Encomium For Skimeh As Ex-Nigerian Stars Play At Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III Mini Stadium In Oyo


    The sporting memory and community development legacies of the late Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, was today relived as the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, inaugurated a mini stadium sited on a former dump site at Oke Aremo area of Oyo Town.

    The “Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III Mini Stadium” was initiated by one of the children of the late monarch who is a member of the House of Representatives for the Oyo federal constituency, Prince Akeem Adeyemi (a.k.a. Skimeh).

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    It was facilitated by the lawmaker in conjunction with the Metropolitan Development Association led by retired Arch Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, and assisted by the Federal Ministry of Sports.

    The inauguration of the football arcade was witnessed by many dignitaries and indigenes of Oyo who watched the selected Stars from Oyo and Ibadan play against each other to the admiration of all. Among the players were former soccer Stars including: Dimeji Lawal, Dele Ajiboye, Muyiwa Lawal, Ademola Ikudaisi, with Skimeh as Captain of the Oyo Alaafin Ambassador.

    In his address, the Ogbomoso, Oyo State-born Minister who said that he is a son to the late Alaafin because of his very close affinity with Aafin, noted that the feat was part of the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring that youth of the country are encouraged to be useful to their communities, and thereby shun vices. He appreciated the late Alaafin and his son, Skimeh for initiating the idea by turning the dump site to a useful mini stadium, thus contributing to the environmental sanitation of the community.

    Flanked by the Director General of the Ministry of Sports, Prof. Olawale Morounkola, the Director of Procurement, Mr. Segun Oke, Engr. Tunji Okedairo, Ag. Director/ Facility and Stadium Management Department, the Minister said: “There is a national plan under the Ministry of Youth and Sports to develop grassroots sporting facilities. Apart from this mini stadium commissioned today, there are other mini stadia that have been built and commissioned across the country especially under the seven and a half years of President Muhammadu Buhari. Today is very significant because of the passion and drive behind it; because of the late Alaafin who wanted this to happen; because of his son Hon. Akeem Adeyemi who drove that vision and of course by me who also, and the plans that we have.

    “You can see the story of this stadium from a rubbish heap to a stadium and I think it will benefit our youths. 61 per cent of those involved in sports are the youth of this country. Aside football, I am sure other sports will be played here. We hope that we will have about other four mini stadia in different parts of the country in the next seven months, completed and handed over to the communities like we have done today.

    Speaking on the maintenance of the stadium, Dare said: “I think there is need to have a Facility Manager to take care of this stadium’s maintenance because maintenance has been a challenge for us. We have over 110 facilities built by the Federal Government across the country. Because of lack of maintenance over the years and over the decades, more than 85 per cent of them have gone completely bad. Under President Muhammadu Buhari, we have seen the return and rehabilitation of the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja. We have seen that of the National Stadium, Surulere, which was abandoned for 19 years. When you go to the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, formerly Liberty Stadium, Oke Ado, Ibadan, it is almost 45 per cent coming back to the steam. So, maintenance is very important and I am glad that Hon. Adeyemi has already shown me the plan he has. The Metropolitan team led by Arch Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu will also work with them so that they can get Facility Manager. Once it is well managed, it is going to last for a long time.”, the Minister said.

    Glad that the dump site has been turned to a mini stadium, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu reminisced that: “Ode Aremo Dump Site was our number 1 challenge in 2008 when the late Alaafin celebrated his 70th birthday. The stench from the debris and squalor was not only eyesores to the public, but a great nuisance to worshippers at the Oyo Central Mosque located directly opposite the refuse dump of massive dimension and malodorous spread”.

    Prince Adeyemi noted that the inauguration was part of activities marking the post humus 84th birthday of his father who joined his ancestors on April 22, 2022 at the Afe Babalola Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti, having reigned for 52 years.

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