The Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has said President Goodluck Jonathan cannot make use of the 40,000 capacity Adokiye Amiesiemeka Stadium, located in the New Port Harcourt City, Igwuirita-Ali, for the January 28 commencement of his South-South presidential rally.
Chairman of the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Felix Obuah, revealed at the weekend that Amaechi had refused to grant approval to his party’s request to use the facility for campaign, to accommodate its followers.
Obuah spoke at a peace meeting organised by the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Dan Bature, in the wake of increasing violence between supporters of the PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Police Officers’ Mess in Port Harcourt.
The PDP chairman expressed dismay at Amaechi’s refusal to approve the party’s application to use the stadium for its presidential rally.
“We have applied to use the place for our rally, come January 28. But the governor, in his act of impunity, has refused us the use of the place.
“We dare him because it is not his personal property, come January 28, we are going to use that place.
“We have made official reports to the police, Department of State Security, and all the other law enforcement agencies. “So, let all citizens of Rivers State be aware of this: we have applied for the use of the property that they (APC) have used it two times.
“We state that for peace to reign, Governor Amaechi has to release that property.
“The facilities of Rivers State are owned by all of us: all of us who pay tax. The Adokiye Amiesiemeka Stadium was built with money belonging to Rivers State.
“The stadium was not meant to be used only by General Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign manager.
“It is not his personal property. They (APC) used it to celebrate Amaechi’s victory at the Supreme Court and their presidential rally,” he said.
In his response to Obuah’s allegation, the state chairman of the APC, Davis Ibiamu Ikanya, stated: “Look, you have heard that threat, again. That is their character. Now, that stadium is being worked on; that stadium is not completed.
“It is still under construction. If anything happens to the stadium, hold the PDP responsible.”
Ikanya stressed that the PDP’s request asking for approval to use the stadium came too late because the contractors working on the stadium moved to the site after the Christmas holiday to meet up with the deadline from the governor, so that he could hand it over to his successor before leaving office on May 29, 2015.
Ikanya said: “There are other venues for rallies. They have not used that place before.
“When the contractors went on holiday during the December holiday, they didn’t apply for the place.
“If they had applied then, they would have been granted. But now, the contractors are fully back and the governor wants to complete that stadium and hand it over.
“Now, the PDP is threatening that unless the governor obeys them…they have now turned themselves into the governor of Rivers State.
“If you apply for something, it is either it is approved or not approved. You cannot take the law into your hands. This is why we are saying that PDP is living above the law. “
On why the construction work was resuming when the PDP was about to hold its presidential rally, he replied: “It is purely an executive decision and I want to tell the PDP people that it is better for them to take the step of dialogue.
According to him, “If they had written an application and it was rejected, the proper thing is for them to either re-apply or go to the commissioner in charge and find out why it is like that and seek for alternatives, if that place is not available.
“But, every time they (PDP) threaten that they are going to take laws into their hand; they are not living alone in this state.
“They don’t have a monopoly of violence and there is no amount of threat that will cow us.
“They are human beings. The state belongs to all of us.”