The Delta State Government, under the leadership of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, has earmarked a staggering N4,000,000,000 for the development of the Warri Stadium, raising eyebrows and questions about the exorbitant increase from last year’s allocation for the same project.
This development is contained in the 2024 appropriation bill, which is the Sheriff’s first full-fledged budget since he picked the oil-rich State leadership baton.
Meanwhile, a check on the 2023 budget under the leadership of former governor Ifeanyi Okowa revealed that the state government spent a humongous six hundred and twenty million (N620,000,000) on the same project.
The Warri Stadium, a once-prominent sports facility, has been in a state of disrepair for years, and its revitalization has been a subject of much debate. However, the sudden spike in the budget, as against last year’s own, raises eyebrows, especially since the government did not give details for budgeting such an astronomical amount.
Recall that last year, the government justified a budget of N620,000,000 for the Warri Stadium project, citing the need for comprehensive renovations and upgrades to bring the facility up to international standards.
The budget failed to give a detailed breakdown and justifications for the increased budget, raising suspicions of possible mismanagement, corruption, or lack of due diligence in the planning and execution of the Warri Stadium project.
In addition to the exorbitant budget for the stadium’s development, the Delta State Government has allocated N120,000,000 for the maintenance of the Warri Stadium. This represents a significant increase from last year’s N20,000,000 budget for the same purpose.
The allocation of billions for the Warri Stadium project is coming at a time when the State is facing pressing issues in education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
It could be recalled that in 2022, the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives traded words over the state of the Warri Stadium as the latter accused the former of abandoning the stadium.
The APC slammed the then Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s led government for overseeing the decay and abandonment of the ever-popular Warri Township Stadium. In a statement signed by the then State APC Director Of Publicity, Dr. Omene Odafe Wilson, the party said “It is instructive that in furtherance of his clannish and family-centric approach to governance, Governor Okowa had foisted his younger brother, Mr. Tony Okowa, on Delta State to preside over the entire sports infrastructure of the state, even though the young man has neither passion for nor, expertise in sports and, had hitherto never been known as someone who excelled in sports administration, anywhere or at any time.”
Reacting to Wilson’s statement, the Special Assistant on Media to the former governor, Ossai Ovie Success, described the APC in Delta State as an uninformed Party. Ossai, who disclosed this on his Facebook page, noted that the statement signed by the State APC Director of Publicity, Dr. Omene Odafe Wilson, about Governor Okowa abandoning Warri township stadium is laughable.
It could be recalled that in February 2022, Pastor Korede Komaiya-led The Master’s Place International Church, Effurun-Warri, carried out total maintenance work at the Warri City Stadium. Disturbed by the squalid state of the stadium, which has been in disuse with roofs falling, filth everywhere, overgrown weeds, unserviced air conditioners and generating plants, faded paint, and the like, the Church decided to renovate the sports facility.