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At Last, A/Ibom Govt Approves Stadium For PMB’s Campaign

The government of Akwa Ibom State has finally approved the use of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium for the flag-off of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign in the South-South region. A statement signed by the commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Monday Uko, yesterday in Uyo confirmed the approval. However, he said that all other terms of use will remain effective. “Organisers of the rally are expected to meet with the stadium management to finalise this approval,” the statement read.
The state government had earlier rejected an application by the APC for the use of the stadium citing the Nigeria Premier football league season kicking off by January 13, 2019 and that Julius Berger- the firm handling the maintenance of the stadium had closed for the year and that it would be impossible to re-grass the stadium for the pre-fixed matches as its reasons. But in a twist on Monday, the state government gave the approval.
Reacting to the refusal, the presidency said no person has the powers to restrain the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria access to any public place in Nigeria which was to be used for a public purpose. Senior special assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, at a press conference, said the party would explore all the diplomatic ways available to ensure the use of the venue. He added that in case such failed, the party would make its way into the stadium.
“We will continue to use diplomacy for the request, but if the diplomacy fails, we will still use the stadium.
When higher immunity meets the state immunity, it would succumb. We will not allow Udom to blackmail Akwa Ibom,” he said. Enang insisted that the state government’s action was pre-meditated and political, recalling that “the governorship primary where Udom was declared the winner in 2014, was done in that same stadium”.
He said the senator representing Akwa Ibom Northeast, Senator Bassey Albert, also did his empowerment and constituency briefing at the same stadium. “Udom should know that it was his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio that built the stadium with funds allocated to the state by the federal government led by President Buhari and denying Akwa Ibom people the use of that facility is a collective insult on the people of the state,” he stressed.
He explained that the choice of Akwa Ibom for the South-South campaign flag-off became necessary following widespread acceptability of the APC in the state and the South-South states.

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