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As APC Kicks Off Campaign, Akwa Ibom Reverses Self, Gives Approval to APC, Buhari for Use of Stadium


The Akwa Ibom State government has made U-turn by giving approval to the All Progressives Congress (APC), to use the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, to host President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC leaders on Friday.
The state government’s approval is contained in a press statement issued on Monday evening by the Commissioner Youth and Sports in the state, Monday Uko.
“Following a decision by Julius Berger Plc to recall their staff from their scheduled holiday, the Akwa Ibom State Government has approved the use of the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo for the flag off of the President’s electioneering campaign on December 28, 2018.
“However, 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 Commissioner added.
One of the reasons the government gave for its initial rejection of the APC’s request was that the officials of the construction company, Julius Berger, which maintain the facilities in the stadium, had shut down and travelled abroad for their end-of-the-year holiday.
The government had also said using the stadium for political campaign was going to have adverse effect on the grass in the stadium.
“The next season of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2019. In view of this and the fixtures of home matches for Akwa United FC, it will be practically impossible to ‘regrass’ the stadium for pre-fixed matches, if used for non-sports activities, because of the nature of pressure that such events bring on the pitch,” the commissioner, Uko, said on Friday.
But the Uyo Township Stadium accommodates a far lesser number of people compared to the 30,000-capacity Godswill Akpabio stadium.
The government’s action, apart from being rejected by the APC, generated controversy within and outside the state, with some people seeing it as Governor Udom Emmanuel’s way of hitting hard on his political opponents.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, will on Friday, 28 December flag off his campaign for second term bid in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom.
Senator Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) made the disclosure on Monday while briefing newsmen in Uyo.
Enang said that the President would be in the state with National Chairman of the party Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and national leaders of the party.
He said that the party would use the opportunity to formally present the party’s flag to APC gubernatorial candidates of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers and Delta respectively. “President Muhammadu Buhari and 2019 Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress candidate will be in Akwa Ibom on December 28 to flag off the 2019 campaign of the APC.
“He will be coming with the National Chairman of the party and the National leaders of the party. The sitting governors of the party and other governorship candidate of the party “He will be here to formally launch his campaign and flag off the 2019 Presidential election campaign, “Enang said.
According to him, the campaign will kick off in Akwa Ibom because the state has accepted the President fully and the state is ripe for harvest by the party.


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