Building of Amusement Park at Awka Stadium: Good Idea, Wrong Place

The Anambra State Government was recently credited with a report about its plan to use a portion of land at Awka Township Stadium for the building of an amusement park. According to the Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Chris Aburime, who confirmed the report in a telephone chat with Fides, the idea of the amusement park is to avail citizens of the state a conducive place where they can go with family and friends for relaxation. Still according to him, the Idea of the park was necessitated by the absence of any such facility in the state that could compare to the best in the country.

The idea of the park, no doubt, is a good one, given that the only considerably big place used for such is privately owned and located far away from town at the place called Agu Awka in Awka and known as Awka Wonderland. The rest are smaller facilities located in such shopping malls as Zara Stores, Everyday Supermarket and Stanel World, among a few others.

Indeed, the need for a big and comfortable amusement park becomes more important, given that the Zoological Garden in Enugu which used to entertain guests from Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi States has since been quite regretfully converted to a high brow residential area which benefits only the rich. This has made it difficult for families to give treats to their children.

However, inasmuch as we welcome the idea of such a park in the capital city of Awka, we make bold to say that the choice of where to build it is not so good.

The Awka Township Stadium was built by the last administration in a large expanse of land with a view to further developing it. As a consequence, sports analysts have called for turning the entire place to a one-stop sporting centre, replete with a stadium, basketball court, practice pitch, lawn tennis court, swimming pool, and even a hotel where visiting teams can lodge when they come to the state for matches or other sporting competitions. The National Stadium in Lagos has such facilities in it and that’s how it should be.

The Awka Township Stadium as of now, still needs to be fully developed. It has just one pavilion which is covered. The other sides are empty. It has no functional score board too, as well as flood lights. The stadium also has no gate, which leaves it open to criminals to steal facilities there.

We feel that government should have taken up the completion of the stadium as a priority, especially as the Nigerian Football Federation has okayed the stadium to host the home games of Enugu Rangers Football Club. Also the stadium has been okayed to host the Nation Wide League matches there. This is apart from many other competitions holding there. Just last year, it hosted the Bayern Youth Tournament.

With such heightened activities going on there, one would have thought that emphasis should have been on further developing the stadium and turning it into a sort of games village, rather than going for the building of an amusement park in its premises.

It is therefore our view that the Anambra State Government should site the proposed amusement park elsewhere so that the stadium will grow to become a one-stop sporting centre.

Again, building pavilions on the other sides of the stadium can generate revenue for the state government as offices can be contained beneath the pavilions. It must not build pavilions with roofs as such new ones can become what’s known as popular side.

We therefore hope that the Anambra State Government will not make the mistake of doing what can be termed tampering with the beautiful stadium.

But if it insists on going ahead with its proposal, government should build the amusement park at the original site of the stadium which is located well behind the new one. That way, there will be no clash of interests.