JUST IN: Wike withdraws stadium approval for Atiku’s rally
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has withdrawn the approval he granted the chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council to use the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium to campaign for its Candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar.
Wike had vowed to hit back at the Dr. Iyorchia Ayu-led PDP after the party’s National Chairman replaced his lawyers handling some important cases for Rivers PDP at the Court of Appeal.
It was gathered the cancellation of the earlier conditional approval granted Atiku’s camp in the state to have access to the facility 48 hours to the presidential rally scheduled for January 11 was one of the governor’s reactions to Ayu’s action.
The Governor cancelled the approval in a letter dated January 31 written by the Commissioner for Sports, Christopher Green, and addressed to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, who is the Director-General of PDP, Presidential Council.
The letter accused the Rivers Presidential Campaign Organisation of planning to share the use of the facility with a “faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Tonye Cole”.
The letter said: “Credible intelligence available to the government of Rivers State and recent developments now show that your Presidential Campaign Organisation is working in collaboration and in cahoot with a faction of the APC led by Tonye Patrick Cole and that it is the intention of your presidential campaign organisation to accommodate and share the approved facility for your campaign with the said faction of the APC.
“Government records show that the activities of the APC in Rivers have always been married by violence due largely to irreconcilable internal conflicts within the party including shootings and killings in the course of protest arising from the nomination process of delegates for primaries and detonation of explosives in the course of campaigns”.
The letter said the state government would not risk damage to a state prized asset like the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium that could arise from the alleged planned collaboration with Toney Cole-led APC.
“In the circumstance, the Rivers State Government has come to the painful but inevitable decision to withdraw the approval earlier given to you for the use of the stadium and the said approval is hereby withdrawn”, the letter said.
The spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in Rivers, Leloonu Nwibubase, who confirmed the development said they were not surprised by the Governor’s action.
He said they were aware that the approval earlier granted by the governor was a Greek gift insisting that they were not rattled by the development.
When asked whether they were making an alternative arrangement to hold the rally, he said: “For us I will say very clearly that the Presidential Campaign Council in Rivers State is not rattled at all. What has happened is not a surprise so we have our options on the table.
“We will speak to the teeming PDP supporters and supporters of our presidential candidate in due course. We will continue with our campaign. We are very sure that the ultimate goal is for Rivers to vote Atiku Abubakar as their Presidential Candidate and that we will succeed. We will unveil our options”.