Keshi Inherits “Polemic” Asaba Township Stadium
Gov. Uduaghan and Keshi
Gov. Uduaghan and Keshi

Delta State Government has rewarded the team coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, with the re-naming of Asaba Township Stadium, which is still under construction, after him.

The perceived controversy stems from the delayed completion of construction work in the stadium, leading to revocation of the contract by the state government as well as the call for its re-location from its present location, due to lack of space.

Governor Uduaghan, on Thursday, February 14, 2012 disclosed that the ongoing contract for the reconstruction of the Asaba stadium has been revoked and that the state will complete the job in six months time to enable it be put to good use to host local and international matches.

In his remarks, Keshi commended Dr Uduaghan for his kind gesture in rewarding the team and renaming the Asaba Township Stadium after him. “I have really lost words to describe all these. I thank God for making me a Nigerian from Delta State. What can I do and how do I say thank you? The best way to thank you is to pray for you every day of my life.”

But recall that the News Agency of Nigeria reports in August 2012, quoted the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah as saying that the Asaba stadium is wrongly located and called on the Asaba community to provide the government with an alternative land for the construction of a stadium befitting the state capital.

According to the report, Ogeah hinged the need for the relocation as the stadium presently located on the busy Nnnebisi Road in the city centre had affected its development as it lacked sufficient space to accommodate necessary facilities and for expansion.

“The fundamental problem with the stadium project is that it was built in the wrong place. If you ask me, we can convert what we have there now into an indoor facility. I suggest that the people of Asaba should look elsewhere for land for the government to build a new and befitting stadium.”


Meanwhile, earlier before the revocation of the contract, the Chairman of Visioni Stabiloni, the contracting firm handling the construction of the Sapele and Asaba Township Stadium, Justice Wale Babalakin who had assured Deltans that he will complete the construction of the stadia by April and July 2012 respectively could not fulfill his promises.

Indoor Sports Hall of Asaba Township Stadium
Indoor Sports Hall

Justice Babalakin made the pledge when he was summoned before the State House of Assembly to explain why the job was delayed when Delta State has virtually completed the payment for the two stadia, just as the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Hon. Daniel Mayuku had warned the contracting firm to live up to expectation or face their wrath.

Babalakin had appealed to the Legislature to help get the balance payment , adding that “We want to assure you that we will complete the two jobs by April and July 2012 as we have resolved what has been holding us back. We know the importance of the projects and also know how important they are to Deltans, so be rest assured that we will do that.”

Gov. Uduaghan and Jay Jay Okocha
Flashback: Gov. Uduaghan and Jay Jay Okocha

It could also be recalled that the Ogwashi-Uku Stadium in Aniocha South Local Government of Delta state was in June 2008 renamed Jay Jay Okocha stadium by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and the stadium with a capacity of 8,000 people has hosted matches for the 2008 WAFU U-20 Championship won by Ghana.

The Jay Jay Okocha Stadium, named after the former Super Eagles captain is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of Delta Force F.C.

In naming the Ogwashi-Uku stadium after Okocha, the Governor had said: “I want to say that as from today, the Ogwashi-Uku stadium becomes the Jay Jay Okocha Stadium. The state government we will improve the facilities that are currently there so that you can even attract your friends around the world to come and see the stadium and to come and play with you.”

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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