Waterlogged Hillsborough pitch maliciously shared as newly renovated Lekan Salami Stadium
Written by crest887fm on September 11, 2021
By Funmilola Afolabi
Claim: A number of social media users on Facebook and WhatsApp have been sharing pictures of a water-drenched stadium and labelling it the remodelled Lekan Salami Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan.
Verdict: The heavily-flooded stadium being shared on social media is not that of the remodelled “Lekan Salami “Adamasingba stadium in Ibadan but Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium in England.
A social media user, Anthony James Eziashi on Friday, September 3, in a post on Facebook shared a picture of a heavily flooded stadium and tagged it the “Adamasingba Stadium.”
Referring to the newly remodelled Lekan Salami Stadium at the Adamasingba area Ibadan in Oyo state, Eziashi wondered how a stadium “remodelled with a staggering “5.5 billion naira” would be embarrassingly waterlogged.
“This is the 5.5 billion naira Adamasingba stadium commissioned yesterday. If the rain did not fall yesterday the story would have been different. Asiri tu (it’s exposed). I often wonder how some people are able to sleep at night,” he said in a post that already generated 24 comments and 70 shares.
Eziashi, was not the only one to post the image of the flooded pitch. On WhatsApp, a user also shared some pictures depicting the terrible state of a pitch he claimed was constructed and remodelled with “N5.5 billion naira.”
“A newly refurbished stadium that cost #5.5bn opened with aplomb, yet no drainage, even with the governor (referring to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state) being an engineer.
Lekan Salam Adamasingba Stadium and the ruse
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Wednesday, September 1, commissioned the remodelled Lekan Salami stadium, Adamasigba in Ibadan at a fun-filled event that was highlighted by novelty matches and other side attractions.
The stadium, which is the home stadium of Shooting Stars FC, Karamone F.C. and other local teams located in Ibadan, is a multipurpose complex built on 130,000 square meters of land.
It was first reopened on May 28 1988 by the late former military vice president of Nigeria, Admiral Augustus Aikhoumu, with all credits going to the administration of General David Jemibewon (retired) who converted it to a sports complex from the initial Ibadan racecourse pitch.
In 1998, the 10,000 capacity stadium was named Lekan Salami Stadium in honour of Chief Lekan Salami, an astute businessman, socialite and football administrator, by the then Oyo State military governor, Hammed Usman.
For the past 30 years that the Lekan Salami Sports Complex has been in existence, there has been no massive turn-around or refurbishment.
It was, however, the government of Governor Makinde through the state’s ministry of youth and sports headed by 28-year-old commissioner (now ex-) Seun Fakorede, that remodelled the sports complex with a staggering amount that is said to be over N5 billion, according to the governor’s chief press secretary, Taiwo Adisa.
According to a press release on the official website of the Oyo state government, the remodelling of the stadium “is part of the efforts of Governor Seyi Makinde to make Oyo State a tourists’ destination.”
“This sport tourism project is one of other areas of tourism locations in eco-tourism, natural tourism and food tourism that are well noted around the world, this stadium is situated within the heart of the capital of the State and can be easily located,” special adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on culture and tourism, Hon. Ademola Ige, said in August 2021.
The reopening of the stadium in September was greeted with mixed reactions as the newly refurbished pitch was waterlogged during Shooting Stars’ friendly match against Slovenian club, NK Tabor Sezana which ended 4-0 in favour of the home side.
Since then a number of social media have been bashing the government of the Oyo state, though most of the comments and criticism carried political/partisan undertones.
- Are the pictures shared on social media Lekan Salami stadium?
Having established the claim, a Yandex Reverse Image search of the images was launched which showed that the images are not that of the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan but of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium.
Further findings show that the incident happened during a heavy rainfall in June, 2007. The River Don burst its banks during the 2007 Sheffield floods and as a result, Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium pitch was heavily submerged and left its surrounding area without electricity and working telephone lines.
Many facilities were affected by the Hillsborough Stadium flood. Areas affected include; changing rooms, offices and the Owls Megastore.
- Was the stadium remodelled with 5.5bn?
This claim is partially true, though with contention. According to the chief press secretary to Governor Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, in a statement on Friday, September 3, the amount (N5.5bn) being posted on social media was for the cost of fixing the entire sports complex, which he said is in phases.
Adisa, who was responding to “some critics” who have “attempted to blow the cost” said there is still “work in progress on the stadium because the contractor has not handed over the project to the state government.”
“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 luxury apartments which will be given out on an annual subscription,” Adisa said.
The image depicted to be that of Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan as submerged during its reopening event is false, as the stadium in the pictures is actually that of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium during the Sheffield flood of 2007.