Nigeria has long been a sports-loving nation, and the nation also consistently births a large number of bright sports stars, ranging from football to athletics to table tennis and other sports. The enormous amount of effort, time, and planning that went into making the Godswill Akpabio Stadium become a reality is in furtherance of generating more sports stars for the country.
So, why is the Godswill Akpabio Stadium regarded as the “uncommon stadium” of Africa?
What is Godswill Akpabio Stadium?
The Godswill Akpabio International Stadium is a multi-sport facility situated in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State. Asides from the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, the Uyo-based is the country’s most modernised and well-equipped sports arena in recent years.
The construction of this landmark facility began in 2012 and was finished in 2014. It was initially named the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, but it was renamed Godswill Akpabio Stadium by Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel shortly after his inauguration ceremony on May 29, 2015, in honour of Godswill Obot Akpabio, the previous governor of the state under whose administration the facility was constructed.
At the time of its commissioning, the then Governor Akpabio named it “the uncommon stadium”. The stadium can be adjudged to truly be a peculiar and striking facility as its architectural outlook mirrors that of the Allianz Arena, the home stadium of Bayern Munich in Germany, Not many existing or new stadia across Africa can be said to be aesthetically pleasing and structurally solid like the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.
The stadium is the home ground of Akwa United FC, the state’s professional men’s club team. It also once served as the home venue of the Super Eagles, the senior men’s national football team of Nigeria.
Godswill Akpabio Stadium’s capacity
The ultra-modern all-seater sports complex was designed and constructed by Julius Berger. The stadium was built on 48 hectares of land and has a seating capacity of 30,000. It also houses a ton of other features, including a box office, media tribune, two scoreboards with electronic scoreboards and video replay equipment, floodlights, an eight-lane 400m standard track, a warm-up facility with a six-lane 400m track, a standby power supply system, 30 emergency escape points, a helipad, two dressing rooms, and an ambulance bay.
The stadium also serves as a location for large-scale local and international sporting competitions, as well as other events and festivities. It hosted the 2022 CAF Confederation Cup Final between Orlando Pirates of South Africa and RS Berkane of Morocco, a game which was won by the latter via penalties.
Cost of Godswill Akpabio Stadium
The Godswill Akpabio Stadium cost an estimated $96 million (N43.1 billion). The amount spent drew significant criticism from certain Nigerians and was a topic of discussion at first, especially as the funds were drawn from the coffers of the Akwa Ibom State government.
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Although complaints are still made over the cost to date, the stadium has been acknowledged by some critics to be a big economic earner for the state, especially as it has hosted big sporting events which have brought a large number of local and international spectators.
The Godswill Akpabio stadium is located on Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Boulevard in Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom, a state in South-South Nigeria. Uyo is located on the road connecting Oron and Ikot Ekpene. A commercial city known for the production of palm oil and kernels, it is also a local trade centre for farm produce, and it is primarily inhabited by the Ibibio people. There are a brewery and a textile mill in town and it is also the home to the University of Uyo.