Many top sports enthusiasts and residents in Kwara State have decried the dilapidated state of the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium, Ilorin.
They therefore, have mounted pressure on the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, to match his promises with action so that the indoor hall would be renovated before the end of 2017.
Ahmed had promised renovation of the indoor hall but the sports enthusiasts and Kwara residents said the edifice, which used to be a cynosure of all eyes, had become an eyesore.
They, therefore reasoned that holding competitions or even training sessions in the complex, which used to host international, national and local sports competitions; was more like exposing athletes to varying degrees of injuries and even death if the place was not properly renovated to standard.
Some of those who spoke to our correspondent include the Kwara State Chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Bibire Abdulwaheed, another sports journalist, Mr. Olayinka Omolewa, and some residents, Alhaja Bunmi Adeola and Alhaji Yusuf Balogun.
They stated that the former magnificent edifice, which was built in 1977 by the then Military Administrator of the state, Brigadier George Innih (retd.), had become a horror to look at.
According to them, the first impression a visitor gets of the hall is that of a former beautiful bride abandoned by her husband to rot away.
Our correspondent, who visited the hall, observed that not only had many of the railings and ceilings as well as the paints rusted away and fallen, reptiles now inhabit some of the facilities. It was also noticed that the seats had become traps as many of them had their sitting tops removed which could harm unsuspecting fans who sit on any of them.
Also an offensive smell oozed from some sections of the complex when our correspondent visited it, thereby endangering the health of people who work or walk within the surrounding.
Abdulwaheed captured the current state of the facility succinctly.
He said, “When you consider the edifice now, I will say, it is a shadow of its former self because that indoor sports hall used to be the best when it was constructed in 1977 by Brigadier George Innih (retd.).
“In fact as at that time, the indoors sports hall and the main bowl of the Kwara State Stadium complex used to host local and international competitions. The way the indoor sports hall was constructed, about 15 to 20 games could go on simultaneously.
“But if you look at it now, it is a shadow of its former self. Those facilities that used to be a pride then are no longer visible. In fact there is the need for urgent government intervention, if actually we want to reclaim our status as a state in Nigeria that is regarded as the ‘Mecca of sports’ in those days.”
Balogun said people had called on the state government and other stakeholders several times to renovate the complex.
According to him, they got promises, which were never fulfilled.
Owolewa also described the edifice as an eyesore, adding that it was a disappointment to sports development in Kwara.