Ex-Eagles star, sports fans hail Buhari for renaming national stadium

APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

Former Super Eagles midfielder Mutiu Adepoju and sports enthusiasts have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for renaming the Abuja National Stadium after Moshood Abiola.

President Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja announced the change of name of the National Stadium, Abuja to Moshood Abiola National Stadium during his inaugural Democracy Day celebration speech at the Eagle Square.

Adepoju recalled how MKO Abiola, as he was fondly called, supported football in Nigeria, the Super Eagles and all other sports in general.

He said no honour was too much for Abiola, who was referred to as the Pillar of Sports in Africa.

“I think it is a good development because Abiola, while he was alive, did a lot for Sports in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“I recall how in Saudi 89 (FIFA U-20 World Cup), despite our loss in the final, Chief Abiola encouraged us and rewarded us with things I cannot forget,” he said.

Adepoju called on other philanthropists and corporate organisations to keep supporting sports as government could not do it alone.

Some football enthusiasts also reacted to the renaming of the Abuja National Stadium.

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.

Emmanuel Amakiri, the Proprietor of Amakson Football Academy, said, “President Buhari renamed a dilapidated, abandoned and non-functional Abuja Stadium after MKO Abiola and people are happy.

Emmanuel Babayaro, a former international footballer, 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.


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