when I saw their sports field. It was superb. If a school can have such, why can’t the state government make its stadiums to be more befitting for the state?
Let me digress a little.
Anytime I’m visiting Victoria Island, I often drive through the Teslim Balogun Stadium. It is well maintained and used. Several other states have nice stadiums that are serving the citizens. Super Eagles play their matches in Akwa Ibom and Calabar. The stadiums are always sparkling but not ours in Ibadan since Olubadan Stadium will be used at least for training if a major match will be played in Ibadan. Who can seriously play here?
Apart from the Lekan Salami stadium, you can’t really point to any moderately okay stadium in Ibadan. So true, so sad.
When I asked around, I was told that the reason why the stadium is largely abandoned is because of the fact that government is not generating revenues from it. On the contrary, with minimal efforts, the stadium can be generating more than enough revenues to finance its maintenance since people are playing soccer matches in the city and schools regularly hold inter-house sport games.
What is the Oyo state sports ministry doing sef?
Don’t even let me start on events. This is a whole big source of revenues for the facility.
I also saw that Pepsi was (or is still) using the stadium for its football academy. Why can’t the academy and company be asked to upgrade the stadium and be using it more regularly?
I know it’s difficult for the government to be the one maintaining and managing stadiums – but they belong to the government! If it cannot properly manage them, it can offload them or introduce public – private partnerships in property management just like it did with Agodi Gardens.
As the Olubadan Stadium continues to be abandoned and deteriorate, it presents a major security threat to the neighborhood as hideout for criminals and potential recruitment and training ground for extremists and dangerous groups.
We need to do something about the stadium.
Check out the pictures that I took at the stadium below.