By Harris-Okon Emmanuel
UYO—AS the 2019 general elections draw nearer and less than three days after the campaign office of President Muhammadu Buhari in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, was opened, the state government has marked the building housing the office for demolition, triggering political tension in the state.
The four-storey edifice on Wellington Bassey Way, not far from the Government House, is christened, ‘’Hill Top Mansion”.
Sources claimed the state government has been uncomfortable with the proximity of the campaign office to the Government House which informed the decision to pull it down with the allegation that the structure does not have the necessary papers.
The campaign office was launched Monday by the National Committee of Buhari’s Support Groups, NCBSG, which vowed to win the state in both the presidential and governorship polls.
Investigation revealed that the office building is the only structure designated on the road for demolition by the Uyo Capital City Development Agency, UCCDA, an agency of the state government
It is also being rumoured that government also plans to revoke the building’s Certificate of Occupancy before proceeding on the demolition.
According to a source, ‘’The plan is first to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy by the government before demolition. But the question is why would the government condescend so low as to do that? Recall that in 1999, 2003 and 2015, many politicians had their campaign offices on the same Barrack Road and the heavens did not fall. Is it because they were all PDP members and this is APC?”
It was equally gathered that the Commissioner of Police and the state Director of Department of State Services, DSS, were asked to stop the NCBSG office inauguration, but both security heads were said to have refused to act in line with the directive. They, however, provided adequate security for the event which attracted a very large crowd.
According to sources, the state government had approached the owner of the building to take over the premises, but the owner was said to have told the state government that NCBSG had already acquired it for use.
Speaking on the development, Chairman, Uyo City Capital Development Agency, Enobong Uwah, told Vanguard on phone that the building was not the only one in Uyo capital city marked, urging owners of such buildings to present their papers, or start the process of acquiring the relevant papers for their buildings.
He said: ‘’Does it mean that any building marked is for demolition? The announcement has been on radio that anybody who does not have the necessary papers should come and do their papers. It is not just that building. It is an on-going exercise. We should not politicize everything.
‘’I asked my staff about the building and they said that the building was marked early April. So, go to other buildings and they are also marked. If you have papers, you come to the office and present them and if you don’t have, you start the process to obtain the relevant papers.”
Effort to speak with the state coordinator of NCBSG, Ignatius Edet, proved abortive as he did not answer his calls, while the state chairman of the APC, Dr. Amadu Atai, could not be reached at press time.