Officials rescind decision to allow Atiku campaign at Old Parade Ground, Abuja

By Dirisu Yakubu

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  has decried the alleged directive by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency to shut down the venue for its Presidential campaign mega rally in Abuja billed for Saturday, describing it as an act of desperation.

Former vice-President Atiku Abubakar speaks during the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s national convention in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on October 6, 2018.
Nigeria’s main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has picked Abubakar to challenge President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking a second term in presidential polls scheduled for February 2019. / AFP PHOTO /

The party, however, said regardless of the stand of government, the rally would go on as planned.

In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP flayed the Buhari-led government for the development, noting that the facility was duly paid for earlier enough.

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“It may interest Nigerians to know that the PDP duly paid and secured permission to host our mega rally at the Old Parade Ground, in Garki Area of Abuja, only for the officials of the facility to inform our party this morning that they have been “ordered” to shut down the venue and frustrate our mega rally for no just cause.

“Such resort to self-help further exposes the irredeemable insensitivity of the Buhari Presidency and the APC,” the statement read in part.

The party added that the action of government may not be unconnected with what it called the “overwhelming popularity” of its Presidential candidate.

“The overwhelming popularity of the peoples’ candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which points to an imminent crushing defeat that awaits President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 16, Presidential election has pushed the Presidency into a panic mode.

“President Buhari has always been disheartened and jittery over spontaneous mammoth crowd of Nigerians at Atiku Abubakar’s rallies across the country, leading to the desperation to frustrate our rallies, resort to smear campaigns, vandalizing of our campaign materials and denial of venues, in APC controlled states, as was the case in Kano state recently.

“President Buhari is frustrated because he has failed in governance and as such, has no message for Nigerians. President Buhari daily continues to lose followership, in millions, to Atiku Abubakar; for which his handlers have now resorted to renting people for his rallies, including Nigerien thugs.

“The Presidency and APC would soon realize that the more they fight Atiku Abubakar, the more Nigerians are spurred to queue behind him as the rallying point in their quest to return our nation to the path of national cohesion and economic prosperity,” it added.

The party further counselled President Buhari not to allow his handlers to pitch him against the Nigerian people.

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