The Anambra traditional council says the choice of venue for its recent meeting with Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was “convenient” for all parties involved.
Recall that on December 15, the PDP candidate met with the Anambra traditional council at the government house in Awka, the state capital.
The meeting was also attended by Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha.
But after photographs of the meeting surfaced on social media platforms, there was backlash over the venue of the meeting.
Some persons insisted it should have held at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha, considering that Abubakar had visited several other monarchs at their palaces.
Reacting to the development in a statement on Tuesday, the traditional council said the meeting point was to avoid “horrendous” logistics.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council (the Traditional Council) has been drawn to the viral social media comments following the courtesy visit of His Excellency, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, GCON, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, to the Traditional Council on Thursday, 15 December 2022.
“The meeting for December 2022, which should have held on Tuesday, 13th, was shifted to Thursday, 15th, in view of the attendance of the Chairman and two Deputy Chairmen of the Traditional Council at the annual general assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria on Monday, 12 December 2022, and the participation of the Chairman at the events marking the 45th Anniversary of FESTAC 77 on Tuesday, 13 December 2022, both in Abuja.
“The change of date had been decided well before the request for the visit by the PDP presidential campaign team.
“The convergence of the diaries for the 15 December 2022 for the PDP courtesy call on the Traditional Council was fortuitous and convenient for all parties, including the Chairman of the Traditional Council who only returned to his domain from Abuja on the previous day.
“The logistics for the Chairman of the Traditional Council, Obi of Onitsha, to first receive the PDP campaign team at his palace at Onitsha and thereafter wade through the normal hours heavy traffic in the city to Awka to preside over the regular meeting of the Traditional Council, including the receiving the PDP team, would have been horrendous for all.
“It is noteworthy that the PDP presidential candidate was not the first to visit the Traditional Council at its chambers at the Government House, Awka.
“Indeed, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, CON, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, former Governor and a most worthy son of Anambra State and Nigeria, first declared his intention to run for the Presidency on the platform of the PDP at the regular meeting of the Traditional Council at its chambers at Government House, Awka, in March 2022.”
The traditional council further said it maintains political neutrality and is always praying for the electorate to choose the best candidates to lead the country.
“This principle is manifested in providing a level playing field to all candidates running for a particular office, admonishing them on the imperatives of free, fair and transparent elections, and praying that the electorates exercise their franchise in favour of the best candidates,” the council added.