By: Amaechi Okonkwo – Port Harcourt.
This was made public on Wednesday in Port Harcourt by members of the Concerned PCC/ICC who explained that Governor Wike graciously approved the venue for the campaign free-of-charge.
According to the council, the approval was sequel to the application by the National Secretary of APC PCC, James Abiodun Faleke, to the state (Rivers), government seeking for approval the use of Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the national party to hold its Presidential rally on the scheduled date.
The application was in compliance with an existing law of the state, which emanated from extant order 21, which demands for the payment of N5 million non refundable charges by political parties who wish to use public venues, places for their campaigns in the state.
The group said the government regretted that the venue they applied for was not available for use at the time scheduled for the event, but instead, approved alternative venue for the Tinubu/Shettima campaign rally next wednesday.
The approval letter reads in part:, “reference to your application dated January 15, 2023, foe use of Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium for the All Progressives Congress Preaidential l campaign rally on Febuary 15, 2023, regrettabley, i wish to inform you that the venueis unavailable for use on the proposes date.
“However, His Excellency, the Executive Goveenor of Rivers state, in his ususal magnanimity has grantes approval of an alternative venue, the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia Port harcourt for the presidential campaign rally scheduled to hold on Febuary 15, 2023, absolutely free of charge.”
The state government however noted that in spite of the approval, the venue would be handed over to the party for the use upon the provision of written guarantee of the safety and security of the facilities at the stadium.
The government said the commitment note was necessary due to the violence recorded in campaign rallies by the party governorship flagbearer in parts of the state in recent times.
The approval was signed on behalf of the government by the commissioner for sports, Christopher Green, on February 3, 2023.
Wike’s approval of the stadium to APC free of charge is coming after the Rivers PDP said that in compliance with Order 21, it paid a whopping N95-Million for the use of several venues where it would hold its campaigns across the state.
Tony Okocha, a prominent member of that group is the leader of the Concerned PCC/ICC members who are in charge of organising the campaign rally.
At a press briefing where it announced the granting of the approval, the group noted that they had moved on with the preparation for the campaign rally without the party’s Governorship candidate, Arch. Tonye Cole, a member of the Amaechi’s faction who is the person originally sworn-in by the party as the state cordinator of Tinubu/Shettima presidential campaign rally.
Okocha noted that the Rivers APC was making efforts to frustrate the Presidential campaign noting that the PCC in the state had ignored following up the move to get a venue for the campaign in the state after a letter by Hon. James Faleke, Secretary, APC PCC, but stated that his team took up the move for the venue.
Okocha said: “We have moved on without the PCC in the state, while they on the other hand were working to see the frustration of the campaign in Rivers State.
“We will not allow negative forces to dampen our chances of winning elections in Rivers State. We went to the governor of the state and willing to pay what it worths to hold the campaign.
“The PCC wrote a letter to the state government a month. Ago and nobody followed up. We have to take over that responsibility. We are here to inform you that we have received a response from the state governor. Governor Wike has approved the use of Yakubu Gowon Stadium for the Campaign of APC, 15th February.
“That message has been sent to the secretary of PCC in Abuja. We have moved on by appointing members of sub-committees to run for the organization of the event. We have 11 sub-committees.
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