Gov Okezie Ikpeazu moves against Peter Obi’s planned campaign stop in Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State.
His government yesterday 9 November issued new rules for use of state-owned schools and stadiums for political rallies.
The new rules require political parties and groups to write and obtain prior permission from state agencies.
Yesterday’s rules come into effect as national officers of Labour breezed into Aba for today’s launch of Alex Otti governorship campaign. Otti is the Labour Party’s governorship candidate for Abia State.
The campaign announced Ngwa High School football pitch in Aba as venue of the launch.
It is not clear whether the State Government will deploy security to prevent the rally from taking place today.
Abia Information Commissioner, Eze Chikamnayo, said in a statement that government won’t allow “misguided political parties” to use public facilities for campaigns anymore.
He described their rallies as “willful invasion of school facilities, stadiums, and valuable public premises… in the name of rallies and campaigns.
“Public utilities, school facilities, stadiums, and valuable public premises are properties of the people of Abia State entrusted to the care of the government.
“Therefore, no responsible government will stand by and watch as such facilities are willfully vandalised and degraded by sadistic elements with malicious interests disguising as politicians.
“The unscrupulous acts of these lawless individuals and groups jeopardise the efforts of government at all levels to provide succour to our children and citizens for whom those facilities were established.”
The new rules, as announced by Abia State include:
For primary school premises:
- notify security agencies
- obtain written consent of LGA Education Secretary and Chairman
Secondary school premises:
- Notify security agencies
- apply for permission from secondary education management board, and from
- Relevant local government chairman.
For Aba Township Stadium:
- Notify security agencies
- Provide to the state government “adequate guarantees that they will take responsibility for any damage sustained as a result of their activities.”
“This directive has become necessary for the protection of our common good and the advancement of decency in our political conduct and takes immediate effect,” Chikamnayo said.
Labour Party spokesperson, Ferdinand Ekeoma, said the party’s bigwigs plan to attend the rally.
Those expected include party presidential candidate, Peter Obi and running mate Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed as well as Chairman Julius Abure.
Abia State Government this morning walked back its statement on the use of government facilities for campaign rallies.
It asked the “relevant agencies involved in the implementation of Government Directives” to “accord our visitor, Mr Obi and his entourage our traditional hospitality and protection during their rally today.”
The Government however promised to “deal decisively with all violations of extant laws and regulations” at the appropriate time.
Ikpeazu moves against Obi’s campaign stop in Abia