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OSHIOMOLE AVERTS CLASH BETWEEN FIRST LADY AND BUHARI’S WIFE
The Edo State government on Wednesday took steps to avert what could have resulted into a possibly violent clash between the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, over the use of the Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
According to reports, the makings of a clash were set when wives of President Goodluck Jonathan and the APC presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari, Patience and Aisha respectively, were accidentally billed to address political rallies at the stadium on Saturday, March 14 at the same time.
However, the state governor, Adams Oshiomole, intervened and instructed that the venue be yielded to the First Lady while the APC candidate’s wife would be given an alternative venue.
The mix-up which reportedly emanated from the state Ministry of Youth and Sports, has led to the compulsory retirement of the permanent secretary, Samuel Obaze Uhunmwangho, from service by Governor Oshiomhole.
According to press statement by press secretary to the governor, Peter Okhiria Uhunmwangho was retired from service “for withholding information crucial to the interest of the government and the general public”.
The first signs of the impending clash emerged on Wednesday when Edo State chairman of the PDP, Dan Orbih, announced while speaking with journalists in Benin, that the First Lady would visit the Oba’s Palace before proceeding to the stadium to address women and party supporters.
Displaying a letter from the state government approving the use of the stadium for the PDP rally, the party chairman affirmed that it paid N1, 050, 000 to the Internal Revenue Services for the use of the stadium.
“We shall receive the First Lady at the stadium. We have concluded all plans to give her a wonderful reception. She has been a pillar of support to Mr. President, ” he stated.
The Edo State government reacted to this development, stating that the mix-up was occasioned by the laxity on the part of the officials of the sports ministry who, without reference to their supervisors, collected payments from the PDP on Tuesday for the use of the stadium.
The Edo State commissioner for Information and Orientation, Louis Odion, alleged that the ministry officials were actually aware that the APC had applied and received approval for the use of same facility this Saturday since the previous week.
“In fact, jingles were already running on local television and radio stations announcing that the wife of APC’s presidential candidate would be in Benin that day to deliver the message of change to Edo women.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that being the owner of the said facility, Edo State Government reserves the right to insist that the party that got approval first would use the stadium,” the commissioner said.
“But we are civilized people. In deference to the office of the First Lady of Nigeria, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has graciously directed that Mrs. Patience Jonathan have her day on Saturday while the wife of the APC presidential candidate will have her turn another day”, Odion added.