Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said that contrary to President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim, the President was not interested in a free and fair election.
Amaechi, who was reacting to soldiers’ occupation of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium ahead of Jonathan’s political campaign in the state on Wednesday, said the action of the President was an indication that he (Jonathan) was opposed to democratic norms.
The governor, who spoke in Government House in Port Harcourt on Sunday, explained that it was wrong for President Jonathan to order soldiers to take over the state-owned stadium, even when approval was not given by the state government.
He argued that a President should have respected the position of the state government in an ideal federation, particularly after telling the Peoples Democratic Party to use the Liberation Stadium.
According to him, “Why is the President insisting on using the Adokiye Amiesamaka Stadium after we have told the PDP that work is currently going on there? It is unfortunate that the president is preaching one thing and doing another thing.
“If the President is truly interested in the conduct of a free and fair election, why did he order armed soldiers to forcefully takeover a state government-owned facility when it was not given to him or the PDP?
“Why should a President elected in a democratic election serving under a democratic dispensation order soldiers to take over a state-owned stadium? In an ideal federation, the President is supposed to respect our position, essentially after we asked them to use the Liberation Stadium at Elekahia, in Port Harcourt City.”
In a related development, the State PDP Chairman, Mr. Felix Obuah, confirmed the party’s readiness to use the Adokiye Amiesamaka Stadium on Wednesday.
Obuah said in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media, Mr. Jerry Needam, that the reason given by Amaechi on why he refused the party’s request to use the stadium was unacceptable.
The state PDP chairman argued that the stadium was built with state funds, maintaining that the facility was only conceptualised when Amaechi was a member of the PDP.
He, however, challenged the governor to name any capital project that he implemented since he defected to the APC in November 2013.
Obuah told members and supporters of the PDP to turn out enmasse to welcome the presidential campaign train in continuation of President Jonathan’s bid to earn a second term.