A’Ibom State government refuses presidential use of Godswill Akpabio stadium

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The Akwa Ibom State Government has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari will not be allowed to use the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, for his campaign next Friday.

However the state government has approved the use of Uyo Township Stadium to replace the use of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium for the president to flag-off his presidential re-election bid in the state.

According to the Commissioner for Sports in the state, Monday Uko, the refusal of President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) use of the Godswill Akpabio stadium is not political in nature.

Uko made it known that the stadium will undergo a renovation process in preparation for the commencement of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) which is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2019.

He said “The next season of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) is scheduled to begin on January 13, 2019. In view of this and the fixtures of home matches for Akwa United FC, it will be practically impossible to ‘re-grass’ the stadium for pre-fixed matches, if used for non-sports activities, because of the nature of pressure that such events bring on the pitch.

“Additionally, The Maintenance Contractor (Julius Berger) had also advised that the present atmospheric conditions being very hostile to the pitch, the facility should not be used for non-sport activities during this harmattan period, so as to avoid inflicting long-term or irreversible damage to the grass on the football pitch.”

He went on to shed light on the annual state-sponsored Christmas Carol night in Uyo which took place in the Uyo Township Stadium, instead of the earlier proposed Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, because of the same reason.

According to him “The stadium from its inception has been under a maintenance contract with Julius Berger Construction Company. They operate all the sensitive and non-sensitive components of the facility.”

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