Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has defended the decision of his government not to allow Peter Obi and his Labour Party (LP) supporters use the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for their campaign on Friday.
The Governor explained that the request for the use of the stadium came too late as there were certain procedures and precautions that needed to be followed if the facility will be used for such an event.
He added that he thought Obi and his team were more serious but was disappointed that they were just submitting their application for the use of the stadium about twenty-four hours before the kick-off of the event.
Obaseki added that Obi informed him of his plans to visit Edo but didn’t state he was coming for a campaign rally.
Bellnewsonline.com understands Obi and his party held their campaign rally in Edo State on Friday at the Baptist Convention Ground Oliha Quarters, TV Road Benin City after they were denied the use of other government facilities as claimed by the Labour Party publicity secretary in the state, Comr. Sam Oroupa.
The development attracted a lot of condemnation for Obaseki with many Nigerians taking to social media to knock the Edo governor.
But clarifying the action by his government, Governor Obaseki during a Friday night appearance on Channels TV said the government agency which denied Obi the use of the stadium acted professionally.
He said: “Well, there are several venues in Benin for rallies, I heard that they [Labour Party] applied on Wednesday night to hold a rally at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Friday morning, giving us one day’s notice.
“The tracks in that stadium are still under warranty. The pitch has to be maintained in a certain mode. So it is not just another facility you just can go in and use without preparing. If they knew they had a rally on Friday morning, why could not they give more time and notice so we could give them the conditions under which they could use the pitch.”
Why PDP Used The Stadium
Obaseki explained that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) could use the same venue for its own campaign on October 22 because it was used as an opportunity to commission the facility.
“The same thing we did to the PDP when they wanted to use the pitch. And the only reason why we allowed the PDP rally was because it was used as an opportunity to commission that facility. Otherwise, most other rallies are held in other large grounds around the city,” he stated.
“I expected more from the Labour Party. I thought they were more serious, you cannot be planning for a rally on a Friday and be giving less than two days.
“I spoke to my friend Peter Obi the night before he told me he was coming to the state, and we offered him all the courtesy, including security and some logistics, but I did not know they were coming for rallies.