Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje has ordered the reopening of the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar Mata, to enable Atiku Abubakar, of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hold his presidential campaign rally.
Spokesman for the Kano State Sports Commission, Abbati Sabo, had told an online newspaper The Cable that Ganduje ordered the immediate renovation of the stadium to put it in shape for the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season.
But a government source, according to the online newspaper, said the shutdown of the Sani Abacha Stadium was intended to frustrate the campaign rally of the PDP.
Atiku’s rally is scheduled for February 10 while the renovation works had been fixed to end on 18 February.
However, the commissioner for information in the state, Muhammad Garba, said the contractor in charge of the renovation had been directed to remove all equipment from the the stadium till after the PDP presidential rally.
“As a democrat who believes in freedom of association, His Excellency the governor did not order the closure of the stadium to frustrate the campaign rally of the PDP. The stadium only closed for the intended renovation works,” Garba said in a statement on Wednesday.
Concise News understands that the proposed general renovation reportedly included the installation of a new scoreboard, the running track and provision of sources for steady water supply to all parts of the stadium.
Kano is likely to play a major role in the outcome of this month’s presidential poll as, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec), the pyramid state has the highest number of registered voters for the 2019 elections. More than five million people registered to vote in the state.
Buhari had emphatically defeated Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 elections with a margin of nearly two million votes.
This year’s Presidential election is scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 16, 2019, alongside National Assembly polls.
While the governorship election and State Houses of Assembly elections are scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 2019.