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Politics of Monday, 9 January 2023


Rivers bars Atiku campaign from public schools

Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike Atiku Abubakar and Nyesom Wike

Those campaigning in Rivers State for the election of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in cannot have access to the public facilities secured rallies by the local chapter of the party.

The state chapter paid N95 million to get the government’s approval to use public places, especially school premises.

Confirming the payment, spokesperson of the State PDP Campaign Council, Ogbonna Nwuke, said the places were secured for campaigns the party’s governorship, national and state House of Assembly rallies.

The state PDP, led by Governor Nyesom Wike, reportedly paid the money to cover all campaigns for the party’s candidates in line with the provisions of the Order 21 issued by his administration.

It was gathered that the N95 million only covered all public facilities the Wike-led PDP had booked to campaign for its state’s candidates, excluding the presidential standard bearer.

The Order requires that any party intending to use public schools for campaign must apply to the Commissioner for Education and pay a non-refundable fee of N5 million, which will be used to clean, maintain and repair the schools after the rallies.

It was learnt that Atiku’s men, intending to campaign for their candidate under the auspices the PDP Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) as well as other political parties like the All Progressives Congress (APC) were expected to meet the Order 21 requirements.

Nwuke said the money was paid to demonstrate PDP’s belief in and obedience to the laws of the state.

He advised other parties to toe a similar path arguing that if the party controlled by the governor could pay the money, others had no excuses to flout the order.

Nwuke said no party desiring to use a public facility for rallies including those campaigning for Atiku under the auspices of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council was above the law of the state and must comply with the order.

He dismissed the reports that the N95 million was paid by Atiku’s campaigners as preposterous and a twisted narrative sponsored by the enemies of the state.

The Commissioner for Education, Prof Chinedum Mbom, had through a letter addressed to the Rivers PDP acknowledged the receipt of N95 million from the party leadership.

In the letter, Mbom said: “I hereby acknowledge receipt of your deposit of N95 million only into the state government account, being the required precautionary deposit for the use of your indicated public schools’ facilities in Rivers State.

“Sequel to your compliance with the directive as contained in our letter dated 6th December, 2022, I hereby convey to you, my approval of your request for the use of State-owned schools’ facilities as indicated in the annexure to your application.”