By PETER OKUTU
THE governorship candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Ebonyi State, Ambassador Frank Nchita Ogbuewu, has indicted Governor Martin Elechi of allegedly disallowing him use of Abakaliki Township Stadium for flag off of his campaign scheduled for February 5.
But Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Dr. Onyekachi Eni, in a swift reaction, denied knowledge of such claim, noting that the governor was committed to promoting the peace and unity of the state.
Ambassador Ogbuawa described the governor’s act as a destructive mechanism which would not promote the growth and sustenance of democracy in the state, adding that there was no need for the state government to deny citizens of the state the right to make use of public facilities for social activities as political campaigns, if its policies in the past three years were people-oriented.
Ambassador Ogbuewu, who disclosed this in Abakaliki yesterday while inaugurating a high-powered campaign committee, which would enable him prosecute his political aspiration in the forthcoming general election, noted that both the calls and memo titled: “Protest on Gang up against my request to use Abakaliki Township Stadium” placed across to the Governor were not given any reply.
The memo read: “Your Excellency sir, I called you this morning but you did not pick. May be you were too busy. Permit me sir to lay my complaint to you. On 10th January 2011, I wrote to the acting Director of sports, Ebonyi state sports council requesting for his approval to use Abakaliki Township Stadium on 5th Feb. 2011 to flag off my campaign and he instructed me to direct my request to the secretary to Ebonyi state Government.
“In response to this directive, I wrote the secretary to Government on the matter. In his reply, dated January21, 2011, through Mr. S.O. Agha, a permanent secretary, he requested that I direct my application to Ministry of Youths and Sports, which is the supervising Ministry for Abakaliki Township stadium. Even the application presented to Honourable Commissioner for Youths and Sports since Monday, January 24, 2011, has not produced any response.
“I am requesting you, sir, to use your good office and direct the approval that I use the Abakaliki township stadium for my flag-off campaign.”
He lamented that the alternative venue which the party secured was also fought against by the state government until the party petitioned the State Security Service, SSS, before it was released.
He said: “It is unfortunate that the government of the day sem not to understand that politics is all about appealing to the people. We deed all we could and government denied us the use of abakaliki Township stadium.
“I called the governor twice, he did not pick my calls. I sent text, yet no response. I wrote him a letter, yet he has not replied. Why is the government agitated? APGA is a registered political party. If he feels he has done so well, he should relax. I hope that this will not continue. After he denied us the use of the stadium, we paid for Peoples Club. After that, they took caterpillars to the place to destabilize the area. I have to petition SSS.
“If I were the governor today, you won’t see my postal or bill board because my work would speak for me.” He added.
On the ongoing voter registration in the state, Ambassador Ogbuewu expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, saying it was incredulous for materials such as ink and other essential tools for registration of voters to be insufficient at some polling centres in the state.
However, the gubernatorial candidate for APGA who also chose Mr. Jacob Chukwu as his running mate commended INEC to her role in the registration of voters across the country adding that the exercise would assuredly aid the elimination of rigging during elections if properly conducted.
He said: “on the whole, we are better than what it used to be before. We are hopeful, that the ongoing voter registration exercise would curtail rigging during elections. I will remain peaceful through out the elections.