Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will Friday flag off his re-election campaign in Akwa-Ibom State, a few weeks after the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar, who is his main challenger, when the country goes to poll early next year, kicked off his in Sokoto State.
“President Muhammadu Buhari and 2019 Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress candidate will be in Akwa Ibom on December 28 to flag off the 2019 campaign of the APC,” Ita Enang, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate) said on monday.
“He will be here to formally launch his campaign and flag off the 2019 Presidential election campaign,” he added.
This came less than 24hours after the president was granted access to use Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in Uyo for a rally.
The State Government had earlier denied Buhari access to the stadium for his campaign through the state’s commissioner for sports, Monday Uko.
The denial of access to use the stadium according to Uko, was because the stadium’s maintenance company, Julius Berger Construction Company, have “closed for the year and proceeded on vacation” and that a Nigerian Premier League match is due to hold at the stadium early January.
The commissioner had also said, the stadium company will not resume till January 7, 2019, and consequently, “the technical capacity required to activate the venue is currently unavailable, and this is not within our control.”
He also explained that the state annual Christmas Carol last Friday night in Uyo took place in the Uyo Township Stadium, instead of the earlier proposed Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, because of the same reason.
Uko advised the president and the APC to make use of Uyo Township Stadium for the flag off of the party’s re-election campaign in the state.
However, after lifting the initial denial, the government said: “organisers of the rally are expected to meet with the stadium management to finalise this approval.”
But there were people who believed the initial refusal to allow Buhari the use of the stadium was political.
The current Akwa-Ibom governor Udom, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and his predecessor Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) no longer have a rosy relationship since the latter defected to APC.