Empty hall as Osinbajo visits Abia for Niger Delta summit
. Organisers begging people to fill vacant seats
From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Abia International Conference Centre Umuahia , venue of the on-going 3rd National Council on Niger Delta was virtually empty on Thursday despite the fact that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is being expected to grace the event.
As at 1:25 pm when our correspondent visited the venue, only few persons were seen in the over 2000-sitting capacity hall.
Initially, security operatives who manned the major entrance door to the hall were insisting that anybody entering must have a tag or be denied entry.
They also subjected journalists to either produce their registration tag or go get accredited.
It was another huddle at the accreditation booth outside the main building as those in charge insisted that journalists must produce their invitation letter or a text message inviting them to the event or leave the premises.
There had been grumbling among local journalists in the state including Correspondents of various national media outfits as they were shut out of the event by the organisers.
One of those in charge of accreditation was overheard blaming the state local Organising committee for not inviting local journalists.
The lady who did not want to be mentioned also blamed the committee for apparent low publicity about the event saying that when they arrived at the state there were no awareness unlike the case when the summit was held in Ondo State.
She said all taxi cabs right from the airport had a flex on the summit in Ondo unlike Umuahia where cab drivers were not even aware of what was happening.
As she was still making her outbursts, a top Government Official stormed the booth directing that everybody be allowed to go into the near-empty hall to avoid embarrassing the Vice President who he said was already airborne.
Consequently, the entrance door was thrown open as anybody sighted around the complex was persuaded by the organisers to go in and help fill the vacant seats.
As at the time if filing this report ( 1:53 pm), majority of the seats inside the hall were still empty even as no Governor from any of the Niger Delta State had showed up.
Only few Government officials and delegates from other states were seen expressing frustration over the development.