After its preliminary rejection of a request by the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Akwa Ibom State authorities has given approval for the APC to make use of the Godswill Akpabio Worldwide Stadium, Uyo, to host President Muhammadu Buhari and different APC leaders this Friday.
The state authorities’s approval is contained in a press assertion issued on Monday night by the Commissioner Youth and Sports activities within the state, Monday Uko.
“Following a call by Julius Berger Plc to recall their employees from their scheduled vacation, the Akwa Ibom State Authorities has permitted using the Nest of Champions Stadium, Uyo for the flag off of the President’s electioneering marketing campaign on December 28, 2018,” Mr Uko mentioned within the assertion.
“Nonetheless, all different phrases of use will stay efficient.
“Organisers of the rally are anticipated to satisfy with the stadium administration to finalise this approval,” the commissioner added.
One of many causes the federal government gave for its preliminary rejection of the APC’s request was that the officers of the development firm, Julius Berger, which keep the services within the stadium, had shut down and travelled overseas for his or her end-of-the-year vacation.
The Akwa Ibom authorities had additionally mentioned utilizing the stadium for political marketing campaign was going to have hostile impact on the grass within the stadium.
“The subsequent season of the Nigeria Premier Soccer League (NPFL) is scheduled to start on January 13, 2019. In view of this and the fixtures of house matches for Akwa United FC, will probably be virtually unattainable to ‘regrass’ the stadium for pre-fixed matches, if used for non-sports actions, due to the character of stress that such occasions carry on the pitch,” the commissioner, Mr Uko, mentioned on Friday.
The federal government had directed the APC to utilize an alternate venue – the Uyo Township Stadium. However the Uyo Township Stadium accommodates a far lesser variety of folks in comparison with the 30,000-capacity Godswill Akpabio stadium.
The federal government’s motion, other than being rejected by the APC, generated controversy inside and outdoors the state, with some folks seeing it as Governor Udom Emmanuel’s method of hitting onerous on his political opponents.
“We recall that the stadium was used not too long ago for the flag-off of the Akwa Ibom State PDP governorship election marketing campaign for the second time period bid and governorship major of Your Excellency and there was no grievance of the probably injury to the sector,” the APC chairman in Akwa Ibom, Ini Okopido, instructed Mr Emmanuel in a letter dated December 24.
Mr Okopido mentioned the Uyo Township Stadium permitted by the federal government was not appropriate for the occasion. “The appreciates the choice venue permitted by the state authorities to make use of the 7,000 capability stadium, with one entrance and one exit, for an occasion that greater than 30,000 individuals are anticipated.
We, nonetheless, want to draw Your Excellency’s consideration to the probably breach of state safety and a nagging worry of stampede, if such a small venue is used for an occasion of this nationwide magnitude,” mentioned Mr Okopido. The excuse of the grass and the season pales within the face of the magnitude of the presidential go to.
“We wish to additional intimate Your Excellency, that the go to of the president is a nationwide affair, which should be accorded the significance and standing it deserves. We take into account it an excellent privilege for the state to be chosen because the host for the occasion. We guarantee authorities that we will take each mandatory precaution to make sure that no injury is finished, both to the grass turf or any facility within the stadium,” he added.
It’s unclear if Governor Emmanuel obtained the letter from the APC and if it contributed to the Akwa Ibom governor reversing his earlier resolution on the matter.