Akwa Ibom finally grants Buhari access to use stadium for campaign
Akwa Ibom State Government said it has granted Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari access to use its Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in Uyo for a rally.
The State Government had earlier denied Buhari access to the stadium for his campaign slated for next Friday, 28 December.
Buhari is expected to kick off his reelection campaign in the South-south state.
“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,” the state’s commissioner for sports, Monday Uko said in a statement.
The earlier denial of access to use the stadium according to Uko, was because the stadium’s maintenance company, Julius Berger Construction Company, have “closed for the year and proceeded on vacation” and that a Nigerian Premier League match is due to hold at the stadium early January.
The commissioner had also said, the stadium company will not resume till January 7, 2019, and consequently, “the technical capacity required to activate the venue is currently unavailable, and this is not within our control.”
He explained that the state annual Christmas Carol last Friday night in Uyo took place in the Uyo Township Stadium, instead of the earlier proposed Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, because of the same reason.
Uko, then advised the president and the APC to make use of Uyo Township Stadium for the flag off of the party’s re-election campaign in the state.
However, after lifting the initial denial, the government said “organisers of the rally are expected to meet with the stadium management to finalise this approval.”
But there were people who believed the initial refusal to allow Buhari the use of the stadium was political.
The current Akwa-Ibom governor Udom, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and his predecessor Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) no longer have a rosy relationship since the latter defected to APC.