“We are sorry to inform you that the event can no longer hold on the said date because it is a political event and the 29th of August, 2018 happens 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. We regret every inconvenience caused by this.”
The above statement is an excerpt of a letter from the facility manager of the Abuja International Conference Centre & Eagles Square, informing the Kwankwaso Campaign organisation about its denied access to the Eagles Square, Abuja, venue for the official declaration of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso to run for the office of the President on Wednesday.
The venue had been reportedly approved by its managers and paid for over a week ago, but the Campaign Organisation was refused access to the premises on Tuesday.
It remains a huge surprise to many how such a decision was taken under an administration that prides itself as an anti-corruption crusader, especially with President Muhammadu Buhari standing in the position as Africa’s anti-corruption ambassador.
More so, Buhari had used the same premises for his presidential declaration in 2014 during a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) administration, shortly before he participated in the Presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) where Kwankwaso came second, and after which he went on to defeat the (incumbent) President Goodluck Jonathan in the March 28, 2015, Presidential Election.
It is not news that the former Kano Governor has had a long-running battle with his successor, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, part of which led him alongside 14 other Senators to defect from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in July, but if his popularity in the Northern Nigeria, as well as his acclaimed Kwankwasiya Movement is anything to go by, he is indeed a formidable candidate for the forthcoming elections.
That this development is coming a few weeks after the invasion of the National Assembly by the Department of State Services (DSS), regardless of the action of the Vice President in addressing the issue at the time, leaves us with many questions as to how democratic the President really is.
The Buhari administration has continued to demonstrate intolerance to opposing views in his quest to return to Aso Rock in next year’s general elections and this action speaks loud of the arm-twisting of public institutions to serve private or group interests. This is clearly demonstrated in the letter explaining that the Kwankwaso Campaign Organisation was turned down use of a public facility as the Eagle Square, despite meeting all the requirements, on the grounds of it being a political event.
Most worrisome is the fact that this same administration came to power under the banner of an opposition group, leading them to make history as the first opposition party in Nigeria to oust an incumbent administration at the centre.
While this cannot be solely attributed to their sagacity, structure or campaign strategy, one will recall that the actions of the previous government did contribute significantly to its rejection by the Nigerian electorate. Sadly, however, the APC-led federal government have in one way or the other repeated similar actions of the PDP administration.
With the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari administration carrying out more actions as this, it may just be safe to arrive at the conclusion that we may be expecting for the first time, a back-to-back defeat of incumbent administrations at the polls by a disenchanted electorate.