Expectations are high that the redevelopment of the Onikan stadium, Lagos would be completed by December 2018 as the contractor has fully mobilised to site to intensify the rebuilding process.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode had last year approved the rehabilitation and upgrade of the 5,000 capacity sports facility to meet the expectations of a 21st century infrastructure suitable for local and international events. Onikan stadium is the oldest stadium in Nigeria, built in 1930 and was last renovated in the 1980s.
The stadium had served as a multi-purpose centre for social and political events aside the usual hosting of football matches before it became dilapidated. Managing Director of SlavaBogu Nigeria Limited, the construction company handling the project, Mr. Zekeriya Oktem, an engineer said the reconstruction involves complete demolition of the existing facilities which has been carried out, removal of the old turf, underground drainage and artificial pitch base.
He assured that rehabilitation works would also be done on the external and internal walls, the electrical and mechanical installations, paved driveways, perimeter fence, borehole and water reticulation as well as external electricity lighting and landscaping amongst others.
On the design of the project, he said; “There will be four stands completely covered with a membrane roof, high quality artificial playground which has been approved by FIFA for international games, International standard dressing rooms, comfortable four stands seats with international standard to aid the catering unit, toilet unit, hygienic unit and the escape unit in case of emergencies. There will be car parks only limited for officials and their teams because the state government is constructing a huge car park just next to the stadium, which would take just a walk like 100metres”.
“Onikan is a historical and landmark project of this country, hosted many historical games, famous people and too many championships. We know the importance of this stadium. Right now we have branded the fence but we have a challenge; it is now right in the heart of the city and it has very limited land”, he stated.
Oktem stated that the firm had commenced the renovation at the end of December 2017, promising that the project would be delivered in the next 12months. He also expressed hope that it would hosts the end of year and New Year concerts/entertainment events.
“As a matter of fact, we are ahead of the schedule especially the designs and other things, are already on ground. Already, pilling works have started on the project since last December. It will go really fast. We are committed to keeping to schedules to meet up with the contractual timeline and based on our projections, we are very sure that within the 12month limit we are going to deliver”.
According to him, Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode aims to make the stadium a fully entertainment place and sports place that has an international quality adding that when completed, it will hosts more people, perhaps 7,500 despite its 5,000-seat capacity when special events are organized.
“The reconstruction of the stadium would complement the adjoining JK Randle Arts Centre, the proposed Lagos Museum, the Lagos History Centre as well as the Lagos Heritage Centre which are all tourism-inspired projects. We are also going to make many modern decorations on the street sides and the landscaping. We are going to use special drainage system because the entire stadia in Nigeria are failing because of drainage problem through this, with less maintenance, the stadium can be sustained for a longtime”.He disclosed that 90 percent of workers in the company are Nigerians who are also involved on the project, knows the dynamics of the company and have been well trained to deliver quality jobs.
Credit: The Guardian