Wike, Atiku Campaign Clash Over Venue Of Port Harcourt Rally
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has insisted that the scheduled February 11 presidential campaign rally of the party in Rivers State will hold.
This is coming a day after the Rivers State government revoked its permit to allow the PDP stage its rally in the state.
The state government had on Wednesday via a letter addressed to Aminu Tambuwal, the PDP Presidential Campaign Council Director General by the state’s Commissioner for Sports, Chris Green, accused PDPPCC of working in cahoots with the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state to share the venue.
Part of the letter reads, “Credible intelligence available to the Government of Rivers State and recent developments now show that your Presidential Campaign Organization is working in collaboration and in cahoots with a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State led by Tonye Patrick Cole and that it is the intention of your Presidential Campaign Organization to accommodate and share the approved facility for your campaign with the said faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Government records show that the activities of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State have always been marred by violence due largely to irreconcilable internal conflicts within the party including shootings and killings in the course of protests arising from the nomination process of delegates for primaries…”
Therefore, “The Rivers State Government is unable to risk damage to or destruction of the very valuable and prized asset, the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, which your use of the same in collaboration with your Tonye Patrick Cole APC faction will definitely expose it to.
“In this circumstance, the Rivers State Government has come to the painful but inevitable decision to withdraw the approval earlier given to you for the use of the stadium and the said approval is hereby withdrawn,” the letter read.
But in a quick reply, the Director General of the PDPPCC in the state, Abiye Sekibo, who’s a former Minister of Transport denied the accusation in a letter he addressed to Wike.
Sekibo said, “You stated that credible intelligence available to the Government of Rivers State and recent developments now shows that our presidential campaign organisation is working in collaboration and cohort with a faction of the APC in River State led by Tonye Patrick Cole and that it is the intention of our campaign organisation to accommodate and share the approved facility for our campaign with the said faction of the APC.
“We wish to state as follows in reply: We completely deny your assertion as patently false and perverse and we believe that our highly respected security agencies cannot furnish you with such untrue and unfounded lies.
“That the PDP Presidential Campaign Council has nothing whatsoever to do with the APC in Rivers State.
“That it is appalling and highly preposterous for you or anyone to assume that the PDP and APC could jointly hold an event in the same venue,” Sekibo’s letter read.
He stressed that, “We believe that the only reason for this cancellation is Your Excellency’s notice of our massive mobilisation and total acceptance of Waziri Atiku Abubakar as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the people of River States.
“However we are rather aware by credible information reaching us that Your Excellency has directed all Local Government Council Chairman, Special Advisers, Commissioners, Party Executives at the state, local government, and ward levels, and all other appointees of yours to work for the APC presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tunibu even though you have not had the courage to announce same to the people of Rivers State.
“Your general public utterances, innuendos and conduct have pointed to the fact that you are bent on frustrating and if possible, preventing the emergence of the PDP Presidential candidate, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, Waziri Adamawa, as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Finally, your involvement in the so-called G5 is the height of anti-party activity.
“It is therefore surprising that you are now accusing us of hobnobbing with the APC faction in River State.”
A member of the campaign council confided in NewsNGR on Thursday that Atiku Abubakar would be in Portharcourt for the rally on February 11 “come rain, come shine.”
When pressed if Atiku personally conveyed the message to the state PCC, she said, “Take it or leave it, Atiku said he would be in Port Harcourt to attend the rally. The rally would hold, heavens would not fall.”
When contacted, the spokesman of the PDP said, “The party would only work on verifiable information and not speculation.
“Whether it’s the issue of suspension of party members for anti-party activity or anything; you recall we suspended our members in Ekiti but it was based on credible information.
“I have not seen Sekibo’s letter myself so I can’t comment.
“Our party is focused on delivering the mandate of being elected come 25 February” and “we are focused on that,” he added.