*vehicles damaged, many injured, supporters stopped from entering Maiduguri, tricycles, taxis relocated out of town
By; SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri
Maiduguri city was set on tension when the 2023 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa on Wednesday, arrived Maiduguri metropolis and received warm welcome from PDP members and supporters at the Maiduguri International Airport.
From there, he headed straight to the Shehu of Borno’s palace to pay homage to the royal father, the HRH, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai Umar El-Kanemi with warm reception from the residents and supporters of PDP.
But unfortunately for the PDP Presidential Candidate and his convoy, one Aisami Kolo, 49 years old man living in Shehuri Ward, closer to the Dandal scene of the clash said, “immediately the convoy left the Shehu’s palace, eye witnesses told our correapondent in a telephone conversation that ,”the situation was very tense and ugly as the presidential candidate’s convoy was attacked by armed youths, suspected to be political thugs of some All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidates, allegedly backed by CJTF, where more than 10 vehicles in the convoy were pelted with stones and wood to the extent of breaking some vehicles’ windscreens and rear glasses”.
Another eye witness , Yagana Modu, a 32 years old woman said, “I saw with my naked eyes youth numbering about 50 with cutlasses and knives, bearing stained faces loitering around the Dandal road and Premier Cinema side up to the Dandal Police Station.
“These armed youth shocked me and created fear and tension in the area as immediately the youth launched attacks on the PDP convoy which we suspect are APC youth. The PDP youth also retaliated and it became a scene of serious clash between the PDP and APC youth, resulting in majority of them injured from knives and cutlasses as well as sticks,” Yagana said .
Another eye witness, Zanna Adam, a 19 years old boy said, “But I can not say whether there was dead record or not. However, the casualty was high on both sides. Policemen were helpless as the youth were not even bothered about the presence of the security people. Some residents both youth and old were busy running away from the scene while some were rather approaching the scene of the clash to see for themselves what was happening..
“I was even scared that I had to sneak from the house to link up with the Ramat Square venue of the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, which is closer to the scene, Ramat Square near the Dandal Police Station to witness the event”, Zara said.
The spokesman of the PDP Presidential Candidate, Senator Dino Malaye confirmed the attacks and casualties, mentioning that over 10 vehicles windscreens and rear glasses were broken, about 74 youth wounded and rushed to hospital, while a few others were not serious cases.
He also disclosed that over 5,000 APC supporters and members have willingly dumped their party to join PDP, mostly were from northern and southern parts of the state, with a few from the central part of the state, where mostly are areas PDP have been in control even during elections.
The spokesman added that PDP supporters and members from Southern Borno and Northern Borno were intercepted and denied access and entrance into Maiduguri city for the PDP Presidential rally.
However, Senator Malaye had insinuated that 74 youth were hospitalized, but he did not mention the name and location of the hospital where the wounded youth were. But it was reported that about 200 vehicles carrying PDP supporters and members from Askira/Uba, Gwoza, Pulls, Banki, Bama and Konduga axis were stopped from entering Maiduguri for the rally, which some made phone calls to report the situation to their party candidates at the Ramat Square venue of the rally.
The Borno Police Command has also confirmed attacks on the PDP Presidential Candidate’s convoy around Maidoki (House Man) where some unscrupulous elements tried to disrupt the movement of the convoy, where a suspect ran into a church around the roundabout, named Danladi Musa Abbas, 32 years, and was arrested for attempting to disrupt the convoy after being reported and is in police custody undergoing interrogation.
The PPRO, ASP Sani Shatambaya who stated this while addressing newsmen at the police headquarters Maiduguri, said the State Commissioner of Police, CP Abduu Umar calls on the people to stop spreading rumours about the attack as the Police Command is in top gear on the situation to arrest other suspects alleged to be involved.
He also said that police escorted the convoy to the Shehu’s palace successfully and rally venue, where the Presidential rally was also conducted peacefully, without disruption, while noting that no reports were yet to be received about any vehicle destroyed so far neither any death reported.
At the Ramat Square, the Borno State PDP Gubernatorial Candidate, Alhaji Mohammed Ali Jajeri called on the people of Borno to vote for PDP to be relieved from their poverty, hardship and suffering as well as economic empowerment to address unemployment and lack of access to farmlands under adequate security to boost their socio economic activities.
The 2023 PDP Presidential Candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who is also the Waziri of Adamawa, thanked the people of Borno for their support and disclosed that when he paid homage to the Shehu of Borno at his palace on arrival, the royal father blessed him and requested that efforts should be made to provide electricity to his subjects, revive the Lake Chad Basin for agricultural purposes by his people, reactivate oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin to create employment for his people and provide adequate security for the return of permanent peace in the state and create job opportunities for his people among others, which he assured the royal father.
.Atiku said,” we will boost the economy. We will provide job opportunities. We will return the country back to its past glory and position as the giant and wealthiest of Africa. We will provide security to lives and property better than what it is today.
“We will boost industries and manufacturing facilities for Nigerians. We pledge to Nigerians. We told Shehu of Borno the same thing. If voted into power, by the grace of God, we will fulfill our promises if elected into power next year.
“You have seen what those you voted in the past did to you. Next year vote for PDP and for me, if you vote for me and PDP,, we shall by the grace of God, reciprocate the gesture. Thank you. Vote for me and PDP. We shall address your problems to fulfill our promises.
“When we paid homage to Shehu of Borno. One of the requests he made to.me is security, peace, reactivation of Lake Chad Basin, for our farmers to resume farming activities. He also requested for the reactivation of the oil exploration at Lake Chad Basin.
“We assured him if voted into power, we will fulfill our pledges Insha Allah. And so we shall do it if voted . Thank you very much a d God bless you,” Atiku said.