THE Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has accused the state government of stalling the use of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, to officially kick off the party’s governorship campaign slated for next Monday.
The two major political parties in the state – All Progressives Congress and the PDP – have elected their candidates for the September 10 governorship polls, with the latter having two flag bearers who emerged from separate primary elections.
The State Chairman of the party, under the Ahmed Makarfi national caretaker committee, Chief Dan Orbih, told journalists in Benin that the party had earlier secured the use of the stadium only to have its application cancelled allegedly on the instruction of the State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
Orbih said, “Just yesterday (Thursday) in the afternoon, the government reached us saying that they have cancelled the earlier approval given to us. But before then, we informed all the PDP elected governors, the chairman and members of the Board of Trustees and other very distinguished leaders of our party in and outside Edo State, informing them about the venue and the event.
“They had also taken adverts at the national level publicising this event before we got government order that they have cancelled the approval for the use of Ogbe stadium.”
But the state government denied the allegation, adding that it had yet to approve or disapprove the request by the opposition party as of 1pm on Friday.
The Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Mobilisation, Mr. Priestly Ediagbonya, told our correspondent that although the letter got to the registry of the Ministry of Youths, Sports and Social Mobilisation on June 28, it got to his office on Friday.
“I have two papers bearing ‘Peoples Democratic Party’ here on my table. One held its congress two days ago; I understand that one is led by Ali-Modu Sheriff. There is another one which I am about treating,” Ediagbonya said.
He added, “I have not attended to it; . I got wind of it (letter) now. I have that (letter) on top of my table now; I have not minuted on it. This state belongs to everyone of us. Nobody has told me to cancel the arrangement. It was received at the open registry.”
However, while vowing that it would go ahead with the governorship campaign at an alternative venue, the state chairman said, “But let me tell you that a hundred Adams Oshiomhole will not stop us from flagging off our campaign on Monday.
“We have been to the Baptist Convention Ground to inspect that place as an alternative venue and I can tell you that that place is better than our earlier proposed venue.”