- Controversy is brewing in Bayelsa state in the south-south region of Nigeria
- Opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has raised an alarm concerning intimidation
- A chieftain of the party, Engineer Preye Aganaba, says the government have denied them the use of a public facility
A member of the APC national convention committee and chieftain of the party in Bayelsa, Engineer Preye Aganaba, has raised an alarm that the government was denying the party the use of the multipurpose hall within the state's stadium meant for the party's state congress.
The APC state congresses are scheduled to hold nationwide on Saturday, May 19.
Aganaba, in a statement on Friday, May 18, sent to Legit.ng, also alleged that the government was doing everything possible to frustrate the conduct of APC state congress having applied for the use the facility.
He said the reason for denying APC the use of the public facility was still unknown to the party.
His words: “The state government is denying us the use of stadium for APC state congress meant to take place in Bayelsa. We have properly applied and we were not told that the facility will not be available for us. To our surprise up till now the state government has refused to approve the facility for us.
“It is on record that APC's parallel ward and local government congresses in Bayelsa state were peaceful and there is assurance that tomorrow's exercise is not likely to witness crisis. So, on what grounds are we being denied the use of the state facility?
“The government must be told that we are all indigenes of the state, we are not foreigners. We have right to association and political party of our choice, so we don't deserve to be treated like outcasts.”
While urging Governor Dickson to have a rethink, Aganaba, who was a senatorial candidate in 2015, said, “it will amount to political intolerance if the state government refuse APC the use of a public place like stadium for a national exercise.”
Reacting, the spokesman to the Bayelsa state governor, Francis Ottah Agbo, when called by Legit.ng denied the allegation.
According to him, “Governor Henry Seriake Dickson is one governor who brooks opposition. He is so kind, he is so civil and civilised to the extent that once you apply for a public space, he obliges you with it.
“For example, in the run off to the last election, Timipre Sylva who applied for the Samson Siasia stadium, and the governor made it available to him and his party, the APC.
“Also, When President Muhammadu Buhari came to Bayelsa state to campaign as a candidate of the APC in 2015, the governor made the stadium available to him.
“Governor Dickson is a governor that allows the opposition to thrive because he is a democrat to the call.”
Meanwhile, the APC on Thursday, May 17, inaugurated 5-member state congress committees to conduct congresses in different states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Saturday, May 19.
Three-member committees were also inaugurated to entertain appeals that may arise from the state congresses.
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