Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has withdrawn an earlier approval he granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to freely use the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt for its Presidential Campaign Rally planned for February 11.
The governor had approved a request from the PDP Presidential Campaign Council to use the stadium. In his approval, he also waived all necessary fees for the use of the stadium; however, in a letter dated January 31, 2023, and signed by a Commissioner, Barr. Christopher Green, Wike said his earlier offer had been withdrawn on the argument that the PDP was planning to use the stadium simultaneously with the Patrick Tonye Cole faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
According to the letter, the state government had become aware of plots by the PDP to jointly use the stadium with Tonye Patrick Cole’s faction of the APC, a move which the state government was not comfortable with.
The state government accused the APC in the state of being engulfed in violent crisis, which had even led to the loss of lives and property, adding that the state government would not risk the stadium by making it available for use by any faction of APC in the state. It said the decision to withdraw the offer was to safeguard facilities at the stadium against destruction by the APC faction.
The letter titled “Re: Use of Adokiye Amiesiemaka Stadium for You Presidential Campaign Rally”, addressed to the Director General of the Campaign, Aminu Tambuwal, reads: “Refer to our letter reference no. MOS/C409/S.49/T/15 of January 11, 2023, approving the use of the Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium for your presidential campaign rally scheduled to hold on February 11 2023.
“Credible intelligence available to the Government of River State and recent developments now show that your presidential campaign organisation 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 organisation to accommodate and share the approved facility for your campaign with the said faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Government record shows 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 shooting and killings in the course of protests arising from the nomination process of delegates for primaries (Sahara Reporters, May 18, 2022) and detonation of explosives in the course of campaigns (Explosion Rocks APC Campaigns in Rivers –Thisdaylive.com, January 20, 2023). See also Punch Newspaper of May 26, 2022.
The Rivers State government is unable to risk damage to, or destruction of the very valuable and priced asset, the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, which your use of the same in collaboration with your Tonye Patrick Cole APC faction will definitely expose.
In the circumstance, the River State government has come to the painful but inevitable decision to withdraw the approval given to you for the use of the stadium. The said approval is hereby withdrawn.”