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Surulere - The house we built
By Suya

I remember seeing it for the first time just as if it was yesterday. Like a gargantuan sized Patti Labelle hat in concrete color it blocked out the horizon with its omnipotent presence as my bus slid by reducing me, just as it had probably done to every man or beast that previously came within her sight, to a puddle of silent awe. Then and there I would fall in love and become ensnared in a life long love affair with the National Stadium at Surulere. Though long anticipated by Africa's largest and till then most restless population (just recently reunited after the vicious Biafra war) it is almost ironical that the actual breaking of ground for the project would be galvanized into action by another "almost war" in Bamako that indirectly propelled Nigeria into the position of defacto host of the 2nd All African Games.

At first the dust, congestion, persistent belch of assorted diesel engines and the woodpecker symphony of jack hammers must have been almost unbearable in an already bottle necked part of Lagos, as the combination of German Engineers and the stew of West African manual laborers attacked their assignment with ruthless efficiency. For 2 years they panted and toiled like soldier ants in collective effort under the equatorial sun and slowly and steadily out of the first indistinguishable mish mash of steel and Nkalagu cement rose the grandiose structure that would become the main bowl and supporting structures - collectively know as the National Sports Complex. Africa and the who's who of international dignitaries that included Jesse Owens, Pele, Muhammed Ali and Abebe Bikila must have gasped in collective appreciation and thanks when in 1973 the games finally commenced among tight security as a result of the disaster in Munich just 4 months prior.

Complete Article at Golden Classics 1 Forum