Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi yesterday said he had not granted permission to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to use of Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium, Abakaliki, for its mega rally holding today.
Umahi, who made this known at a media briefing after a meeting with heads of security agencies in Abakaliki, yesterday, stated that two factions had applied for the same venue on the same date.
“You cannot be at war over your property, as the stadium is not the Federal Government (FG) or APC property, with both not contributing in any way to renovate it.
“I have the right not to give them the stadium in the first place and why should I give it to them when they do not acknowledge it?
“They would not have seen it to be good to use if I left it the way the preceding government did, but they should realise that wonders are happening in Ebonyi.”
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the governor said he had never insulted President Muhammadu Buhari or any APC stakeholder and would not allow them to insult him at the stadium.
He added: “I would not allow them to ride through the good roads we constructed and mount our stadium to insult me, because they might be attacked.
“I have told heads of security agencies to warn the leaders of the APC faction seeking to hold its rally on Saturday (today) not ignite crisis in the state through their utterances.”
Umahi, who is rumoured to be one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors considering defection to APC, noted that while on a working tour of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he received a letter from an APC faction that it intended to host Buhari inside the stadium.
“I quickly approved and copied heads of security agencies and was later informed on my return that it had been shifted to August 11.
“This made us fix the training and recruitment of personnel in the Neighbourhood Security Watch for August 3 and 4, but unknown to me, another faction had fixed its rally for August 4.
“They requested, through the commissioner for Youths and Sports Development and I advised them to seek an alternative venue, because I will endorse the one I am aware of, that is August 11,” Umahi said.
But APC Chairman in the state, Chief Nwachukwu Eze, insisted that the party would use the stadium today for the rally, because it belongs to all citizens of the state, saying: “The Eagle Square in Abuja is used by both the APC and the PDP, as the stadium in Daura, Buhari’s hometown, is used by other political parties.
“The government cannot say that the stadium is undergoing reconstruction, because it was one of the projects listed for commissioning by Buhari during his visit to the state in November last year.”
He noted that the state government was jittery because several state governors and the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, among other bigwigs, were expected to attend the rally, including the senator representing Ebonyi South, who defected from the PDP to APC.
Tension has heightened in the state over APC’s bid to use the stadium for the rally, with government officials, including the governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS) and the commissioner for Information and Orientation acknowledging that two APC factions in the state had requested to use the stadium for rallies.