The Management of the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club owned by the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has clarified the issues surrounding the eviction of the Kwara State Stadium complex by the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led government.
In a statement earlier today, the club managers said the eviction was not as a result of owing any rent as claimed in a statement by the government. The statement by the ABS football club also detailed what transpired between the club and the sports council acting on behalf of the State government.
The detailed statement reads:
The management of Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) Ilorin FC wish to clear the air on the eviction of the club from the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin.
The ABS FC Secretariat was formerly a non-permanent structure site office/store temporarily put in place by the Engineering firm that upgraded the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin.
Upon completion of the stadium upgrade and evacuation of materials from the office by the firm, the management of ABS FC applied to the Kwara State Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, through the Sports Council for the use of the facility as office accommodation cum store and the request was graciously granted.
We wish to correct the impression that we were evicted because of our refusal to pay rent for our office facility as we had no prior discussions or any requests by KWIRS to pay for the facility.
Our dealings with the KWIRS had been on the areas of tax payments, payment for the use of the stadium fields for our matches, in which we have continued to maintain our obligations.
Only recently, the management of the Kwara State Sports Council, through the Stadium Manager, Mr Wale Obalola at an informal meeting hinted us on directives to recover the facility from ABS FC, and also discussed agreements on payment for the office.
Some days after the meeting, the State Sports Council wrote to the club asking us to sign an agreement for a yearly rent payment of N180,000.00, to be paid in two installments, subject to further negotiations
We sent a reply to the Sports Council, requesting to pay the sum of N150,000.00 in three installments, payable quarterly, and demanded for the Bank Account to make payment to, for the first installment.
Few weeks after, it became clear to us that there were other unseen forces, teleguided unsportsmanly utterances/reactions and political undertones bent on seeing ABS Ilorin FC out of the office, including stringent conditions that the letter of payment agreement dated 24th May 2021 was to take effect backward from January, 2021.
We sorted for calm and reminded them that issues of sports and youths development of which the club stood for should not be joined with conventional politics of any kind.
Almost immediately, we received a notice titled “Request To Vacate Facility” signed by the Council’s Secretary, A.J Adebisi which read …
“The management of Kwara State Sports Council wish to inform you/your club that the Bill for the establishment of Kwara State Sports Commission has been passed into law and presently awaiting assent by the Executive Governor, Malam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
“The Council has been requested to make available comfortable office accommodation for the incoming Board Chairman and members to start work as soon as possible.
“In view of the foregoing, the Council wish to appeal to you/your club that the Council will need to make use of the facility in your club’s possession to accommodate the incoming Commission Chairman and members” the notice read in part’.
From the above scenario, it is evidently clear that muddling negotiations for payment and notice to vacate the facility for use by the sports commission depicts a clear case of contraction which confirmed our fears of unseen forces and unsportmanship political undertones.
Meanwhile, we had requested the Council to give us some time to look for alternative office accommodation and to allow the club complete the ongoing Nigeria National League (NNL) season which has only 4 matches to go.
Fumilayo Owolabi (Mrs)