Lekan Salami Stadium: Those Sharing Fake Photos Are Malicious-Makinde
Oyo State governor, Engineer ‘Seyi Makinde, has described as malicious some people who shared fake photos to represent that of the remodeled Lekan Salami Stadium which was unveiled by the state government, Wednesday last week.
He said the timing of the unveiling of the stadium was informed by concerns for the happiness of the Shooting Stars Sports (3SC) Club, rather than allowing them to suffer for too long over failure to have access to a good football pitch in a good environment.
Recalled that some people shared on the Social Media the images of the flooded and waterlogged Sheffield Wednesday Stadium in their criticism of some errors noticed during the unveiling of the Lekan Salami Stadium.
While Makinde acknowledged that some people raised genuine concerns about the timing of the unveiling, he said some others went to town with outright falsehood and malicious lies about the true state of the remodeled stadium.
The governor declared that a logical mind would quickly deduce that if people resort to lies and misinformation, their case cannot hold water by seeking to use the photos of a foreign stadium to depict the true state of the Lekan Salami Stadium.
Explaining why his administration decided to remodel and unveil the stadium, he said it was part of the strategies of his administration to always think “economy first” in its policies and decisions for the state.
He said recent happenings in politics and governance, especially increasing debates on the issue of Value Added Tax (VAT) have brought to fore the importance of states taking decisions that will increase their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and also attract investors.
“One year ago, when we flagged off the remodeling of the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, we were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like forward-thinking leaders, we were particular about the timing of our decisions.
“While many concentrated on the short-term goal of converting their existing stadiums to isolation centres, we built and positioned ourselves to reap the benefits of sports tourism, post-pandemic.
“With Phase 1 of this project, we have completely remodeled the main bowl of the complex. It now contains FIFA standard facilities such as four changing rooms, a studio, media centre, mixed zone and of course floodlights. I can boldly say that, with the facilities we have here, we are ready to host any national, regional or international competition!
“So, to all anywhere in the world who need FIFA standard facilities for their events, we say “come”. Oyo State is ready to receive you. We are open for business.
“But let me address some genuine concerns. Some people have asked why we didn’t wait out the rainy season before hosting the event. They have said our haste to unveil an ‘uncompleted stadium’ blighted an otherwise outstanding achievement.
“I have also seen those who have been spreading malicious lies about the work we did. They have shared pictures of the Sheffield Wednesday flooded stadium and presented it as the newly-unveiled Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba main bowl.
“So, let’s set the records straight by addressing these malicious lies. A logical mind would quickly deduce that if people resort to lies and misinformation, their case doesn’t hold water.
“So, when you meet any of them, ask them: “If you really believe the Lekan Salami Sports Complex was poorly done, why are you sharing fake pictures?”
Makinde further asked: “Is it not a mark of serious mischief that a group of people would lie about something that was watched live by millions of people on international and local television? If they can lie about something so obvious, what else could they possibly lie about?”
The governor said: “Next, let me talk about the timing of the game. Some people have asked why we didn’t wait till December to unveil the main bowl, along with the rest of the sports complex. There are a few reasons for this.
“To start with, we wanted to unveil the main bowl with an international friendly. Anyone who follows international football will tell you that there are seven windows for these matches. None of these windows falls in December and January. If we had waited, we would have to wait until February 2022 or later.
“Secondly, and this is a more personal reason, when we watched the Shooting Stars game just three days before my birthday in 2019, the picture of the players on the floor stayed with me. The players I saw on the floor that day were a far cry from the club I had gone to watch at Adamasingba as a child.
“I had promised during my campaigns to bring back the glory I knew they had, without even knowing how terrible things were. And after that day, I was determined not to let even one unnecessary day pass by without keeping that promise.
“So, yes, I was determined to make sure they didn’t have to manage anymore. Also, I knew the players would face playoffs to ensure that they are restored to the NPFL this September after suffering relegation in 2017.
“I knew what a boost playing in this stadium would give them. And so, even though the rest of the sporting complex is still being constructed as part of Phase 2, we ensured the main bowl, which we unveiled, was ready for use.
“Contrary to what some have said, this is not about politics. If it were, we would have waited until December or February 2022, when the entire complex (Phase 1 and 2) would be ready so that we could make a louder noise.
“It was about putting the players first, and it was about not letting people suffer “just for three months” so that we could make a bigger political statement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is nothing wrong with the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba. The stadium withstood four hours of torrential rains without getting flooded.
“The match went on, and our darling 3SC beat the visiting team by four goals to nil. The pride on the players’ faces at the end of that match was worth whatever “political loss” anyone thinks this decision cost us. If we had a chance to do this again, we would make the same decisions.
“I am going to leave you with these thoughts today. For those who will eventually get into politics: Whenever you are forced to choose between political expediency and humanity, always choose humanity.