By Callistus Ewelike
Governor of Ebonyi State Dave Umahi, has barred party logos and symbols during the official visit of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the State beginning from Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists on the eve of the State Visit, Governor Umahi said the decision was to give respect to the president.
He said: “Nobody should come to the stadium with any party logo. We don’t want to embarrass the president. If we invite the president for a state visit and PDP rolls out their logo, it is an embarrassment to Mr President.
“It is a Presidential visit; no party is coming to the stadium with a logo or party slogan of anything. It is just a simple Presidential visit. If they don’t understand they should go and find out what a Presidential visit is and what it entails.”
Recall that the APC in the state had accused Umahi of trying to muzzle opposition and had issued a directive banning the display of all party logos and rallies.
In a full-page advert published in a national newspaper on Monday, November 13, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze, the Acting Chairman, APC, Ebonyi, while welcoming the President wrote: “there is a directive that we should not carry our brooms or display our party symbol anywhere near you throughout the visit.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Umahi has declared that less than N2 billion was spent to execute the flyovers and road projects to be inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abakiliki.
He said President Buhari will inaugurate two flyovers and the 14.5km Abakiliki-Afikpo federal road constructed by the Ebonyi State Government.
The flyovers to be inaugurated are the 700m length of the twin flyover over the Trans-Sahara route running from Enugu to Cameroon, and the Senator Offia Nwali flyover, all in the State capital.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the President will also unveil the statue of Sir Akanu Ibiam, a former governor of the old Eastern region.
On the significance of the visit, Umahi said the state owes the President and his cabinet a debt of gratitude for reviving agriculture in the country.
“Mr President has helped us so much in the area of agriculture and at every given opportunity; I have always commended the CBN Governor, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Solid Minerals.
“The Buhari-led administration has tremendously helped us to revamp the agriculture and solid minerals programmes in Ebonyi State.
“I believe that the President’s visit will afford him an opportunity to see what we have done with the assistance he extended to us in the agricultural and solid minerals sector,” he said.
Asked whether he had faced a backlash from his party, the PDP, after he openly “endorsed” President Buhari for a second term in an interview with journalists recently in Abuja, the governor replied: “no comment.”
NAN reports that in Ebonyi, President Buhari will also perform the foundation stone laying ceremonies for Ebonyi city mall and a flyover named after him.
He is scheduled to meet with stakeholders from Ebonyi and South East traditional rulers in separate meetings before a state reception at the Ebonyi township stadium.
According to Sen. Emmanuel Onwe, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, the State Government has declared Tuesday, November 14, a work-free day to welcome Mr President.