Kwankwaso Stopped From Using Eagle Square Abuja To Declare For President

The Federal Capital Territory Administration has withdrawn an earlier approval granted to Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso to use the Eagle Square for his formal presidential declaration for the Peoples Democratic Party ticket in the 2019 elections.

This came barely 24 hours before the commencement of the event which was scheduled to take place at the square. 

Who is behind this 'political' move?

A statement from the Kwankwaso Campaign Organisation in Abuja, on Monday, said the FCTA administration had earlier granted it permission to use the facility only to change its mind hours to the event.

The campaign organisation’s statement partly read, “In a letter dated August 27th, 2018, and signed by Usman Mukhtar Raji for the Facility Manager and received on August 28th, 2018, barely 24 hours to the scheduled declaration, the Abuja International Conference and Eagle Square, managed by the Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd., has reversed itself in respect of the approval granted the organisers of the declaration of Senator Kwankwaso.

We at the Kwankwaso Campaign Council see the development as a handiwork of the government in power who will not see anything good in growing our fledgeling democracy as no level-playing field has been created to allow for the viable opposition in the country.

“Even at that, earlier on Tuesday morning the Abuja International Conference and Eagle Square, managed by the Integrated Facility Management Services Ltd., refused us access to inspect the premises demanding us to present a police permit, when actual approval for the use of the Eagle Square has been sought and paid for more than one week to the said declaration.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running a dictatorial government by allegedly allowing the police to stop Kwankwaso from using Eagles Square.

In a letter dated August 27, 2018, and signed by Usman Rajim, the FCTA had explained why it cancelled the earlier permit it granted the Kwankwaso Campaign Organisation to hold the event at the venue.

It said that it cancelled the event because the date earlier approved fell on a working day and that holding the event there would affect the movement of workers around the Federal Secretariat.

The letter read in part, “With reference to the approval letter dated 20th August, 2018, granting our approval for the use of Eagle Square on the 29th August, 2018, we are sorry to inform you that the event can no longer hold on the said date because it is a political event, and 29th August 2018 happened to be a work day, as it would disrupt the usual workflow of the federal secretariat. We apologise for the oversight on our part to note the date in relation to the nature of the event.”

The FCT Administration could not be reached for comment. The Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Cosmas Uzodimma, could not be reached for comment as calls to his phone indicated that it was switched off.

Reacting to the development, the CUPP through its spokesman, Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, blamed President Buhari for the action.

He said the excuse of the facility managers was not tenable.

He cited four examples to debunk what he described as “stupid excuses” by the facility manager.

He said that on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the Buhari Youth Support Organisation organised a rally at the Eagle Square and that on May 29, 2015, which was on Friday, Buhari was sworn in at the Eagle Square as President.

Again, he said that on Wednesday, June 13, 2014, APC had its national convention at the square where John Odigie-Oyegun was elected and Buhari and APC leaders were there.

He said that the day was a working day.

Again, he said that on November 19, 2014, which was on Wednesday, APC had its salvation rally that had Buhari, el-Rufai and other chieftains of the APC in attendance, also at the square.

So where are these excuses coming from,” he asked.