The desire to groom local talents to stardom has been stated as the drive behind constructing the newly opened Uyo stadium. Akwa Ibom International Stadium was built with the aspiration of producing top stars of international standard in sports, Governor Godswill Akpabio has said.
At the commissioning ceremony of the ultra-modern 30,000 capacity seater Stadium, Akpabio said constructing the gigantic sporting edifice was an opportunity to compete and make great gains from the business of sports.
“The global sports industry is worth more than $145.3 billion and we want to share from that money. Floyd Mayweather has earned more than $100 million dollars in less than 72 minutes of boxing this year,” Akpabio said.
“Cristiano Ronaldo earns more than $80 million yearly from endorsement alone. Serena Williams earns more than $10 million yearly from tennis and she is able to do that because she was exposed to the infrastructure early in life.
“That is why we built this so that our people will be exposed to world class facilities early in life,” he said.
“Well, the driving force behind it all is love. I love my people and of course, if you love humanity, you will want to give them the best,” he said on why he built the stadium.
“I wanted to prove something to future generations and I hope that Nigerians after me, aspiring for leadership will feel the need to learn the little I have experienced here,” he noted.
He also explained the choice of Julius Berger as the construction company. “The Stadium was constructed by Julius Berger, and you know that they are very good, they’ve been around for over 35 years in Nigeria. And it is a foreign company that has cut a niche for itself in the construction industry in this country.
“So, I have signed a 10-year contract maintenance with them because I don’t want this to ever go down. Like I show the Former President of Ghana, for me I’m very humbled to have had the opportunity to present this to Africa.
“And I believe that from here, Africa will produce a lot of champions. We will never again, should we go for Olympics and come back without gold medal, never again. That is why I’ve presented this to Africa,” he concluded.