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Parkland golf course was built through community effort –MB Bello

Arc. M.B Bello is the Grand Patron of Parkland Golf Resort Club, one of the three existing golf clubs in Abuja. In this interview with…

Arc. M.B Bello is the Grand Patron of Parkland Golf Resort Club, one of the three existing golf clubs in Abuja. In this interview with Daily Trust Golf Digest, Bello explains how the private golf club was built and the efforts to develop the sport in Nigeria. Orkula Shaagee reports.
The man at the head of the emergence of the second golf course in Nigeria’s federal capital city of Abuja, Arc Muftahu B. Bello says community effort and support from construction firms made it possible for the establishment of the sprawling golf course.
He also revealed that passion and necessity informed what is today Parkland Golf Resort Club.
According to Bello “it was early 2000 when I saw 10 hectares of land being used as a refuse dump, and then approached the FCDA for allocation. At that time, the FCDA was giving out green areas for use and it was a good opportunity for me to discuss it, and was given the offer to manage the place then.
Most of those who were given green areas misused them but in our own case it is a different story.
“Parkland Golf Resort Club is an 18 hole part three mini club built on 2.5 hectres and commissioned in March 2014, unlike IBB Golf and Country Club which is built on 110 hectres of land. Before it was commissioned, trial games were played at Parkland.
“The club has its membership like any other golf club. We also have corporate members and Daily Trust is one of our corporate members, and it is still counting. The Club house is exquisitely designed for the relaxation, social and corporate networking of members, flexible enough to host major events and functions,” he said.
According to him, while some parts were built through direct labour, construction companies and voluntary donors provided the equipments for further construction of the course.
“Let me give you an example, If you look on the screen there (pointing to the screen), that equipment was donated by a construction company because we told them we are in the process of building a golf course and we need them to give us equipment, and they said yes, we can give you up to one week, do you have an operator, and we said yes we have an operator. So they sent us equipment for one week and we got an operator that we paid him for one week attendance and we returned the equipment back to them.
“They did not ask for money and we see that as a corporate social responsibility and adding value to the place,” Bello continued.
He also said some sponsors give cash to facilitate the purchase of materials and equipments for the running of the club and maintenance of the course.
“One of the sponsors here is a private sponsor, Alhaji Waziri and others who would sponsor one hole so that you can have money to buy fertilizer. So, if we put down the aggregate money together, we will be able to establish what it has cost, but we are yet to do that.
“So, that is why from the beginning I said it is a community effort beca7se people have offered services, equipments, cooperation and many other things. Then somewhere in between, we started getting members, members registered and that formed part of how we were able to pay some bills and continue with the operation of the golf club.
“So, this golf club can be said to have been built on force principles because it is not a golf course that you can sit down and say here is the design, here is the cost and here is the contractor. There was a time we approached Julius Berger that we want to build a golf course, and they said if you have 15 million dollars ($15m) then we can talk. The Smoking Hills was built for $15+ million and it is maintained at $1 million every year,” he said.
He also spoke on the efforts being made by the club to popularize the sport and also raise professional golfers for the country in the coming years.
“We have a Parkland Academy for junior golfers and we don’t want to limit the number of kids. First of all you want to bring a group of ten kids together, they are trained together and tournaments are organised for them.
“Recently, we had a meeting with West African Golf Tour and they are going to work with Super Sports in focusing of golf tournaments and kitties throughout West Africa, and one of the things they will be doing is to mobilize the pros and talk to the schools.
“They are going into schools to add golfing into the curricular and they are not charging the schools, neither are they charging the kids. They are only doing sensitization tonic, and the Chief Executive was here and said they have reached out to eleven schools.
“In one of the schools, they decided to choose about 40 kids but the principal insisted that all the 200 must be trained to play golf,” he added.

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