Two presidential aspirants on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wednesday condemned the Federal Capital Territory Administrator’s refusal to allow Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano, use Eagle Square to declare his presidential ambition.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki and former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku in their different statements, said the move has sent out a wrong message about the country’s democracy.
Saraki, who reacted through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement Wednesday, said the development connoted intolerance in the country’s politics.
He said: “The refusal to allow senator Kwankwaso to utilise the Eagle Square for his presidential declaration, despite an earlier approval, sends a wrong message about our democracy, particularly the tolerance level in our politics.
“That square belongs to all Nigerians because it was built with public funds. We hope this is not what we will be seeing as we approach the 2019 general election.”
On August 20, Eagle Square was approved for Kwankwaso’s use after he applied for the premises and paid a sum of N2.2 million.
The senator representing Kano central used Rasy International and Properties Limited, a private firm, to make the application.
But on August 27, Integrated Facility Management Services Limited, the firm in charge of Eagle Square, said the event could no longer take place there.
“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 working day, as it would disrupt the usual work flow of the federal secretariat,” the firm said in a letter written to Rasy International.
“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.”
In his reaction, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, described the development as unfortunate, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari was availed of the opportunity to use the facility when he declared his intentions for the 2015 elections without hindrance.
In a tweet Wednesday, Atiku condemned the “last-minute cancellation” of the approval granted to Kwankwaso.
Atiku wrote: “The last minute cancellation of an approval granted @RMKwankwaso is unfortunate. On October 15, 2014, under the @officialPDPNig led administration, then presidential aspirant; @MBuhari, declared for President at Eagle Square with no hindrance whatsoever. This was a work day.”
Meanwhile, the police have denied sealing off Eagle Square, as alleged by the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP.