By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Federal Capital Territory will be virtually shut down on Wednesday with political activities following Peoples Democratic Party’s decision to reschedule its presidential mega rally to Wednesday after it was denied approval to use the Old Parade Ground Abuja on Saturday.
Wednesday is the date also booked by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its presidential mega rally.
It would be recalled that PDP called off its presidential rally initially billed for today after it alleged the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) denied it approval to use the Old Parade Ground (OPG) in Abuja.
The Director, Administration and Finance, Social Development Secretariat (SDS), the agency that manages the OPG, Hajia Safiya Umar, exclusively confirmed to THISDAY Saturday morning that PDP had agreed to shift its rally to Wednesday at the same venue.
On the same day, APC loyalists will gather for the campaign rally in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection bid at the National Stadium, Abuja. The stadium has a capacity to for 60,000 spectators.
PDP spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan had on Friday described the refusal by FCDA to give approval to PDP to use the OPG as a provocative action against the party after it had made payments to the authorities and obtained official approval.
But Umar insisted that the withdrawal of access to the OPG for the party was made by the agency to forestall bloodshed as an FCT APC faction was also due to assemble for a rally at the venue on the same day (Saturday).
She also confirmed that the PDP held a rally at the same OPG last week without any issue. She similarly validated APC’s right to use the contentious ground, insisting that the ruling party was the first to book the ground before PDP.
She denied that the SDS yielded to pressure from high quarters in making that decision, insisting that SDS is a revenue generating agency.
More to follow…