MEMBERS of the local chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom were in high spirit last night ahead of today’s hosting of the party’s presidential campaign kick-off at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in Uyo, the state capital.
Arrangements were concluded in Abuja yesterday by the APC leadership to converge on the 30,000 capacity stadium to kick-off the campaigns for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in the Southsouth.
But the state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) claimed that Governor Udom Emmanuel was blackmailed by the opposition to use the stadium.
Director-General of Divine Mandate Campaign Organisation for the governor’s re-election, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, accused the state chapter of the APC of setting President Buhari against the governor.
In a statement, Nkanga, a former military governor of Akwa Ibom, berated the APC for blackmailing the governor over the stadium.
He said the decision of the state government to allow the APC to the stadium for the campaign kick-off portrayed the governor as an honourable man.
The former military administrator reiterated that Governor Emmanuel has great respect for the Office of the President.
The statement reads: “It is with a comical amusement that we recount the theatrics of the APC over the use of the ‘Nest of Champions’ for their presidential campaign kick-off. The many comedy skits staged by the opposition only go to show an unprecedented sense of desperation anchored on an obviously selfish agenda.
“We wish to state unequivocally that the PDP and indeed the good people of Akwa Ibom State are united in a common determination not to mortgage the soul of state for pittance.
“One incident that most Akwa Ibomites would not forget in a hurry is the deliberate denial of Obong Victor Attah of the use of the facilities of the Ibom Hotels and Resort for events of his 70th birthday.
“Gratefully, history offered the state an opportunity to right the wrong when the current government of Akwa Ibom State not only approved the use of the facility for the former governor’s 80th birthday but also bank-rolled the events.
“At the national level, we are all living witnesses to the blatant refusal by the management of the Eagle Square in Abuja to grant a former PDP presidential aspirant the use of the facility despite having made the requisite rental payments.”
But spokesperson of APC campaign in the state, Eseme Eyiboh, described the PDP campaign organisation’s allegation of blackmail against the party as “a swan song”.