OYO state, one of the foremost States in the Yoruba nation, a South-West region in Nigeria prides itself as the state of many firsts not only in the country but in the continent as a whole.

The state which can boast to have had the first television station in Africa, WNBC-WNBS which was later metamorphosed into Nigeria Television Authority; the frist university in Africa, University of Ibadan and the first stadium in the continent, Liberty Stadium, all situated in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, are few of the several firsts developmental institutions that were, first of all, germinated in the state even when the country was still under the British colonial rule, after which other States in Nigeria and some African countries began emulating the unique projects. These historic feats have earned the state its famous sobriquet the pacesetter.

This time arround, it is the first ever private-owned sporting edifice; this sporting complex with a standard football pitch is being constructed in the ancient city of Akanran in Ona-Ara local government, a suburb of Ibadan, the state capital.

Besides the Standard football pitch which is arround thirty-five percent completion, the indoor and outdoor games arenas such as basket ball, volley ball, handball and lawn tennis courts have all reached eighty percent completion.

According to the site engineer, a local contractor, who does not want his name to be published because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the owner of the sporting complex which is scheduled to be fully completed in September this year stated, when asked if the sporting complex can be completed within the said time frame, that he is cock sure that his crew will achieve hundred percent completion by September, adding that, that is the reason why they have been working round the clock, including Sundays, to ensure that the dead line is met.

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Our correspondence learned that the objective behind the citing of the sporting edifice in the sprawling town of Akanran by the owner, a business man, a silent philantropist and who himself is a trained-engineer is to first and foremost, develop and exposé Akanran town to the outside world.

In his words, “the owner being an indigene of this local goverment, Ona-Ara, is not happy about the state of infrastructural facilities in the town and local government as a whole.

He does not like the primitive state which the town has been sentenced to by the past governments, hence, he had taken it upon himself to open up the town, and in extension, the local government, to the outside world by building standard sporting complex within the local government.

“He is not unaware of the the bad state of the road the motorists pass through when entering Akanran, the council’s headquarters, but he believes that various developmental projects being citéd in the town by him will spur the state government to rehabilitate or better still, reconstruct the road which in its present state is a motorists’ nightmares”, he concluded.

According to the investigation conducted by our correspondent, the owner and his advisors had drawn up several activities that will not only make the sporting complex engaged but also self sustaining upon full completion; and on top of these activities are grass root football competitions.

The site engineer stated further, “the owner being a passionate philantropist, believes that having a grass root sporting competitions organised within the sporting complex will not only make the edifice engaged but will also serve as talents discovery avenue which will give quality life and hope to the children of the downtrodden of the society whose talents have not been properly harnessed for the development of the country by the various sporting bodies.

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“It is also believed that the football pitch in the complex might be used as a training pitch by the Shooting Stars football club because we learned that Shooting Stars football club go as far as Ijebu-ode in Ogun state to have their training sessions done.

Apart from this, just as it will be useful for the less priviledged of the society, it will also be useful to the rich. One of the objectives is to use the sporting complex as an avenue through which the rich can recreate and as a means of “escape route” from the hustle and bustle of the state capital, ibadan. Akanran being a suburb and agrarian town has a serene and non-polluted environment, hence, the guest rooms being constructed simultaneously with the sporting facilities.

“The guest rooms will serve as the accomodation for those who want to use the complex for various kinds of recreation or the other.

The newly weds, instead of travelling out outside the country for their honey moon, thereby spending their hard-earned money which can be used for better things, will find a perfect place within the environment for neccessary bonding, because, apart from the facilies that will be enjoyed in the guest rooms, they will also have access to the complex sporting facilities.

And Just tell me what is more perfect than to have a newly married couple playing alone together in this nearly perfect, none polluted environment, he asked rhetorically.

“All these and more are some of the plans the management has pencil down as sources of revenue which will make the sporting complex to be engaged sporting wise and economically self sustaining.

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Our correspondent, however learned that, the long term vision of the owner is to turn the town into a mega city. Because according to our source, apart from a big mordernised farm which the owner runs besides yet-to-be-completed sporting arena, he has also earmarked a special portion, just a stone throw besides the stadium for an international market.


By Hazeez Ayansola.

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