The Oyo State Government has denied barring the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, from attending the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, saying the crowd at the premises prevented the monarchs from gaining access into the facility.
It said that the huge enthusiastic crowd that swarmed on the stadium premises prevented movements of the monarchs’ convoys to the designated VVIP Drop Off zone, which was the easiest channel to their reserved seats.
The state government, on Thursday, said that the two foremost royal fathers were too important to the state government programme and policies to be prevented from attending an event that was designed to bring development to the entire state.
According to the government, the two monarchs were duly invited to the programme yesterday and their seats were already reserved at the VVIP section of the stadium.
It stressed that their presence were valued, noting it is unthinkable that some individuals would try to create a wedge between the palaces of the respective monarchs and the state government, which holds them in high esteem.
“What happened was that security operatives advised that the drivers of the revered monarchs make their way through another gate, since their convoys were unable to access the VVIP Drop Off Zone from the gate they entered through.
“From the VVIP Drop Off Zone, it would be easy for the monarchs to access the VVIP box without meandering through the stairs, as that would have unduly stressed them given their age”, the government added.
Through a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Taiwo Adisa, it noted that all other monarchs who were inside the VVIP box including the Olugbon of Ile Igbon, Aseyin of Iseyin, the Okere of Saki, the Olu of Igboora were well recognized,
“This was an indication that the government places huge premium of respect on the stools of our forebears as occupied by the Kabiyesis.
“His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde wishes to categorically state that the Alaafin and the Olubadan were well-expected at the event and that their seats were reserved”, the statement added.
The governor’s media aide equally described attempts to rubbish the stadium project by some opposition elements as misguided, stating that the claim that only the stadium cost N5 billion was untrue and mischievous.
He maintained that the amount being touted was for the cost of fixing the entire sports complex, which is in phases and that it was not for the main bowl alone.
“Some critics have attempted to blow the cost of fixing the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba out of proportion, especially in view of the water that logged on sections of the pitch due to heavy rain.
“Let it be placed on record that the main bowl of the stadium was only the first phase of the entire project which comes in phases. There is the main bowl, the gymnasium and indoor sports hall for a variety of sporting activities, a world class Tennis court as well as the luxury apartments which will be given out on annual subscription.
“Besides, the pitch as seen on Wednesday is work in progress, because the contractor has not handed over the project to the state government. The contractor had explained that the pitch needed three more months to fully solidify so that the automatic drainage system would become fully functional.
“But the unveiling had to be done to ensure that our darling Shooting Stars Sports Club returns to Ibadan, having been forced to play their matches outside the state for so long owing to absence of a good pitch in Ibadan.
“The contractor has given his assurance to address the challenges of the pitch and by the time the works are completed, Oyo State would definitely have the value for its money, which has always been the priority and intention of Governor Makinde.”