Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has approved Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu’s rally, with a waiver on the N5 million statutory payment stipulated by Wike’s Executive Order 21.
The Rivers State Coordinator of Bola Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Tony Okocha, made this known at a news briefing in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.
Okocha said the APC presidential campaign rally in the state which is slated for February 15, 2023, is to canvass votes for the party’s flagbearer, Bola Tinubu.
The APC chieftain said Wike, out of his benevolence, approved the use of the stadium without collecting the required N5m fee prescribed by Executive Order 21 from the campaign council.
He said: “Wike in his usual magnanimity has granted the approval of an alternate venue, the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt, for the presidential campaign rally scheduled to hold on February 15, 2023 absolutely free of charge.
“But subject to the issuance of a written guarantee of the safety and security of the facilities at the venue due to the violence recorded in recent rallies by the governorship candidate of the party in the state.”
Okorocha, therefore, stated that all arrangements had been put in place to receive Tinubu and top APC leaders in the state and to ensure a hitch-free rally.
He disclosed that an 11-man committee had been set up to coordinate and ensure the successful hosting of the rally, adding that the campaign committee in the state had done its homework to ensure that Tinubu wins in the state.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has rejected the stadium approved by the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for his campaign rally.
Atiku said he is no longer interested in using the Adokiye Amesiamaka Stadium, Igwurita-Ali, Port Harcourt, for its presidential campaign rally in Rivers State.
The Atiku campaign council lambasted Governor Nyesom Wike, saying the governor could not be trusted, adding that “he wrote to us formally cancelling the approval. We also expect Governor Wike to write and not just stand on a podium during the campaign and make statements that depict a very high level of instability.”
Recall that the state government had on January 31, 2023, withdrawn the initial approval of January 11 on the grounds that credible intelligence and recent development show that the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation is working in collaboration with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State.
The government said it understood that the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation was intending to share the approved facility with the APC whose activities are characterised by violence and destruction.
However, on Tuesday Wike announced at a campaign that the government had re-issued the approval for the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party to use the stadium to host its presidential campaign rally.
Reacting to the new approval during a radio programme, the spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in Rivers State, Dr. Leloonu Nwibubasa, said the Council could not take Governor Wike by his words.