Thursday 26 April 2018

Tension as Akwa Ibom govt marks Buhari campaign office for demolition

Barely three days after the campaign office of President Muhammadu Buhari was opened in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, the state government has marked the building housing the office for demolition, triggering political tension in the state.

The four-storeyed edifice on Wellington Bassey Way, not far from the Government House, is christened, “Hilltop Mansion” by the National Committee of Buhari’s Support Groups, NCBSG, which vowed to win the state in both the presidential and governorship polls.

Recall that Buhari had at NEC meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, last Monday before heading to London announced his intention to seek re-election in the 2019 presidential election, stating that he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to seek a second term.

Following the launch of the campaign office in Uyo on Monday, Vanguard reports that the state government has been uncomfortable with the proximity of the campaign office to the Government House which informed the decision to pull it down with the allegation that the structure does not have the necessary papers.

The report has it that the office building is the only structure designated on the road for demolition by the Uyo Capital City Development Agency, UCCDA, an agency of the state government.

The government was saying to be also planning to revoke the building’s Certificate of Occupancy before proceeding on the demolition.

A source was reported as saying, “The plan is first to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy by the government before demolition. But the question is why would the government condescend so low as to do that? Recall that in 1999, 2003 and 2015, many politicians had their campaign offices on the same Barrack Road and the heavens did not fall. Is it because they were all PDP members and this is APC?”

The report stated that the state government had approached the owner of the building to take over the premises, but the owner was said to have told the state government that NCBSG had already acquired it for use.

Speaking on the development, Chairman, Uyo City Capital Development Agency, Enobong Uwah, told the newspaper that the building was not the only one in Uyo capital city marked, urging owners of such buildings to present their papers, or start the process of acquiring the relevant papers for their buildings.

He said, “Does it mean that any building marked is for demolition? The announcement has been on radio that anybody who does not have the necessary papers should come and do their papers. It is not just that building. It is an on-going exercise. We should not politicize everything.

“I asked my staff about the building and they said that the building was marked early April. So, go to other buildings and they are also marked. If you have papers, you come to the office and present them and if you don’t have, you start the process to obtain the relevant papers.”

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