Posted by Kalu Oko, Umuahia | 5 February 2017 | 5,505 times
Indications have emerged that Abia State Government is not in a hurry to complete the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba currently being upgraded to a 26,000 capacity stadium, despite its claim that plans were ongoing for the completion.
Mr. Ebi Egbe, Director, MoniMichelle Sports Facilities Construction Limited, the contractor handling the stadium said in an interview Friday that Abia government has not shown interest in completing the stadium as soon as possible to enable players of Enyimba International Football Club to resume play on their home soil.
Enyimba currently plays home matches at the Calabar Stadium in Cross River State as a result of the on-going upgrade of the stadium.
Abia State Sports Commissioner, Chief Chinwe Nwanganga, had on Thursday in Umuahia during an interactive forum to mark 50 years anniversary of Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN), told members of the Abia State Chapter of the association that arrangements were on to complete the reconstruction work on the stadium.
But Egbe disputed the claim, saying: “My brother nothing is happening. The Abia State government is not serious about the completion of Enyimba Stadium.”
Egbe said he was in the state for talks with the government over the completion of the stadium two weeks earlier but was disappointed as the promises made to him were not fulfilled. He said he was offered only N1.6 million to continue work, adding that materials needed for the work are to be imported.
“I have been going to Umuahia every week to meet them. What I get is one story today and another story tomorrow, my brother, I am tired,” he said.
“During my last visit, they said they wanted to give me N1. 6 million. I told them that the money cannot complete the job and that they should keep it when they have enough to do the work they should call me.
“It is not that I did not appreciate the money, I want to complete that job. I do not want a situation where they will give me N1 million today and it will take another four years before they can pay the rest. I don’t work like that,” he said.
Egbe said that in the last one month, the Abia State government has not contacted him, even as he alleged that the Finance and Sports Commissioners no longer pick his calls.
He said the non-functioning of Enyimba Stadium was not only inconveniencing the club and their supporters, it was equally depriving the state of revenue.
“If they know what the Aba people are going through for not having that stadium ready, they will quickly fix the stadium and bring Enyimba back home.
“When you play your matches outside your home grounds, you will spend a minimum of N1 million which will go into payment for stadium, security, transportation and accommodation.
“They pay between N1 million and N2 million everyday Enyimba play match away from home grounds,” Egbe said.
“If the stadium had been put in order, it would have generated a lot of money for Abia state government. Do you know how much money the state has lost since the stadium work started? If they could complete that stadium with 26,000 capacity, that is a very good source of Internally Generated Revenue for the state,” he said.
Egbe warned that delaying the project would inflate the cost because the job depends much on imported materials.
“A project that could cost you ten Naira today, if you delay it for three years, when you come back to it, it will now cost you fifty Naira.
“Our job is 90 percent import-based. I started that job when the Euro was the equivalent of N272.00 but today it is N520.00 and that will impact on the final cost of the job, he added.
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