By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) will kick off his zonal presidential campaign for the February 2019 Presidential poll on Friday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The president will be accompanied by the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC, ministers, head of MDAs, governors, senators and other party leaders to Uyo for the opening rally of the presidential campaign for 2019 general elections.
The APC campaign squad is expected to be hosted by Senator Godswill Akpabio, Senior Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matter (Senate), Ita Enang, and other Akwa Ibom State APC leaders.
In the build up to the Friday presidential campaign takeoff, the State APC had some squabbles with Governor Udom Emmanuel over the use of the Obong Attah International Stadium, Uyo, for the rally.
The governor had turned down the request by the State APC for his approval for the use of the State stadium to host the president. The governor had declined approval citing the Nigeria National League that will be resuming in January 2019, noting that the grasses could be damaged and may not be replanted before the leagues begins. He also cited the contractor handling the project, Julius Berger, which he said have sent their workers on end of the year holidays who have travelled out of the country.
The Akwa Ibom State APC, however, protested the decision, petitioning the governor with urgency for a change of mind, promising that they will not damage the stadium as feared by Governor Emmanuel.
The Akwa Ibom later changed his mind and approved the use of the 30,000 capacity stadium for the APC presidential rally.
Meanwhile, APC in the South-South has been mobilizing party members and supporters across the six states of the zone from Rivers to Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, the host state, unto Delta and Edo states, to ensure mammoth crowd gathers to receive President Buhari and his entourage at the Uyo rally.
Meanwhile, the APC presidential campaign train is trailing behind the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who have already concluded zonal presidential campaign rally in four zones from the North West to the North Central, South West and North East before December. The PDP presidential campaign squad would be resuming in January to complete the zonal rallies and then commence state by state campaigns.