Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Delta Govt Exposes LP's Deceit Over Rally Venue


 


Delta State Government said the issues about the venue for the presidential campaign rally of Labour Party (LP) were intentionally created by the party with a ploy to blackmail Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the People's Democratic Party (PDP).


The state government said despite approving the Oshimili Arcade for the rally which held on Monday even when the LP failed to apply, a chieftain of the party, Prof. Pat Utomi still went about alleging that they were denied by the state government.


Addressing a press conference in Asaba, Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said Utomi and his party were being deceitful, explaining that the state government did not only approved the venue, it also granted the party waivers.


Aniagwu said he received a call from Mr. Kelly Ajufo on Sunday morning to request for the venue, which was expressly granted as the venue was not previously booked.


He said apart from the Arcade, the party never requested for any other venue for the rally, regretting that just about ten minutes after the place was approved, Prof. Utomi went to social media to raise false alarm that the state government was preventing LB and it's presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi from campaigning in Delta State.


"Application is not only about whether people can use a place, it also enables us to prepare for the security of individuals that are coming for the rally because it falls within our responsibility to protect everybody who live and do business here irrespective of political party affiliation or alignment.


"In this case, they never did. We waived the issue of the application which they should have done, we waived the payment, we even take responsibility to clean up the place after they used it.


"It was a Sunday morning phone call for Monday event, that we acted on to make the place available.


"In spite of doing that, within ten minutes of making it available to them and asking them to take over the venue, Pat Utomi wanting to tell a lie, went to the social media and alleged that we denied them of the venue," he stated.


According to him, the government pre-empted the LP and it's followers, adding they would have capitalised on the excuse of non-approval of venue to cause confusion in the state, in pretence that they have the crowd.


"We knew what they wanted to do, they thought we would hold on to the fact that they didn't apply, and then make it look like every person is their own, and they will say Asaba is shut down. 


"So when they went to that venue, you saw the number they pulled. If it were to be before, it will be everywhere in the social media that Asaba is shut down.


"So the idea of Prof. Pat Utomi lying to Nigerians is not what we need as a country at this point in time, every political party should be free to campaign so long as you did not infringe on the right of every other person. 


"And that is what we are doing in Delta. It is credit to our democratic credentials to allow every candidate, every political party to campaign, mount their billboard as far as it does not deface public institutions. We also allow parties to site their offices wherever they wish. 


"You can see the campaign offices of various political parties close to Government House because in democracy, people should be free to express their aspiration without having to infringe on the right of others. 


"It was very bad for Utomi to think that we would have fallen into that trap. We challenge him to produce the letter written to the Secretary to the State Government demanding for any venue, and then let him also produce any letter in which we denied them. Let him also deny that it was not on Sunday morning they spoke to me.


"The man who called me, Kelly Ajufo claimed to be over 70 years old, he pleaded with that it was their fault, that they sent somebody and the person could not deliver the message as at when he was sent. 


"They demanded the Arcade and not any other venue, Ajufo even pleaded that we should give them anticipatory approval while they go and bring the letter. I told him not to worry that he should assume that the phone call should be the application. 


"And we went as far as telling them not to pay a fadden, and instead of writing a letter to commend us, they are busy telling Nigerians that we prevented them.


"So Prof. Pat Utomi and members of his party should know that our desire to rebuild Nigeria should not be based on lies and blackmail. Our desire to rebuild Nigeria must be based on truth and character.


"We appeal to the likes of Utomi not to derail our democracy by telling lies. If it was a beer parlour discussion, we would have ignored him but coming from a professor, people will believe him. 


"Utomi does not need a lie to make impact in this election, they don't even have pathway for such impact, so lying cannot become their pathway," he added.


He explained that the state government was very liberal, allowing all political parties to campaign, noting that such campaigns were of no effect as Deltans are already stuck with PDP.


Aniagwu said the performance of Okowa and the PDP government since 1999 has made the party endearing to the people in the state.


"We are very much on ground, one because Okowa has performed, he is touch with the people at the grassroots. Long before now, PDP has been an indigene of Delta, and it is not in a hurry to fly away. 


"Anybody can come and campaign in Delta, the floor is open, so long as that venue is available because their coming to campaign will not change anything. Deltans are confident that the PDP has done so well in the last 24 years. We are not disturbed by those antics, he insisted.


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