The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has criticised the All Progressive Congress (APC) National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, for demanding apology from him for his alleged refusal to grant the APC permission to use the Abakaliki stadium for its rally.
Mr Oshiomhole had on Saturday called on Mr Umahi to tender apology for denying the party the use of the stadium for their Saturday rally in the state.
Mr Oshiomhole made the call while addressing APC faithful in Ebonyi State at the rally which later held at a playground, beside the Offia Nwali flyover, Abakaliki.
He warned that the governor should not overuse his powers. He said he felt bad when he heard that the governor, whom he described as his friend, could deny his party the use of the township stadium.
“When the people are determined, no obstacle will stop them. I hope he will apologise to his people for denying them access to the stadium.
“I was governor before, I allowed PDP access to the stadium as many times as they wanted. It is just about being civilized. And any time the then president is coming to the state, I rolled red carpet to receive him even when I will abuse his party the following day. Assuming that everybody matters is a hallmark of leadership.
“When you refuse to display power, when everybody knows you have it, you even become more powerful. When you abuse power, you simply become so small and so powerless.
“He who abuse power, abuse will await him. What I want to tell my friend is that the stadium belongs to the people, the governor is the manager of this public facility. The manager does not drive away the shareholders.
“You are the shareholders and I don’t want to say more than that. But if I’m pushed I will ask the people question. If we were to take it in other level and the federal government decides that the governor should not drive on the federal government roads, what happens? Somebody said he will fly. What if we stopped him from flying through federal government airport? What happens?” Mr Oshiomhole asked.
But Mr Umahi in a reaction on Sunday described the statement as childish and pure blackmail aimed at scoring public sympathy.
Mr Umahi who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, described the statement as APC propaganda.
“It is very shameful for APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to have made the statement credited to him while in the state.
“He has not disappointed Nigerians on his usual naked dance when he said Governor Umahi denied his party usage of the PA Ngele Oruta Stadium which is undergoing reconstruction”.
“It became more childish for the national party chairman who had earlier called Governor Umahi on phone and informed him of his coming to the state to have made such ridiculous statement whereas he was aware of the decision of a faction of his party to shift the date for the rally to 11th August.
“Oshiomhole and Umahi have shared great friendship before this rally and as a sitting governor, Umahi while in Edo State to conduct governorship primary election of PDP in 2014, did not only pay a courtesy call on Oshiomhole but had personal interaction as brothers despite their differences in political associations. This is a pure example of political maturity exhibited by Umahi which APC lacks”
“One would have expected Oshiomhole as a senior comrade to show respect to a sitting governor if he was not hypocritical in his alleged relationship and tolerance for opposition. But he decided to fly into Abakaliki, enjoyed the ambience of a serene environment and drove round a beautiful city with the best road network in the country and then mounted the podium and started spewing his usual political blackmail which he has been known for”
“More worrisome is his visible silence over the factions in his party in the state and his inability to fuse the divided party into one but has descended so low to demand apology from a sitting governor over a stadium that is under construction.”
Mr Umahi’s spokesperson also gave an indication that his principal’s rumoured planned defection to the APC was not true.
“APC has been rejected by Nigerians and Ebonyians have no reason whatsoever to identify with a political party without known direction towards betterment of the country. This is what Oshiomhole should be concerned about and not waiting for apology from Governor Umahi because he will have to wait forever.”