47 years after, Kwara Indoor Sports Hall earmarked for renovation


47 years after its construction, and after years of dilapidation and several failed attempts to renovate the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium Complex, the sports edifice has been earmarked for renovation.

Kwara state government weeks ago, approved the award of rehabilitation and upgrade of the long dilapidated Indoor Sports Hall at N2, 069, 425, 371.55kto Messrs Disscom Limited, according to reports.

In a memorandum to the cabinet, the Executive Chairman of the Sports Commission, Mallam Bolakale Adisa Magaji said the procurement process has received a letter of no-objection from the Kwara State Procurement Agency, adding that the project will attract a lot of opportunities to the state, including national and international tournaments, sports conferences, festivals and youth games.

A statement issued by the State Commissioner for Communications, Mrs Bola Olukoju noted that the Governor commended the former Military Administrator, George Agbazika Innih for the historic investments that made the facility one of the best in Nigeria at the time.

The development is coming on the heel of several failed attempts by various dispensations, following the gradual dilapidation that has greeted the multi-sports development facility which was constructed in the 1970s.

The Indoor Sports Hall used to be one of the many public buildings which used to be the pride of the state and country, but is gradually crumbling, owing largely to either lack of maintenance, or wear and tear due to long period of existence. There had been several record of efforts, budgetary and attempted budgetary provisions for the planned renovation of the Indoor Sports Hall from 2003.

The Kwara State Stadium Complex is one expansive sports facilities cherished by the sports loving residents of Kwara for, among other factors, its strategic location; the facilities which are in one location, and which cannot be found anywhere in Nigeria or the West African sub region, and the potential of the facilities to engage the youth. 

The Complex, constructed in 1970s by the then Military administrator of the state, late Brigadier-General George Agbazika Innih remains the only stadium in the country owned by a state government, with conglomerate of sports facilities for 28 sports in one location, in the whole complex. 

Some of the facilities in the Complex, like the twin Out-Door Basketball Courts and Volleyball Courts, Swimming Pool, Squash Courts, including the construction of Eight Glass-Back Courts, the Main-Bowl, which was upgraded to a world class standard with increased seating capacity, synthetic playing pitch, which has been re-converted to natural grass, Olympic standard tartan tracks, flood lights and an electronic scoreboard, were seen as a commendable step by many sports enthusiasts, but the state of the Indoor Sports Hall remained a great source of worry, and gradually becoming horror to look at.

The rate of dilapidation was so high, that holding competitions or even training sessions in the complex, is more like exposing athletes to varying degrees of injuries and danger.

The all-important multi-sports Hall is in shambles, with a leaking roof, broken chairs for spectators, damaged air conditioners, broken ceilings, rendering the facility uninhabitable especially during the rainy season. It’s a hide-out for reptiles and other animals. The total neglect of the edifice was as a result of lip service paid to sports development, as no serious maintenance work is being carried out.

Going down memory lane, the Indoor Sports Hall was initially used as the Kwara State House of Assembly, but was later released during the era of late Alhaji Adamu Attah, for the purpose it was originally meant to serve. The Indoor Sports Hall was designed for day and night sporting activities, with offices for staffers of the Council, Dressing Rooms and a Restaurant/Bar.

It had played host to state, national and international competitions too numerous to mention. It was designed to host racquet games (badminton, tennis, table tennis), ball games (5-a-side football and hockey, pickle ball, basketball, handball and volleyball), mind games (chess, scrabble, darts, ayo and draft), as well as combat games (wrestling, kick-boxing, judo, karate, kung Fu and taekwondo).

In 2015, the then state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed in his budget presentation, stated “In 2015 financial year, we intend to completely overhaul and modernize the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium Complex, in line with the high standards of the Main Bowl, and in order to promote sports development, especially among our youth.”

Equally in August 2016, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed promised that the Indoor Sports Hall would be upgraded to meet international standard. He gave the assurance when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Indoor Sports Hall, to assess the repair needed at the complex.

He said then that the repair was necessitated by the need to upscale the standard of facilities at the Indoor Sports Hall in order to promote sports activities in the State.

Gov. Ahmed was then accompanied on the inspection by the then Commissioner for Sports, Pharmacist Kale Ayo, the then Permanent Secretary of the scrapped Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Chief Ayo Samuel and others.

Years after years, the facility continues to decay as sports enthusiast decry the dilapidated state of the Indoor Sports Hall.

The then state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Alhaji Mahmud Ajeigbe, while briefing journalists on the outcome of the Council meeting said that the contractor was given nine months to complete the renovation job at the complex.

It’s also on record then, that the then Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the Governor, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, had said in a statement that the indoor Sports Hall was among the projects the Governor stepped down to provide additional N1bn for the payment of Local Government workers, especially the State Universal Basic Education Board’s employees.

In 2017, the then Commissioner for Sports and Youths Development in the state, Alhaji Nuhu Kale Ayo, assures that the facility will get a facelift as soon as the approval of the State Executive Council (SEC) is secured.

According to him, “The project has been captured in 2017 Appropriation bill and I can tell you that as soon as we secure approval of the State Executive Council, renovation should commence in the next one or two weeks on the facility. According to the Consultant, the renovation will take about 52 weeks though the duration may be less than that.

The renovation was then awarded to Metro Fittings and Accessories Nigeria Limited for a contract sum of N925.8million. The renovation is for a duration of 9 months.

In 2018, another Sports Commissioner,Hon. Muideen Olaniyi Alalade reinstated the commitment of the Kwara State Government on the reconstruction of the Indoors Sports Hall.

At some points, the planned renovation was either awarded, are about being awarded to Aron Construction Nigeria Limited, the construction company that handled the conversion of the Mini-Bowl of the Stadium to Main-Bowl, as well as BAL Engineering Nigeria Limited.

And this time around, the bid to have it renovated was coming after virtually all the facilities at the Complex have been renovated, and new ones added, by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

Achievements everywhere in the world are measured by some variables, but understandably, it must reflect on general development of humanity, to be adjudged to have leaved to its worth. Governance, in any given society, is all about service delivery, especially in line with the yearnings and aspirations of the governed. It’s about defining the feelings of the people, promoting the positive aspects and finding solutions to the negative ones.

For Kwara state Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the narrative has changed, absolutely, and the new found atmosphere is opening a new vista which is being appreciated by all.

This administration is adding value to sports growth and development. The renovation and construction of facilities in the state started with the renovation and upgrading of the Baseball Park in Adewole, Ilorin. The Park was originally commissioned on November 22nd, 1991, by the then number two man in Nigeria, Rear Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, and before the renovation and upgrading by Governor AbdulRahman AdulRazaq, which was coming 29 years after, the roof had given way, while the edifice itself had suffered absolute neglect, over time.

The Twin Outdoor Basketball Courts and the Twin Outdoor Volleyball Courts were also renovated, just like the Olympic size Swimming Pool, which was equally renovated. Also renovated are the Twin Handball Courts, with the construction of toilets, Changing Rooms, motorized Borehole and offices and floodlights, which all characterized the Handball Courts as the best in the country for now.

In addition to all these, construction of eight new glass-back squash courts are ongoing, just as the existing two glass-back squash courts have been renovated. Government has completed the construction of one-all Table Tennis Hall at the same Kwara State Stadium Complex. These are all in line with the realization that infrastructure forms solid foundation for genuine development of sports.

Asides the Mini-Bowl that was converted to the Main-Bowl in 2011, all other facilities at the Kwara State Stadium Complex is receiving serious attention. The Complex, which also houses the Kwara Football Academy, has almost abandoned 90-room Hostel, Indoor Sports Hall, Medical Centre, Dining Hall, Olympic size Swimming Pool and a Cricket Oval. The Hostels are also being fully renovated, one after the other.

Kwara state government also assisted in reshaping the development of football in the state and Nigeria with the completion of the Kwara State Football House, now named after the pioneer Chairman of the State FA, Alhaji Usman Mustapha.

All these complements government’s efforts at supporting sportsmen and women to excel through various national and international competitions, and supports to stage the State Sports Festival.

In his reaction after the award of the contract for the renovation of the Indoor Sports Hall, the Executive Chairman of the State Sports Commission, Mallam Magaji hailed the ingenuity of His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for the development.

Magaji, while reflecting on Governor AbdulRasaq’s contributions to sports development since assuming office, described him as a man of vision and mission particularly in the sports industry.

He noted that the Governor is creating a legacy for what he will be remembered for, for a long time to come. He thanked the Governor for the development and the good things he has been doing in the sports sector, so far.


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