Sports Development In Ikorodu Division: Leaders, Residents Call For Govt Intervention In Building Stadium, Sports Centres
Eminent personalities, sports managers and residents across the six Local Government and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State have called on the State government to provide sport infrastructure across the division.
There has also been call for sports development in Ikorodu communities because of the recent poor performances of the division’s contingent at the State and National Sports festivals in recent time against what used to be obtainable in the past when the division was a force to reckon with.
In an interview with the former Zonal Sports Director, Prince Agbolade Akeem Olukunga, he stated that sports development in Ikorodu in the 80s was the priority of both the government and the community and that the community benefited from it.
“Between 1983 to 1987 or 1988, I was the Zonal Sports Director in Ikorodu and at that time, sports were at its peak because the officials at that time were committed. They really put Ikorodu sports together and made it what it was at that time. In those days, the Sports Council, played a prominent role in promoting sporting activities in Ikorodu. I was posted to Ikorodu to make sure all the 26 sports at that time were in Ikorodu.
While recalling the glorious old past of Ikorodu sports, Prince Olukunga was speechless about the current trend of events in the sports circle.
“We were supplying athletes to Lagos State, especially in swimming, hockey and other sports during national and international competitions. Out of the 24 swimmers in Lagos team then, we had about eighteen (18) from Ikorodu and they were mainly from the Majidun side of the town. The hockey had the two Orims at that time, Modinat Yusuf and a lot of them. Talk of handball, volleyball where we had the Raimi’s, Udele’s. Also when, when you talk about football, before I left Ikorodu, we had about 11 football clubs. Teams like the former Ikorodu United, Nichemtex FC and Igbogbo Bombers. In all ramifications, Ikorodu at that time was bubbling with sporting activities such that when you pick Mainland because of the impact of Rowe Park, Ikorodu would be the next as far as sporting activities is concern but you can see what Ikorodu is like now concerning sports.”
Tracing the decadence in sports development in Ikorodu in relation to lack of stadium, Price Olukunga stated that, “Between 1983 to 1987/1988, Ikorodu division could boast of fourty (40) acres of land allocated to sports under late Alhaji Sholaja Alagago, the then chairman of the sport council while I was the zonal director. The man fought tooth and nail to get that forty acres of land and three (3) to four (4) years before I left, we had been playing divisional league there with referees from Lagos coming to officiate matches on the pitch. I wonder what happened to that place.”
During that time, late Chief Musediku Alogba (Construction One), graded twenty (20) acres out of forty (40) acres which we were making use of. We even had eight lane tracks round the football field for athletes while the hockey players were using hockey the football field to play” Prince Olukunga stated.
While suggesting a way out of the sports decline, Prince Olukunga stated, “I want the indigenes and sports loving people in Ikorodu to come together and have a symposium and at the end, get a communique to the Lagos State Sports Commission that they want their zonal sport council back. Without a zonal council office, there cannot be coordinated sporting activity in Ikorodu.”
Speaking at the Ikorodu Constituency II venue of Ikorodu Masterplan Consultative Meeting, the former Secretary to the State Government, Asiwaju Olrunfunmi Basorun appealed to the government to develop the Igbogbo stadium which was constructed through the community effort and fenced by the state government in 2009.
“There is need for full development of Igbogbo sport stadium (about 2.5 hectares) along Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way, Igbogbo, which was fenced by the state Government in 2009.”
Chief Imam Yahya Oshoala, a former teacher and sports development officer, also decried lack of a standard stadium in Ikorodu divisiondespite the contribution of the division to sports over the years and being the only division with a football team in the National Professional Football League.
In the same vein, the authority of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, students, and sports community are also appealing to the State government for the completion of the abandoned Lagos State Polytechnic Sports Complex located in Ikorodu Permanent site of the institution.
- Posted in: Sports