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.
The attack took place on November 9th and it was 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.
All injured persons were rushed to hospitals in the state capital immediately.
Mere moments 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 had been attacked and no fewer than 174 supporters were injured in the process, while over 100 vehicles in the convoy were vandalised.
Melaye accused the All Progressives Congress(APC) of trying to stop their campaign in the state by deploying thugs to attack them.
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 strongly 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 various bodies all over the country who saw it as an affront to free democracy in the country.
Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, MBF, Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Chief Akin Osuntokun,were among those 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.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar particularly raised alarm over what he called 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 flag bearer explained that the presidential campaign rally of the PDP held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, was the first campaign to be held in the North-East region, where he hails from.
He lamented that hoodlums who attacked his convoy were 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 mobilised 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.”
BORNO APC CHAIRMAN, ALI BUKAR DALORI DENIES ATTACKING PDP CONVOY
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 denied Dino Melaye’s allegations and called them lies.
“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.”