March 2, 2024

Edo LP Rally: Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium Does Not Host Political Rallies, Says Nehikhare

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…Labour Party, is it principled or calculating?

…Edo State government inspires not incites

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Edo State government has been inundated with the recent news going round that the government refused to grant Labour Party (LP) the permission of the use of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign rally.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium does not host political rallies. It’s a sporting facility that Edo State Government has invested so much in and has become the toast of National and international sporting events,” Nehikhare said.

In a press statement issued and signed by Chris Osa Nehikhare, Honourable Commissioner For Communication and Orientation stated that the government considers it very pertinent to address the misleading information by providing the general public with information about what truly transpired.

Part of the statement reads, “The attention of the Edo State Government has been drawn to a Press Release captioned HE PETER GREGORY OBI VISIT TO BENIN, CHANGE OF VENUE signed by Comr. Sam Oroupa, State Pub. Sec. Labour Party.

“Having gone through the issues raised in the Press Release by the Edo State Chapter of the Labour Party, the Edo State government considers it very pertinent to address the misleading information by providing the general public with information about what truly transpired.

“In the first instance, it must be acknowledged that political rallies are not permitted in the stadium.

“However, the letter of request for the use of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium was addressed to the Stadium managers on the 8th of November 2022 and received by 1.30pm of the same day.

“Assuming the stadium permitted the hosting of political rallies, 3 days’ notice to have the stadium facilities prepared and ready for a political event is not only an arduous task but almost an impossible one, considering the time and special care required for the protection of such facility as the tartan athletics track.”

Going further, the statement added, “Furthermore, some of the facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium are under warranty with stringent handling conditions demanded to guarantee the validity of the warranty. As we all know, political rallies are usually very rowdy with the attendant difficulty of crowd control, and therefore require the timely expression of interest for the use of such venues housing delicate facilities. The appropriate approach would have been to avail the stadium managers enough latitude of time to guarantee adequate protection of facilities.

“Let me also allay the misconception of considering it biased for the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium managers to have granted permission for the PDP Presidential rally to hold at the venue. Apart from ample time in requesting and preparing the venue for use, the occasion was the official commissioning of the newly renovated stadium.

“Moreso, as much as the governor, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki was not aware of any ongoing negotiations between the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium managers and officials of the Edo State chapter of the Labour Party, the claim of refusal of other requested venues is uncanny.


“With the knowledge of H.E. Peter Obi’s state visit, the Edo State government in its usual hospitality spirit graciously provided all necessary logistics and protocol supports for H.E Peter Obi and members of the Labour Party to have a pleasant and memorable event. 

“Candidate Peter Obi’s style is a bet on the political future, a wager on the views and values of the millennial generation making its long march through Nigeria’s political landscape. We believe that to maintain that support, his party must be prepared to do things differently, like have a plan and follow laid down rules. The Labour Party in Edo State should refrain from applying a mindset that is so politically tainted to misinform, malign and disregard official protocol. For a political party canvassing it’s capacity to bring about a new order in governance, a basic litmus test should be revealed in the manner of regarding valuable state assets, and very civil manner in dealing with any interest.

“In Edo State, the government believes and works towards inspiring people and not inciting them, a trait Labour Party is now exhibiting and making us wonder if Labour Party is indeed Principled or Calculating?”

Nehikhare also added, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium does not host political rallies. It’s a sporting facility that Edo State Government has invested so much in and has become the toast of National and international sporting events.

“Edo state government is reasonable enough to ensure judicious use of taxpayers’ money and adequate care of all its valuable assets.”

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