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THE FIRST INDIVIDUAL-OWNED SPORTING COMPLEX IN NIGERIA: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

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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.

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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.

“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.

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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.

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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‘Poverty nearly made me lose focus’ – World boxing champ, Scorpion reveals

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The young Nigerian, who just became the new World Boxing Federation (WBF) International Super Featherweight Champion, Ridwan Oyekola Scorpion, has revealed that his rise to prominence in the boxing profession was tortuous while describing it as an adventure that turned around his life for the better.

While urging Nigerian youths to work hard and never allow poverty to make them lose focus, Ridwan Scorpion disclosed that he suffered many rejections, disappointments, shame in life before he was lucky to be picked in the city of Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State while working as an Okada rider by his promoter and manager, Mr Sola Ayodele.

Speaking further, he also stated that he once considered abandoning the boxing profession because of the hardship he faced at the amateur level, disclosing that he had to beg to survive.

According to him, “ I suffered terribly as an amateur. You know, it was very difficult to survive. But then, I was good enough and I easily qualified to represent Oyo State at different annual festivals and at championships.

“In those days, you must go to work. Nobody cared how you survived. Most of the times, I would trek from Total Garden to the Lekan Salami Stadium at Adamasingba to resume duties at the Sports Council. If you do not go to work, you would be paid half of your monthly stipend. Most of the times, I would beg people to buy food for me”.

Reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s congratulatory message when he won his boxing bout, Scorpion said he was very delighted and happy, adding  that “such recognitions would spur him to achieve more successes in life..

The champion used the occasion to disclose that his parents are now happy with his success story despite the rejection and disapproval at the beginning of his career.

“Many times, my father used to beat me to discourage me from pursuing a career in the boxing profession. Luckily there was a day that I participated in a bout organised by some politicians in 2007 and it was shown on the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) television and my younger brother drew the attention of my father to it when it was being broadcast, and my father saw what was happening on the television – he saw me fighting on the screen. He stopped discouraging me as from that day.

“That singular discovery made him to change his mind and he is always happy whenever he his referred to as Daddy Scorpion because of my success story”, he said

The 23-year-old boxing champion, however charged aspiring sportsmen to be disciplined, focused and to be resolute in the face of opposition while assuring them that sport is now lucrative.

“You must be ready to pay your dues. You must be ready to weather the storms that will threaten to chase you and discourage you from achieving your dreams. You must be prayerful too. You must remain focused because the future is ours.”

Scorpion, who made these revelations during the week in Ibadan while featuring on Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio along side his promoter, Sola Ayodele ‘Ford’ , further encouraged Nigerian youths to combine hard work and prayer , reassuring them that God still rewards hard work. “It is better to trust God; I never knew I could be a world champion”.

He used the opportunity to dispel the notion widely held by people that all boxers are touts. He stated that the boxing profession is a noble, lucrative profession that youths should venture into.

The champion also stated that he got his stage name “Scorpion” from his former trainer and coach Mr Ajibola who has trained and produced many professional boxers who are technically good.

He disclosed that he adopted the name “Scorpion” to encourage his trainer who suffered in the profession and was not rewarded by the authorities.

He said “I decided to adopt the name to encourage and spur my trainer to return to the ring when I wanted to turn professional. I wanted to achieve success through the name so as to encourage him and bring him back to the ring. Through my success story, I am happy that he is back today as a well-respected trainer.

Also commenting , the promoter of the boxer, Mr Sola Ayodele ‘Ford’ disclosed how he discovered the world boxing champion.

According to the promoter, he was lucky to meet Ridwan Scorpion, an ‘okada’ operator at the tarmac in Agodi gate, Ibadan where he had gone to purchase some auto spare parts.

He revealed that he got to know that Ridwan was a boxer when another bike man hailed him as a boxer from the opposite direction of the road.

“During the course of our conversation, I asked him if he was a boxer and he responded in the affirmative.

“As we were approaching Bode, my destination, I was curious to ask him how possible is it for him to be a boxer and an Okada man. This was when he revealed to me that it was the Nigerian frustration that made him to become a bike rider. I was later shocked when I saw all the medals he had won in a polythene bag, and I decided to render my little assistance to him”, he narrated.

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Oyo federal lawmaker, Akande-Sadipe organises novelty match in memory of late Governor Ajimobi

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.  friends, associates celebrate late Oyo governor

 

Celebrations of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s 71st Posthumous birthday continued yesterday, with a novelty match between Akorede football team and Idi-Ayunre team, where the former triumphed with two goals.

The football match, which  was graced by family members, friends and associates of the late two-term Governor, including his wife, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi; Oyo Lawmaker, Seyi Adisa; ALGON Chairman, Abass Aleshinloye; former Aides to Governor Ajimobi, and a host of soccer legends was organised by Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, federal House of Representatives member representing Oluyole Federal Constituency.

Speaking about the match, held at the Lead-city stadium, Ibadan, the host, Akande-Sadipe informed that the event was her way of celebrating the late Governor Ajimobi, who she said was a support system to her political career while he was alive.

Also commenting, the former First Lady of Oyo State, Mrs. Ajimobi lauded the lawmaker for such initiative, which has encouraged the youths and entertained the adults in her constituency.

“Nothing is too much to celebrate His Excellency, former Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who during his lifetime gave his all to the development of Oyo State, his party and family. We miss him and his legacies”, she said.

Also in his remarks, the lawmaker representing Afijio State Constituency at the Oyo State House of Assembly, Barrister Seyi Adisa said his former boss was fondly called Archipelago, because football was one of the things he wanted to be remembered for.

He said, “honestly, my former boss deserves a befitting match such as this, being a football nut himself. If my memory does not fail me, he remains the only former Governor in this country who played active football in his younger-years. Ajimobi played for his alma-mater, Lagelu Grammar school.

“Everybody is here to witness the artistic displays by soccer players, as part of activities to celebrate our legendary father and role-model, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi,” concluded the House of Assembly member.

The event began at 8 a.m with an explosive match between Akorede Local Government team and Idi-Ayunre team, after which Mrs. Ajimobi presented a trophy and cash gift to Akorede football team, winners of the match.

The Idi-Ayunre team also received a cash reward.

Akorede Football team won with two goals, scored by its Attacker Ibrahim Olatunbosun.

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Adebayo & Gbadamosi law firm lifts Aare Afe Babalola/Ibadan Premier Bar League Trophy

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•  wins cash reward of N250,000

History was made yesterday as
Adebayo & Gbadamosi law firms lifted the coveted trophy of the Aare Afe Babalola / Ibadan Bar League after thrashing the hard fighting Abike ‘boys’ 2 – 1 in the final of the football match .

The Abike team , who appeared to be a better side , got the bronze medals and cash prize of N150,000 as runners up.

Before the final match, Crown Solicitors defeated Bandele Aiku with 4 -2 in the third match played at the Olubadan Stadium, Iyaganku, Ibadan, carting away medals and a cash reward of N100,000 .

Twelve teams from different law firms in Ibadan , Oyo state participated in this year’s Aare Afe Babalola ,SAN / Ibadan Bar Football League , which commenced on Friday November, 13, 2020 at the Olubadan stadium.

The football league was solely sponsored by the Afe Babalola & Co ; comprising the four branches ( Ibadan, Lagos , Abuja , and Port-Harcourt ) to celebrate and honor the founder/Principal , Aare Afe Babalola for his untiring contributions to legal practice and to Nigeria at large.

Speaking with newsmen after the final match, Mr Sina Ogungbade , a Principal of Aare Afe Babalola & Co , also expressed happiness over the outcome of the tournament , stating that as lawyers ,there is need for them to make time out to mingle among themselves to foster unity and togetherness among legal practitioners in the state .

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” This is our way of fostering unity development , and togetherness amongst lawyers . It is not all about going to courts alone, lawyers should have time to mingle among themselves , to meet and interact . And we chose football because the Principal of the firm, Aare Afe Babalola & Co is an avid supporter of football . As a matter of fact , at the age of 91, 92 , he still has a club that he supports weekly “, he stated.

He said ” we have chosen to use football as a mark of honour for our founder/ Principal because of his love and passion for football , our founder/Principal always finds time to watch good football despite his very busy working schedule”.

Besides, he said the competition has increase the bonding and deepen the friendship amongst lawyers in the premier bar .

In his remarks , Mr Olayinka Esan , the current Chairman ,Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ibadan branch , listed some of the benefits of the annual football competition to include celebration of the patron of the Bar , Aare Afe Babalola SAN and promotion of unity among lawyers.

Esan said ” Well, the first thing is that we celebrate our patron, Aare Afe Babalola SAN who donated this cup and its a yearly tournament . This is the second edition . All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy . As you see, some of us have crossed the border, but the young lawyers you have here have made us proud. Its a competition that we started about two months, and today its the final. Apart from the competition, apart from relaxing, we are getting together. Everybody is happy. It is just going beyond playing , it is a competition and we are getting rewards, all thanks to Aare Afe Babalola SAN “.

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Also, the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Oyo state, Asiwaju Bayo Ojo , a Principal Partner, Adebayo & Gbadamosi law firm, expressed gratitude to the organiser of the competition , Aare Afe Babalola for the wonderful opportunity to be part of the tournament.

” I am happy and highly elated. And I must thank the sponsor of this tournament, our father, leader and grandfather in law, Aare Afe Babalola , a Senior Advocate of Nigeria ( SAN). You see , as lawyers we hardly have time to recreate, but our father , Aare Afe Babalola had opened a great window for us to play this tournament. Apart from promoting healthy relationship among law firms in Ibadan, it goes beyond that , promotes a healthy way of living which is very good. We are really very happy for this and we hope that by next year, we will witness another robust tournament than this, ” he said.

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