To be able to participate in the concession to re-invent the dilapidated National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos state will have to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and join others to bid in the concession which fresh attempt has started amidst doubt of a successful completion.
The SPV by Lagos state is one of the outcome of the 11th October All Stakeholders’ meeting called by the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare and involving the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the two federal agencies with frosty relationship.
Lagos state has, since the tenure of the former governor Akinwunmi Ambode signified interest in the 58 years once famous stadium but now abandoned owing to its ruin and disrepair state. It was part of the discussions during the last visit of President Muhammadu Buhari at the twilight of Ambode’s administration.
The officials of the state were told at the meeting that the government would not allow a single bid but a competitive bidding to get the best for the stadium which is one of the top priorities in the sport sector.
The fresh doubts however, is whether the two dissenting federal agencies that have been locked in supremacy battle could work together to pull out the national edifice out of its present state of disrepair.
BPE was invited into the transaction after the seeming failure of the ICRC which had battled for about five years to get the transaction off the ground.
Sources at the ICRC expressed fear that the BPE could hijack the transaction owing to its long years of experience in concessioning. This fear, had allegedly been conveyed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha whom the commission reports to.
Ministry officials confided in InsideBusiness that the minister who wanted a reinvention of the 55,000 capacity National Stadium is not happy with the alleged failure of the ICRC on the concession of the complex in the past five years.
It would be recalled that a gang-up by three powerful ministers against Julius Bala, the successor to Nasir El-Rufai at the BPE during the tenure of former president Olusegun Obasanjo led to the creation of the ICRC with huge powers especially on concession. The aim was to whittle down the growing influence of the BPE which lost some of its powers to the commission, and also to ensure the failure of Bala who was appointed against El-Rufai’s wish.
That action is currently creating distortion in the system as the Commission seems overwhelmed with the powers conferred on it.
Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai on his exit from the BPE following his appointment as the FCT Minister in 2003, had nominated Tijani Abdullahi as his successor. Former president Obasanjo in disagreement with the choice of Abdullahi, on July 21, 2003 appointed Julius Bala, a Plateau state origin and a director at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to head the privatisation agency which had at the time of El-Rufai, been mired in controversies like the messy fight with former aviation minister, Kema Chikwe on the privatisation of the National Airways.
Tijani Abdullahi, the husband to the sister of El-Rufai’s second wife, was later moved to head the Abuja Investments Ltd, an agency
under the FCT ministry during El-Rufai’s tenure as the minister.
Abdulahi, who enjoys El-Rufai’s support was, in the early stage of the President Muhammdu Buhari’s first tenure, moved to the Budget Office of the Federation (BoF) as its Director-General. That period was the era of abysmal performance in the preparation of the Nigerian national budget and leading to the swap with Ben Akabueze, who was then the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Budget. The appointment of Akabueze who had garnered experience handling Lagos state budgetting processes was to give BoF a new direction.
BADEJO ADEMUYIWA has 23 years experience as a Finance Writer, specialising in Insurance and Investigative Reporting.