Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Friday defended his government’s decision not to approve the use of the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium for a Labour party rally in the state.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the Governor said the notice for approval arrived too late.
Mr Obaseki said the government received notice 24 hours to the event.
“The tracks for that stadium are still under warranty,” he said. “The pitch has to be maintained in a certain mould. So it’s not just another facility you can use without preparing.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Obaseki’s party, had used the stadium for a rally on October 22.
He said the PDP met the conditions for using the stadium.
“And the only reason why we allowed the PDP rally was because it was also used as an opportunity to commission that facility. Otherwise most other rallies are held in other large grounds around the city.”
Mr Obaseki said he was disappointed with the Labour party.
“I thought they were more serious,” he said.
‘We are on ground’
Many believe the government’s decision to refuse the stadium’s use for the Labour party was due to Mr Obaseki’s fear of Peter Obi’s rising political profile.
Mr Obi is the presidential candidate of the Labour party in the 2023 elections.
Mr Obaseki dismissed such an idea on Friday.
“They can show us virtually but not on the ground,” he laughed.
“We are on ground. We’ll see. It’s February 23rd.”
Meanwhile, a large number of people showed up on Friday as Obi visited Edo state.
Mr Obi, who had been in Abia State on Thursday, said he was grateful for the reception.
“What an awesome and OBIdient crowd in Benin,” he said in a tweet. “I am deeply humbled by Edo people’s show of love and support.”
In Benin-City, Mr Obi visited the Oba of Benin.
He was also pictured with popular cleric, Apostle Johnson Suleman.