The sports ministry is optimistic that the recent Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive to banks to freeze the account of Premier Lotto won’t affect the renovation of the main bowl of the dilapidated National Stadium, Lagos.
Owner of Premier Lotto, popularly known as Baba Ijebu, Chief Kessington Adebutu, last December, pledged to renovate the stadium’s main bowl following the highly-successful Adopt-A-Pitch initiative of the sports minister, Sunday Dare.
The initiative is meant to engage top businessmen and firms in the private sector to adopt a stadium for repairs across the country.
Last week, billionaire businessmen Alike Dangote began the renovation of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja pitch, while illegal structures at the Lagos stadium were demolished as Dare began the revival of both sports arenas through the initiative.
However, in a statement dated September 4, Bello Hassan, CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, asked banks to place the account of Premier Lotto and 37 other companies on a Post-No-Debit order, heightening fears that it could force Adebutu to halt the renovation of the Lagos stadium.
The latest development could also stall reported talks between the FG and Adebutu for the stadium’s concession to the billionaire businessman.
But a top sports ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The PUNCH that Adebutu would “enjoy better consideration” if he applied for the concession of the stadium from the Federal Government.
“Baba Ijebu (Adebutu) has only so far keyed into our Adoption Initiative in the aspect of Adopt-A-Pitch. Hence his decision to fix the main bowl in surulere: football pitch, irrigation systems, score board and the tracks. Same thing Dangote Group is doing in Abuja.
That’s the first track and that’s what is happening now,” our source said.
“The second track is the Federal Government’s concession programme. The RFQ (Request For Quotation) was published last week. Baba Ijebu, if interested would have to apply and respond to the RFQ. His application will be considered and might enjoy better consideration in view of the fact that he might have invested N450m upfront.