The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, has denied the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and president Muhammadu Buhari, access to the Godswill Akapbio International Stadium for the President’s proposed visit and the party’s campaign in the state.
This appears to be a payback to the APC for the denial of a PDP strong man, Rabiu Kwankwaso, from using the Eagles Square, Abuja in his declaration bid before the party’s convention and primary election in Port Harcourt.
The former Kano state governor was denied the facilities on August 20 after it was initially approved. There were indications that the denial was a political move by the ruling party, APC, to destabilize the opposition PDP.
Though, a letter signed by Usman Raji, the facility manager of the Abuja International Conference Centre & Eagles Square disclosed that the decision of denying Kwankwaso the venue was to avoid disruption of “work flow” at the Federal Secretariat.
Similarly, the Akwa Ibom governor, a PDP state has denied Buhari and the APC access to the main Stadium, approving the use of the Uyo Township stadium for the Presidential campaign which is slated to start on Friday, December 28.
A statement via the state Commissioner of Youths and Sports Development, Monday Uko, said the refusal became necessary in view of the Nigeria Premier football league season kicking off by January 13, 2018, claiming that the Julius Berger firm handling the maintenance of the stadium had closed for the years and that it would be impossible to re-grass the stadium for the pre-fixed matches.
“The government of Akwa Ibom state had received with gladness the notice of the proposed visit of the His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammed Buhari, on December 28 to our dear state.
“Consequent to this proposed visit the Ministry of Youths and Sport is in receipt of the letter of the application dated 19th 2018 requesting for the use of Godswill Akpabio International stadium as the venue for the reception of the ceremony.
“Whereas we have sent a letter dated 20th 2018 in response to the application addressed to Hon. Ini Okopido, the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Akwa Ibom State, we are obliged, in the light of the unfortunate attempts by political actors and commentators to pit Akwa Ibom State against the President Buhari and the presidency.
“May we inform Akwa Ibom people and the entire public as the reason for our inability to approve the use of the requested venue.
“As stated in our report our inability is hinged on two grounds, the next season of the Nigeria Premier Football league is scheduled to begin on January, 13th 2018. In view of this and the fixtures of the of home matches for Akwa United, it will be practically impossible to re-grass,” the statement partly reads.
It, however, stated that the alternative venue is in perfect condition for the event.
In his reaction to the decision of the PDP, the Spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Eseme Eyiboh, said Buhari is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and also the APC Presidential candidate, and that as the APC candidate it does not take away his protocol as the President of Nigeria.