11 January 2019

Nigeria: Ekiti Govt Denies Atiku Campaign Use of Stadium, Offers Alternative Venue

The People's Democratic Party's (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council in Ekiti State has chided the Ekiti State government for denying it the use of the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado Ekiti, for its campaign rally scheduled for Monday.

The campaign council also condemned the attack on traders at Old Garage, Ijoka and Oja Oba areas of Ado Ekiti by thugs allegedly loyal to the state government.

The director general of the Campaign Council, Dipo Anisulowo, said in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Thursday that it was sad that the All Progressives Congress' government in the state had taken its political intolerance to the level of preventing opposition parties from using facilities belonging to the public.

Mr Anisulowo, however, said the campaign rally would hold in the state as scheduled.

"What is important is for our Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be able to reach out to the people of Ekiti and he will do that whether or not the government rescinds its decision on the use of the stadium," he said.

He said it was on record that the PDP government of Ayodele Fayose never denied the APC the use of facilities belonging to the state government, including the stadium.

The director general said that supporters of the PDP in the state would not be intimidated.

However, the state government has denied that it refused the PDP presidential council from using the stadium as venue for its campaign on Monday.

According to the chief press secretary to the governor, Olayinka Oyebode, the stadium, which is under the management of the Ekiti State Sports Council, is undergoing rehabilitation and maintenance work, which makes any political event at the venue inappropriate.

"The Sports Council, in the letter to the Atiku Campaign Council, informed them that construction work was ongoing at the (venue) and it would not be advisable to hold an event there," Mr Oyebode said.

"The State Pavilion was offered to them as an alternative, a venue that is equally built to host such political rallies, conferences and campaigns."

Mr Oyebode said it was untrue that the PDP council would be denied the use of the venue, noting that instead it was due to the work ongoing at the venue that made it impossible for the venue to be available for such use.

"The use of the stadium for political events is not ideal when you consider the fact that vehicles would be driven into the main bowl and the tartan tracks would be affected," he further explained.

"The state government itself have been holding its events at the Pavilion: the governor's inauguration was held at the Pavilion and other scheduled events such as the visit of the Vice President will hold at the Pavilion."

He added that the Ekiti State Sports Council, which also manages the Pavilion, had offered it to the PDP as an alternative, to demonstrate the fact that there was no attempt to frustrate the party's campaign.

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