- Plateau state governor has given an explanation why President Muhammadu Buhari could not deliver his speech during the party's rally on Saturday, January 19
- Governor Lalong said Saturday’s massive turn-out of Plateau people to welcome the president
- According to Lalong, President Buhari appreciates the people of Plateau state
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau has described Saturday’s mammoth crowd at inauguration of the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari as an automatic endorsement of his candidature by people of the state.
Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was in Jos on Saturday, January 19, in continuation of his nationwide campaign for the February 16 general elections.
The Rwang Pam Township Stadium, venue of the event, was jam-packed by ecstatic party supporters, who kept hailing the man they love and admire so much.
So much was the surge that the President could not eventually address the crowd.
After waiting for about an hour, he waved at the appreciative gathering and left for Abuja.
Governor Lalong, who fielded questions from State House correspondents in Jos, said Saturday’s massive turn-out of Plateau people to welcome the president was not a surprise as similar incident was recorded in 2011 and 2014 when he (Buhari) visited the state to campaign.
“Well, I think this is unique to Plateau. In 2011, when he came (to Plateau) he couldn’t even come down. So he had to leave that way, he just greeted the crowd and left.
“In 2014 when he came we were able to manage the crowd for him to address them but before he got out of the stadium it was terrible for us.
“So, for Saturday’s rally we tried to manage the crowd, we did all we could but the crowd was too much and you saw it yourselves, this was not a hired crowd.
“This was a mammoth crowd that loves Mr President, natural love for Mr President. We did our best to manage the crowd but it was overwhelming.’’
The governor added that though the president could not speak to the crowd he was satisfied with the outcome of the rally
“In other words, the crowd can also say we don’t need anything. We have confidence, Mr President, go and finish your second term.
“I’m very well satisfied with the outcome of the rally because this is a way of our people saying Mr President even without addressing us we have confidence in you,’’ he said.
Buhari had on Saturday at the rally received some political heavyweights who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP bigwigs, who defected to the APC, included Senator Victor Lar, Awalu Dankurma, Senator Sati Gogwum, Honourable Jacob Kassem, Barrister Simon Barry, Burki Ayuba Gufwan, and Wokduna Kanam.
There were also other politicians, who defected to the APC from other parties.
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Buhari had in a statement on Saturday by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, lauded Plateau people for turning out in their thousands to welcome him into Jos, lining the roads right from the airport, defying the raging sun.
He also thanked them for their steadfastness over the years, and for continued faith in the administration.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that President Buhari was unable to give his prepared speech as a large crowd overwhelmed security at the venue of his election campaign in Jos on Saturday, January 19.
The president was reported to have taken almost 30 minutes to reach his seat after arriving the Rwang Pam stadium.
The crowd, believed to be supporters of the president's party, surged toward the podium while some climbed the top of vehicles in the entourage of the president. He also left the venue of the rally as security personnel battled unsuccessfully to push the crowd back.
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