- I’ll restore Lake Chad Basin Irrigation Programme, Reactivate Oil exploration
By Abdulkareem Haruna
Violent clashes ensued in parts of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, on Wednesday, Nov. 8, when the Presidential candidate Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, flagged off zonal his 2023 campaign in the Northeast zone.
PDP Presidential Campaign spokesman, Dino Melaye, said as many as 70 people were injured as the supporters of the state’s ruling party attacked the convoy of the Presidential candidate.
This claim was however debunked by the State Chairman of the ruling APC in Borno state, Ali Bukar Dalori, who said the incident painted by Mr Melaye was no correct.
Atiku scheduled his northeast zonal presidential campaign rally on Wednesday, where the opposition party supporters from the six states were in attendance. Ahead of his visit, the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) has also mobilized its supporters to the streets in what seemed to be a show of political force.
Lined up the entire stretch of the route that led from the airport to the venue of the rally at the city centre, supporters of both parties filed out to outmarch each other.Q
Mr Atiku who arrived in Maiduguri at about 11 am visited the palace of the Shehu of Borno, His Eminence Abubakar Allamin Elkanemi, where he paid homage before heading to the venue of the rally.
On the way to the venue, a group of APC supporters were all armed with sticks and stormed attack the convoys and destroyed many vehicles.
An eyewitness said “many of the PDP supporters who tried to resist the attackers were mobbed and injured in a violent clash.”
Confirming the incident, while speaking during the rally, Mr Melaye said reports reaching him indicated that “74 persons were injured and hospitalized while more than 40 vehicles were pelted and destroyed.”
Mr Melaye, a former Senator from Kogi state, said there has been a massive mobilisation to frustrate the rally.
“But we have overcome their plot and here we are still holding the rally peacefully.”
“The APC has failed the people of Northeast and they have nothing to show for it other than violence.”
Earlier, the PDP Governorship candidate in Borno state, Mohammed Jajari, alleged that “the Borno state government had in the last two weeks spent over N5 billion in plotting the failure of Atiku’s rally in Borno. They have blocked all the routes linking the local government with Maiduguri just to prevent our supporters from coming to attend the rally.”
The streets of Maiduguri were swept of all taxis and commercial tricycles before and during the PDP Presidential really as sources close to the Borno state government alleged that officials were deployed with cash to pay them to stay at home till Mr Atiku leaves.
This allegation was confirmed by the PDP State Chairman, Zanna Gaddama, who told the rally that “we are aware of how all Keke Napep and taxis have been paid to stay off the streets to create fake low turnout of crowds to welcome our next President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.”
Atiku Promises Restoration of Peace, Revival of Lake Chad Irrigation Programme
Addressing the crowd, the PDP Presidential candidate, Mr Abubakar said he would address the issues of insecurity, oil exploration, the two years of blackout in Maiduguri, education and healthcare.
“I visited the His Royal Highness the Shehu of Borno and he has asked me to tackle some critical problems faced by Borno state, which include the restoration of peace and security of the state, and w we promised him that we would do that when God grants us victory come 2023.
“The Shehu asked for the reconstruction of federal roads, and the revival of the Chad Basin Development Authority so that we can in increased food, we promised to do that.
His Eminence has asked us to provide jobs for the youths in the and also reactivate the exploration of oil and gas in Chad, we have promised him that we will do that for the people of Borno and the northeast in general.
“We are going to restore the electricity and take Borno out of the darkness. We are going to end hunger in the land.”
Earlier the Director General of the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign council, and Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal, urged the crowd to vote for his party’s candidates, saying that his party is committed to addressing the issues of insecurity, and unemployment.
The vice presidential candidate of the PDP said Atiku should be the next president of Nigeria because “We are tired of hunger, We want youths to be employed,
We want health service and good schools.”
“When you have a problem, look for a man that knows the solution, and that is Atiku. We cannot afford to allow the APC beyond 2023; they must go
“Youth must come out to vote. ”
Atiku will bring us a new life come 2023; that is the Nigeria we look forward to.”
The high point of the occasion was the reception of APC defectors into the PDP by the representative of the party’s national chairman, Iliya Damaged.
APC Denies Allegations
Reacting to the alleged attacks on Atiku’s Convoy on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the Chairman of APC in Borno state, Hon Ali Bukar Dalori said, there was no incidence of attack by APC thugs on any convoy of the opposition parties in the state as alleged.
“I am disappointed by the allegations made by Dino Meleye that some APC thugs attacked Atiku’s convoy while in Maiduguri for their Presidential Campaign really,” he said.
“We all know that, since Governor Babagana Zulum takes over the mantle of leadership, in his acceptance speech was to Ban all political Thuggery across the state.
Our ruling party is a law abiding political party, and that was why we as 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 would lack what he will tell the people of Borno on how they intend to canverse for votes, he should desist from fabricating lies against our Party”. Hon Dalori stated.