The event will damage the grass- A’Ibom govt.
By Emeka Samuel, Uyo
The APC in Akwa Ibom has threatened to break into the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium (Nest of Champions) for the flag-off of the APC’s South-South campaign, on Friday following the refusal of Akwa Ibom state government to approve the facility for them.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Mr. Ita Enang made this known while addressing journalists in Uyo.
Enang said the APC would continue on the path of diplomacy to impress it on the government to accede to the APC’s request to use the facility, warning that if the negotiation fails, the party would have no other option that to forcefully break into the stadium.
“We will continue to use diplomacy for the request, but if the diplomacy fails, we will still use the stadium. When higher immunity meets the state immunity, it would succumb. We will not allow Udom to blackmail Akwa Ibom”. He said.
The state chapter of the APC led by the Chairman, Hon. Iniobong Okopido, had written to the state government requesting the use of the 30,000 capacity facility for the campaign launch, but the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Sir Monday Uko, turned it down and instead offered the small capacity Uyo township stadium.
According to Uko, the stadium managers, Julius Berger, currently on vacation in Germany had locked the stadium and would resume on January 7, 2019.
Besides, the Commissioner explained that the decision became necessary to safeguard the pitch for the state team, Akwa United to play their home games as the National Professional Football League (NPFL) kicks-off on January 13.
“The next season of the NPFL is scheduled to begin on January 13th 2019. In view of this and the fixtures of home matches for Akwa United FC, it will be practically be impossible to regrass the stadium for pre fixed matches, if used for non sports activities because of the nature of pressure that such events bring to the pitch.” The statement had explained.
But Enang faulted the explanation, saying the state government’s action was pre-meditated and political, recalling that “the governorship primary that Udom was declared the winner in 2014, was done in that same stadium”.
“The Senator representing Akwa Ibom Northeast, Senator Bassey Albert, according to the Presidential Aide, also did his empowerment and constituency briefing on the same stadium.
“Udom should know that it was his predecessor Godswill Akpabio that built the stadium with funds allocated to the state by the Federal Government led by President Buhari and denying Akwa Ibom people the use of that facility is a collective insult on the people of the state.” He stressed.
He explained that the choice of Akwa Ibom for the South-South campaign flag-off became necessary following widespread acceptability of the APC in the state and the South-South states.