The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State has cried out over what it said was the denial of its request to use the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium for its planned presidential campaign rally, slated for Monday next week, by the Ekiti State government.
Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Gboyega Oguntuwase, who stated this while briefing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, said a letter conveying the refusal to use the stadium for the presidential rally, said the development had caused a disruption in the plan of the party to host Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the State.
Oguntuwase said the stadium was the usual, most suitable for such large crowd events in the state and contended that the denial of the use of the venue was a disrespect of the person of the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP, and to the PDP as a political party.
Oguntuwase said: “The presidential candidate of our great party the PDP will be visiting Ekiti State on Monday, and today, Wednesday, Fayemi has disallowed PDP from using that stadium. We want to tell the whole world that if they refuse us the opportunity of using that stadium, we will use anywhere in Ado Ekiti for that campaign.
“If they want us to use the major roads in Ado Ekiti we shall use them because the next president of this country cannot be stopped from coming to freely seek the votes of Ekiti people. If he’s doing that, he’s disrespecting Ekiti people; he’s disrespecting the person of Atiku Abubakar and he’s disrespecting our party, PDP.”
The letter rejecting the party’s request, dated January 8, 2019, was signed by the Director of Administration and Supplies, Mr Akinola V. A. on behalf of the General Manager of the Ekiti State Sports Council, cited repair of the stadium’s pitch and the need to protect the tartan track as reasons for rejecting the use of the stadium.
It read in part: “There’s the need to let you know the state of the stadium in question. The pitch is under repair in preparation for football season and wetting. The tartan track needs to be prevented from vehicular movement.”
Decrying the development, Oguntuwase said it was “an intention by the Fayemi government to frustrate us from receiving our lovable presidential candidate,” saying Atiku had “the right to seek votes anywhere within the bounds of Nigeria.”
The PDP chairman claimed that the act attested to fears he said were being expressed by Nigerians that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was desperate to cause confusion and rig the coming elections and deny the people their rightful choice of candidate.
However, the government described the allegation of the PDP as “misdirected and spurious,” stating that Governor Fayemi had nothing to do with the decision of the civil servants on routine duty.
Fayemi’s Senior Special Assistant on Public Communications, Mr Segun Dipe, who reacted through the telephone, said the civil servants only replied to the request of the PDP “based on the prevailing situation and were never influenced by Governor Fayemi who believes in due process in the civil service.”
According to Dipe, “When we came on board, virtually all the facilities are in the state of disrepair. As a responsible government, we must take steps to put them back to normal shape and Fayemi won’t take any step that would infringe on the right of anyone as a Democrat.”
He explained that the PDP didn’t make the request through the governor and held that it was wrong for them to have blamed him in the first instance.
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