Angry youths in Bauchi on Thursday twice pelted President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign team with stones and water sachets.
The broom-wielding youths first blocked the motorcade of the President on Nasarawa Street as it made its way to the palace of the Emir of Bauchi, where Jonathan and his team were going to pay homage.
It took the combined efforts of soldiers and riot policemen to disperse the youths, who were chanting anti-Peoples Democratic Party slogans and extolling the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)
Along the popular Ran Road, some of the youths, who were singing “Sai Buhari” disrupted business activities.
In the President’s motorcade were Vice President Namadi Sambo; Governor Isa Yuguda; the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu; and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed.
Also on the convoy were Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa-Ibom) as well as the Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Ahmadu Ali.
Jonathan and his team however made their way to the Ibrahim Babangida Square venue of the campaign rally where they were again embarrassed by another set of broom-wielding youths.
Before the arrival of the campaign team at the venue, the youths were chanting solidarity songs for the President and the PDP. They marched round the venue with drums and placards with the President’s pictures.
They however suddenly turned wild when the programme began and started pelting dignitaries on the platform with objects.
They also destroyed Jonathan’s campaign posters, some of the canopies erected at the venue and plastic chairs.
Water sachets were thrown at the FCT minister while he was making his speech and pleading with the people of the state to vote for Jonathan and the PDP on February 14.
The other dignitaries on the stand had to bend their heads to avoid being hit by the objects that were hurled at them by the crowd.
The obviously embarrassed minister called on Jonathan and other dignitaries to ignore what was happening since it was the “handiwork of the opposition.”
“Fellow supporters of the PDP, let’s ignore what is happening. This is politics. It is the handiwork of those who are bent on destroying politics in Nigeria,” he told Jonathan and the other members of the campaign team.
When Mohammed shouted, “Nigeria, ” the crowd shouted back “sai Buhari,” “Ba mayi,” meaning, “We don’t support the PDP, we want Buhari.”
A security operative, who claimed to have witnessed the incidents, told one of our correspondents in Abuja, that six of his colleagues in the Department of State Security, were injured.
He added that four of them were treated at an undisclosed hospital and discharged immediately while the remaining two were admitted.
The two, according to him, had deep cuts on their heads.
The PUNCH reports that it was very obvious that the President, Sambo and the other dignitaries were not happy with the way and manner they were treated.
This was evident by the look on their faces as they hurriedly left the venue immediately after Jonathan’s speech.
Jonathan, in his speech, vowed that retrogressive forces would not push the PDP behind in its efforts to develop northern Nigeria.
He promised that if re-elected, he would develop the country particularly the North, by educating and empowering youths and women.
The President said, “There are distractions here. We are lucky we are in Bauchi, the home of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, one of the greatest leaders who led this country very well. He is appreciated from the North to the South; the East to the West.
“He never instigated anybody against anybody. He spoke about the unity and development of this country and that is what the PDP stands for.
“We must educate and empower our young men and women so that they will not be used by politicians to cause violence.”
Also, Sambo thanked the people of the state for their reception but advised them to desist from engaging in politics of religion.
He said, “Nigeria is not like Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan which are Islamic countries but in Nigeria we are mixed and we must work together.”
A similar incident occurred on Monday when Governor Isa Yuguda and other dignitaries were stoned at the PDP governorship rally at the Darazo Mini-Stadium by angry youths believed to be supporters of the APC
BY JUDE OWUAMANAM, OLALEKAN ADETAYO AND ARMSTRONG BAKAM