The word around town is that the Imo State Government wants to relocate some traders from Ekeonunwa Market to Township Stadium at Tetlow Road. This stadium is also called Old Stadium. I appreciate government’s concern towards decongesting Owerri town. It is high time this is done because Ekeonunwa Market is contributing a lot to heavy traffic congestion in Owerri town. In fact, I will even suggest that the entire market be relocated to a yet-to-be occupied part of Owerri Metropolis. This will help in decongesting Owerri. Look at how the area that housed the Old Timber market at the end of Wetheral Road is today. The place is now free from traffic congestion. This was because the market was moved to Naze. Because of this, that part of Naze the market was relocated to is fast developing. That is what we need to do to Ekeonunwa. But before then, government should finish building the new market before relocating traders to that place.
However, with due respect to Owere Nch-Ise people, it is my humble view that relocating traders from Ekeonunwa to Township Stadium is not the best. My reasons are: Owerri needs an alternative stadium like the Township Stadium where sports men and women can go for training and competitions when Dan Anyiam Stadium is occupied. With the stadium, the state can comfortably host major national and international sports fiestas and football competitions. And moreover, the two stadia are close to each other which is a very big advantage as movement to the two stadia will be convenient.
Also, apart from the Dan Anyiam Stadium there is no other training football pitch for high grade clubs. Therefore, I had expected the government to rehabilitate the Township Stadium and make it also a pride of place like the Hero Square along Concorde Boulevard New Owerri. One day, our state may be bidding to host international football tournaments like and one of the criteria to host such competitions is availability of good training pitches. Furthermore, every community has a place or places it hosts community sports competitions.
Owerri indigenes host their inter-village football competitions and other sports festivals in the Township Stadium and with the present nature of the Township School playing ground opposite Dan Anyiam Stadium, Ndiowere may find it difficult to cope if the Township Stadium is no more. Another reason why the stadium should stay is that many a times, Heartland Football Feeder team and other football teams in the state use the stadium both for training and matches. Also many inhabitants of the state are not allowed to use the Dan Anyiam for keep-fit exercises. In the alternative, they go to Township Stadium to exercise themselves. Finally, Township stadium is monumental like Stamford Bridge in England. This is the place that our great Spartans Football Club played many high profile and historical matches. This club produced many great players in the world that are today revered. At least for its honorarium sake, the stadium also needs to be preserved and rehabilitated.
Therefore, it is the view of many that the state government should consult and review properly this policy and should rescind it if need be.
By Emperor Iwuala
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