Real reason we cancelled approved venue for Atiku’s campaign rally – Wike
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has explained that the reason why his government stopped the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential flag bearer in the forthcoming election, Atiku Abubakar from using the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for his campaign is to safeguard the facility from vandalism.
The governor who spoke at the Rivers PDP campaign in Degema, Degema Local Government Area yesterday, described the claim that the Rivers government did not want PDP Presidential Campaign Council to campaign in the state as erroneous, as he recalled that the government earlier gave approval to the party to use the stadium at no cost.
He said: “Don’t say we stopped them from holding their rally; we didn’t. They applied to me and I gave (Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium) to them. They now went back and began to meet with the faction of the opposition, and you know that the opposition has never held any rally without violence.
“And I said I cannot joke with Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium. Since we have this intelligence we will not allow it. Did anybody force us to give them before? Are we not the ones who gave them? Did they pay money? Go and see the place. I know they are happy because they know there is no way they can fill that stadium. Instead of them to say thank God for covering our shame.”
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Following the withdrawal of the initial approval by the Rivers State government for the use of the stadium, the PDP Presidential Campaign Council must have made moves to use the University of Port Harcourt. But, the university yesterday denied a report that the PDP presidential campaign had been shifted to its campus. The university described the report, which came after Atiku and the PDP were denied the use of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium by the state government, as false.
In a statement, yesterday, by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Sam Kpenu, the institution said the university was not a campaign ground. The statement reads: “Management has not authorised any political campaign rally at the university. The university is not a political ground for political campaigns
“We are not contemplating releasing its facility to the Atiku Campaign Council. The public is, therefore, called upon to discountenance this deliberate falsehood aimed at tarnishing the towering reputation of the university, as it is simply a figment of the imagination of the author.
“The institution warns the originator of this falsehood to desist forthwith or face the wrath of the law. Meanwhile, this issue has been reported to law enforcement agencies for appropriate action.”
In its reaction, the Rivers PDP Campaign Council said the PDP presidential candidate has proved in his words and deeds to be an unrepentant enemy of Rivers and Nigeria. The party hailed Governor Wike’s decision to deny the PDP Presidential Campaign Council the use of the Port Harcourt stadium for Atiku’s rally, which is scheduled to hold next week Saturday (February 11).
The Rivers campaign council said in a statement yesterday by its Director of Publicity and Communications, Ogbonna Nwuke, that the Rivers people would not collude with persons, who did not share their aspiration for a stable and better society.
Nwuke’s words: “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is proving by the day, through words and deeds, to be an unrepentant enemy, not just of ordinary Nigerians, but also of the Rivers people. At a time when Rivers people of all walks of life are struggling with great difficulty to obtain scarce funds from banks to buy food for their families to eat, when the CBN is responding to the cries of ordinary Nigerians and the National Assembly over its currency swap policy, Atiku whose only interest is to be a Nigerian President is urging the apex bank not to bend to the will of the people.
“How mean and out of tune can this man who wants power at all costs be? His latest call on the CBN not to listen to public opinion proves beyond reasonable doubt that all that Atiku has, all that he feels for the Nigerian people is contempt.
“Most vehicle owners in this State and others across Nigeria are parking their motor cars because they do not have money to access petroleum products. They are victims of an evil cabal which does not trust in the well-being of the nation and its people.
“Nigerians are not puns on a chessboard. They are humans who feel pain, people who have aspirations of their own and rights that must be protected by the Nigerian state.”
Nwuke said they were shocked that in obtaining permission to use the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, those who ought to appreciate the kind gesture of the governor were conniving with a violent faction of the APC.