Home Nigeria Outrage trails attack on Atiku Abubakar’s campaign convoy in Borno

Outrage trails attack on Atiku Abubakar’s campaign convoy in Borno

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Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

OUTRAGE was the word, yesterday, as scores of supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, were injured when hoodlums, attacked their convoy in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Vanguard gathered that Atiku’s convoy was attacked just as he left the Palace of the Shehu of Borno to Ramat Square, venue of the presidential rally.

The injured persons have since been rushed to hospitals in the state capital.

Minutes before the presidential candidate took to the stage, the spokesperson of the Atiku’s campaign council, Dino Melaye, announced that the convoy of the campaign council was attacked and no fewer than 174 supporters were injured in the process, while over 100 vehicles in the convoy were vandalised.

He accused the All Progressives Congress, APC, of trying to stop their campaign in the state by deploying thugs to attack them.

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He said: “They deployed their thugs to attack our convoys with stones, sticks, machetes as we left the Shehu’s Palace to come to the Ramat Square, all in an attempt to stop our rally.”

Dino lamented that the “thugs were deployed to many strategic locations to attack our supporters. But we want to assure them that nobody can stop us.”

The attack elicited condemnations from Arewa Constultative Forum, ACF, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, MBF, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Chief Akin Osuntokun, who warned that the development could hurt the 2023 general polls. The outrage came as Borno State Police and the APC debunked the attack with the police saying it provided security for the campaign convoy and ensured peace all through the campaign.

Atiku laments growing APC attacks on PDP rallies

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar specifically raised alarm over what he said appears to be an orchestrated attack on PDP campaign rallies by suspected thugs engaged by the APC.

In a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, the PDP flagbearer explained that the presidential campaign rally of the PDP held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital was the first to be held in the North-East region, where he hails from.

He lamented that hoodlums wielding APC’s flag attacked the convoy of vehicles conveying dignitaries to the venue, saying: “It is rather unfortunate that the APC in Borno State mobilized some of its members to attack the convoy carrying dignitaries who had earlier paid a courtesy visit at the Shehu of Borno palace to the venue of the rally.

“While it is well understood that such barbaric behaviour is typical of the APC, it must be noted that, this time around, it is specifically the last kick of a dying horse. The APC, apparently overwhelmed by the large turn-out of supporters to greet our presidential candidate, resorted to anti-democratic actions to scare the crowd away from the rally.”

Our supporters didn’t attack Atiku — BORNO APC CHAIRMAN, DALORI

Reacting to the alleged attacks on Atiku’s convoy in Maiduguri, the Borno State Chairman of the APC Mr. Ali Bukar Dalori, said, APC supporters did not attack any convoy of the PDP in the state as alleged.

Dalori, in an interview with Vanguard described Dino Melaye’s allegation as a lie.

“I am disappointed by the allegations made by Dino Melaye that some APC thugs attacked Atiku’s convoy while in Maiduguri for their presidential campaign rally.

“We all know that since Governor Babagana Zulum took over the mantle of leadership, he banned political thuggery across the state. Our ruling party is a law abiding political party and that was why we as a government did not deny PDP venue for their rally as witnessed in some states.

“All I know is that there is no PDP in Borno, and if Dino Melaye lacks what he will tell the people of Borno on what they intend to do to canvass for votes, he should desist from fabricating lies against our party.”

No attack on Atiku’s convoy  BORNO POLICE COMMAND

In like manner, the Borno State Police Command, in a statement by Police Public Relations officer, ASP Sani Kamilu Muhammed, said the convoy of Atiku was not attacked in Maiduguri.

The statement read: “There has been a fake news trending propagated by some mischievous element across the social media that has attracted the attention of many Nigerian, alleging that the PDP presidential candidate convoy was stoned in Borno on the 9th/11/2022 while holding a campaign rally in the state.

“The Commissioner of Police CP Abdu Umar was physically present to supervise the place. The command wishes to state authoritatively that the news is not only fake but also false and mischievous attempts by some unguided people to incite disturbance and distract the peace of Borno people and Nigeria at large.

“The campaign/rally was conducted successfully, as tight/adequate security coverage were emplaced throughout the activities. The candidate and his party were accompanied to the Shehu’s Palace by the Police to pay a courtesy call to Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-amin El-kanemi, after which they were escorted until they departed the town.

“It is worthy of note that one person named Danladi Musa Abbas, 32 years old, who attempted to disrupt the convoys along the Airport Road was arrested by the Police inside a church after a hot chase in an attempt to escape. He is under the command’s custody with a stone which is an exhibit.”

Dangerous precedent — MBF

In spite of the APC and Police statements, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, said that the attack on Atiku’s convoy in Maiduguri was a dangerous precedent that should be investigated.

National President of MBF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu in his reaction in Makurdi said, “It is a sorry and unfortunate development. We are supposed to have matured politically and also gone beyond that kind of thing.”

ACF condemns attack

In like manner, the Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Murtala Aliyu said: “Our position on that is to condemn it in clear terms. The politics of violence is not in our character.

“So, we condemn it in absolute terms, we call on politicians to rein in their supporters and ensure that we play clean politics.”

Warn your supporters against attacks, PANDEF tasks politicians

The Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF, on its part said it is wrong for politicians to allow their supporters to engage in attacks.

National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Mr. Ken Robinson, said: “As we approach the 2023 general election that in the interest of national security and interest of our democracy that people fought hard to secure, lives were lost and a lot of sacrifices were made. Politicians should be able to caution their supporters and called them to order.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo asks security agencies to brace up

Also condemning the attack, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, through its National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia, said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Ndigbo Worldwide condemns and detests violence in whatever form, to whoever it affects and at wherever it occurs.

“It is very unfortunate that the presidential campaign convoy of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was attacked in Maiduguri.  It is very sad that Nigeria has nosedived to this abysmal level where people move about with great fear and trepidations.”

It’s condemnable — AFENIFERE

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Mr Jare Ajayi expressed shock and urged the Federal Government to ensure such does not repeat itself.

Ajayi said: “Afenifere is shocked to receive the news of the attack. It does not matter whether they are politicians or not, the fact that they are Nigerians, it is condemnable and it is something we are not happy about at all.

Attack on Atiku, tip of the iceberg-OSUNTOKUN

Also reacting to the attack, Mr Akin Osuntokun, Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo condemned the attack on the former Vice President warning that the attack is a tip of the iceberg.

In a chat with Vanguard, Osuntolun said: “Quite frankly I’m not surprised given the level of the socio-political toxicity of the Nigerian environment. It is just another reminder of the fact that Nigeria is pregnant with violence and the violence has overwhelmed the Nigerian security agencies and the Buhari presidency.

Politics in Nigeria, a bit complicated — CAN

On its part, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, said politics in Nigeria is complex and hard to fully understand.

Speaking to Vanguard, a senior member of the CAN, whose name was withheld because of the decision of the religious body to steer clear of partisanship ahead of 2023, described the attack on Atiku’s convoy as a repeat of a similar experience of Muhammadu Buhari before he became President in 2015.

He said: “The politics of Nigeria is a little bit complicated. We are just repeating what happened in the past.  Even before Buhari became president in 2015, he was attacked by the people who had reportedly asked him to be their spokesman. You will recall that there was a bomb situation with him in Kaduna in those days.

The source also expressed the views that there may be more to the attack than meets the eye wondered: “Could the attack on Atiku’s convoy be a diversionary tactics? Sometimes, these things are hard to fully understand and difficult to explain.”

How I’ll provide security, revamp Lake Chad Basin, others – ATIKU

Meanwhile, Atiku, while addressing thousands of his supporters at the rally, sympathised with the injured and said no amount of intimidation can stop the PDP from sending the ruling APC packing from Aso Rock and Borno State Government House in 2023.

Atiku Abubakar  reiterated his commitment to fight insecurity in Borno State and the entire country if voted into power in the 2023 polls.

Atiku also pledged to reduce taxation and revamp the Lake Chad Basin in order to support farming in the state.

The former vice president, who spoke mostly in Hausa told PDP supporters in Maiduguri that the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar Garba, requested things, which include oil exploration, security, water supply, agriculture and education, which he assured the monarch would be done if PDP gets elected in 2023.

“The Shehu of Borno in his speech asked for three to four things and I, in my capacity as Zannah Santa of Borno, promised that if Nigerians elect me, I’ll do them in Borno by God’s grace. First, he said he wants us to revive the Chad Basin Authority.

“When I was working in Borno, it was working fully and provided employment opportunities. Secondly, he asked me to bring back a peaceful atmosphere in the state.

“You can’t achieve anything without peace and I’m promising to restore peace because there’s no reason why there should be security issues in Borno at a time like this.”

He thanked the people of Borno for the massive reception accorded him in the state, and urged them to vote for PDP at all levels during the 2023 polls.

He said: “People of Borno, we thank you very much for this reception and support. We look forward to the day you will vote for PDP from top to the bottom.

Why Ayu wasn’t physically present during Borno campaign — Aide

However, the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu’s absence from the party’s campaign rally raised concerns among party stakeholders. Ayu was also absent at the flag off of the party’s 2023 Governorship, State and National Assembly campaign in Makurdi, the Benue State Capital, on Monday.

Explaining Ayu’s absence from the Maiduguri rally, Special Adviser to the PDP National Chairman on Media and Communications, Simon Imobo-Tswam said,

“He (Ayu) was held back by other very pressing engagements. There is nothing to it at all as the party is ably and powerfully represented there, led by the Deputy Chairman (North).”

“Incidentally, the National Chairman hails from Benue Senatorial Zone B, the same zone as the State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who is one of five aggrieved governors of the party insisting on Ayu’s resignation for peace to return to the party.

Crisis erupted in the party soon after the Presidential primaries which former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, defeated Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike among others to clinch the sole ticket.

The crisis took a turn for the worse after Wike and his supporters felt slighted that the Rivers State Governor who was also a contender for the Vice Presidential ticket was side stepped.

Since then, Wike and four of his colleagues: Samuel Ortom (Benue), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) among other party chieftains have insisted on Ayu’s ouster as precondition for their participation in the party’s presidential campaigns.

vanguardngr.com

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