History is one thing we can’t run away from; some historical features should be embraced especially for the younger generations. The popular community stadium in Ibadan, Oyo state called the ‘Olubadan Stadium’ has been in existence way before Nigeria got her independence. In fact, it is 63 years of age.
Getting to know the history of this iconic stadium which hosted the very first well-structured league in Nigeria was a thing of beauty. The current Chairman Ibadan Football Association (IFA), Barrrister Tajudeen Olurotimi Alli gave a proper insight on how Olubadan stadium started, how it was Ibadanalized and became an Ibadan inheritance.
Hosted by Raymond Tolulope popularly known as The Sports Illuminator on the grassroots flagship sports program tagged SPORTS DRILL on Pensioner’s 106.7FM, Ibadan, Tajudeen who graduated at the University of Ibadan delved into the rich history of the stadium that has given a lot to grassroots football development in Oyo state since its existence since the year 1957.
“Olubadan stadium is a product of the first indigenous football association in Nigeria known as Ibadan Indigenous Amateur Football Association (IDAFA). The association was founded not only by Ibadan natives. We have a lot of some colonial masters, we have the Ijeshas, Igbos, Lagosians, Egbas, people from all over, Ibadan was the central of things then been the capital of the Western region.
“They came together. A notable Ibadan indigene was part of the founding member Late Olubadan Emmanuel Adeyemo. They use to play just normal amateur at the place you have Olubadan now without any strong construction but as times goes on, they got Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was then the Premier of the Western region in 1957 to be like a patron to them and through that relationship, the then Western Region granted the location where Olubadan is to the association.
“It was given to the football enthusiast and followers and through selfless service of the members such as late Ogunsola who was then the secretary of IDAFA, Busari Alarepe, Chief Lekan Salami, these were even the younger members then. Through various contributions such as money, materials, they were able to put up the stadium complex, the actual pitch, the way it is and that was in 1957.
“Afterwards they started a really well-structured league in what I will call a zonal or native league, they invite teams from Port Harcourt, Lagos and other parts of Nigeria to come and play football. From 1957, the Ibadan Football Association (IFA) League started. It was that Ibadan Indigenous Amateur Football Association (IDAFA) that metamorphosed into Ibadan Football Association (IFA).
“It is not that it was an Ibadan agenda, several past chairmen were not even from Ibadan but at the end of the day, some of them went back home and the remaining active members were the Ibadan natives, the onus fell on them to keep the flying and that has been and of course they had Chief Lekan Salami, Baba Akinade, late Busari Alarepe and of course in recent times Alhaji Banji Akintayo who came in, Dr Salami came in briefly before it came to this my own young man generation.
“Because the stadium is located in Ibadan, we have taken it as part of our heritage, we have Ibadanalized it because that is the only way the place can be preserved. The onus is on us the recipient of the goodwill to keep the flag flying and making sure we sustain the heritage known as Olubadan stadium.”
The rich history of this stadium cannot be overemphasized. It is made just for footballing purpose alone. It is the home of the best of grassroots football in Nigeria.