Governor Ahmadu Fintiri-led Adamawa State Government has rejected a request by President Muhammadu Buhari for the use of the state-owned Ribadu Square in Yola, the state capital, for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign.
IDOMA VOICE reports that the Chief Spokesperson and Director of Public Affairs, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo (SAN) had revealed that Buhari is scheduled to lead the party’s campaign in the state on Monday.
Adamawa is one of the “at least 10 states” where the president is expected to join the APC presidential campaign train.
But the Governor Fintiri-led administration rejected the use of the stadium, saying the square is currently being renovated.
The Chief of Staff to the president, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, had earlier sent a notice to the Adamawa State Government on Buhari’s planned visit to participate in the APC rally at Ribadu Square.
But in a reply to Buhari’s request, the Secretary to the State Government, Bashiru Ahmad, said the facility would be unavailable on the proposed date.
Ahmad in the reply to the Presidency letter said: “I write to acknowledge your letter ref. SH/COS/28/16/A/793 dated 3” January, 2023 addressed to His Excellency, the Governor, in respect of the above subject matter.
“It is with utmost joy that we always welcome the news of a visit by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Adamawa State and always prepare to accord him a rousing welcome with the highest level of respect notwithstanding political party differences.
“Please note that, on this proposed visit that is scheduled for 9 January, 2023 and considering the purpose of the visit which is rally, the only befitting place (Ribadu Square) that is secured enough to host Mr. President, on occasions like this, and the surrounding infrastructural facilities are under extensive renovation. We, therefore, write to inform you that, much as we would want to provide a place befitting to receive Mr. President, we are constrained because we cannot guarantee the readiness of Ribadu Square before the due date of the flag-off. However, we are working round the clock and racing against time, along with the contractors, to get the place fairly ready to receive the President on the 18 January, 2023 when the presidential campaign train of the APC berths in our state.
Sir, while hoping that you will take seriously the foregoing in your planning, accept, as always my highest respect for your esteemed office.”
But speaking to The Nation on Friday, the Organising Secretary of the APC in the state, Mustapha Ribadu, insisted that nothing would stop the party from proceeding with its campaign rally.
He said: “Originally the party wrote a letter seeking the Ribadu Square for our presidential rally on the 18th January and it was approved by the state government.
“The government went further to commence renovation of the square to enable us use it for the reception of President Muhammadu Buhari and our presidential candidate on the 18th January.
“But with the sudden change in date, we wrote the government that the President would be coming on Monday the 9th. This afternoon (Friday) they granted the request and formal approval was given. The contractor was asked to stop work if the venue will be conducive for us to host the President. We have a formal approval for the new date.”
According to Ribadu, the campaign organisation of the APC governorship candidate, Senator Aishatu Binani, said it would prefer a new site it has been working on to host the presidential rally.