Sports enthusiasts in Abuja on Wednesday reacted to the renaming of the Abuja National Stadium as MKO Abiola Stadium by President Muhammadu Buhari during the Democracy Day celebration at Eagle Square on Wednesday.
They commended the President for honouring MKO Abiola, even as others lamented the present state of the Stadium, the News Agency of Nigeria gathered.
Godwin Bamigboye, the Chairman, FCT Football Coaches Association said the renaming of the National Stadium after MKO Abiola was a welcome development, adding that it was well deserving for a man who contributed immensely to the growth of sports.
“MKO was a man who contributed immensely to the growth and development of sports in the country, so renaming the stadium after him was definitely not out of place.
“We all know that sports, especially football is a unifying instrument and that was what Abiola stood for. He was a peaceful and fun-loving philanthropist who gave his life for the unity of the country,” he said.
Bamigboye however, lamented about the poor state of the stadium, saying that he was hopeful that the renaming of the stadium after Abiola would bring about a change in the outlook of the stadium’s structure and facilities.
“The facilities at the stadium are nothing to write home about as they are dilapidated having been abandoned for a long time.
“The stadium cannot even host Super Eagles matches because of its terrible state. So I think the government of the day must ensure something drastic and urgent is done about it, especially to the turf at the main bowl,” he said.
Emmanuel Babayaro, an ex-international said renaming the Abuja Stadium after Abiola was good, adding however, that renaming the Eagle Square after such a prominent figure like MKO was more symbolic to democracy than the Abuja Stadium.
“I really don’t have an issue with the renaming of the stadium after MKO Abiola but my candid opinion is that he (MKO) deserved so much more than that.
“We are talking of a man who literally gave his life and contributed immensely to the socio-political development, peace and unity of the country,” he said.
Some football fans also reacted on twitter following the renaming of the Abuja National Stadium.
David Abalaka@davidaloka said: “Just heard Buhari named Abuja stadium after MKO Abiola. Is it not the same abandoned stadium where cows are grazing, maybe this will make them give the necessary attention to the once magnificent stadium,” he tweeted.
Damilola Adekeye @Damocleansword said: “Renaming the Abuja Stadium after Abiola is good. Posthumously declaring him President-Elect and letting history reflect that would be much better.”
Audu Yisa@ AY1 said , “Which would have been more appreciated The University of Lagos named after him or the Abandoned Abuja stadium.”
Farouk Ibrahim@FK149 sid: “Nice gesture to rename Abuja National Stadium after #MKOAbiola. But Pls can @MBuhari also make sure the Abuja Stadium is in proper shape. The Stadium cant even host Super Eagles matches because of its terrible state.” he tweeted.