Nigeria: Lagos Plans N10 Billion Sports Investments
By Taiwo Adelu
London, July 29, 2019 (AltAfrica) – A whopping sum of N10 Billion will be raised and spent on massive infrastructural and human capital development in sports in the next five years in Lagos Sate, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Trust Fund, Chief Femi Pedro, who revealed that the action plans to transform Lagos as the ‘Mecca of Sports’ in Africa has just begun with the rollout of series of projects from 2019..
Femi Pedro, a former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, alongside members of the Board of Lagos State Sports Trust Fund, hosted the operators of lotteries and sports betting companies at a stakeholders forum in Lagos at the weekend. The forum is part of the engagement activities for stakeholders in the lottery and sports betting industry in the state.
“We have several goals to ourselves. Beginning from this year, and for the next five years, we are committed to achieve a minimum of N10 Billion of raised funds in five years. Our goal is to secure commercial revenues that limit government funding to ten percents or less. We are also committed to ensuring that not less than 10 million Lagos residents participate actively doing sports. We hope to deliver at least 10 infrastructure projects annually, develop 20 athletes each from 10 different sports from grassroots to podium and train 10 coaches in different sports annually.” Pedro said.
He said the first major project of Sports Trust Fund would be the rehabilitation and re-modelling of the Mobolaji Bank Anthony Sports Centre, Rowe Park, Yaba. “Our plan is to do a total overhaul of the complex and transform it to a modern indoor and outdoor sports complex of international standard which will be available to young people, clubs, community, groups, schools and other users across the state.”
He, however, revealed that a world class sports centre like the Rowe Park Sports Centre will be built each year in five years across five locations in the state, adding that athletes of the state who find it difficult to get funds to travel for international tournaments will be assisted and sponsored on the recommendation of the Lagos State Sports Commission.
Alternativeafrica.com reports that notable betting companies which attended the event included Bet9ja, Betway, Betking, Baba Ijebu, Bet Pawa, Superior Games, Bia Stellar Limited, while the regulatory body, Lagos State Lottery Board was led to the event by its General Manager/ CEO, Seun Anibaba.
“The main purpose of this event is first to formally introduce ourselves to you and through you to the members of the public,” he said. “In the past few months, we have painstakingly embarked on a strategic exercise to craft our vision, mission, and core values. We have also developed our corporate governance principles, organisation, structure and operating models.”
According to Pedro, while the Lagos State Sports Trust Fund was created primarily to play a critical role in financing the development and promotion of sports, sporting activities and facilities in the state, there is need to partner with the private sectors and well meaning Nigerians to succeed in its mandate, hence the call on the lottery and sports betting companies in the state to support both morally and financially.”We invite you to be the first catalyst in our Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to transform sports industry in Lagos State and Nigeria. Our plan is to replicate the models of sports development in advanced countries such as the Great Britain, France, Australia, USA and others in Lagos State,” Pedro said.
Representatives of the lottery and sports betting companies at the meeting commended the state government for the initiatives and pledged their supports.
Damian Udel from Betking said that his company buys into the vision of the Sports Trust Fund, adding that the Board should count of Betking’s support.
To Seun Anibaba, GM of Lagos State Sports Lottery Board, the Sports Trust Fund will be supported to achieve its objectives. “The law is cleared about this and our responsibility is to inform the operators of lottery and sports betting in Lagos. I am happy to say that most of our operators have been doing one form of Corporate Social Responsibility or the other and I believe with the Sports Trust Fund they will be ready to support,” he said.
Chief Pedro was joined by other members of the Board who included the Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, the Director General of the Sports Commission, Mr. Oluwatoyin Bolowotan, Mr. Kenneth Odusanya, Barrister Dapo Awe, Ms. Moyo Ogunseinde, Executive Secretary Mr. Olaposi Agunbiade and others.