The recent attack on President Goodluck Jonathan in Katsina at the PDP presidential rally has continued to trigger anger from members of the PDP, with some pointing accusing fingers at the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a recent press conference held at Abuja, the PDP campaign organisation accused the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), of being the mastermind behind the act, urging him to call his supporters to order.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja yesterday, Chief Femi Fani Kayode, director of media and publicity in the PDP's presidential campaign organisation, described the act in Katsina, Buhari’s home state, as barbaric, despicable, highly reprehensible and very shameful, warning that Buhari would be held responsible if anything unfortunate happens to the President, adding that a repeat of such an act would have grave consequences.
Femi Fani Kayode cautioned, “Let us take this opportunity to also serve them notice that if anything untoward happens to our candidate or his supporters during the course of this campaign we shall hold Buhari and his party responsible and the consequences would be grave, And unimaginable and far-reaching. Meanwhile we call on our millions of supporters all over the country to remain calm and not to indulge in any form of violence or revenge attacks despite this massive and unwarranted provocation.”
Kayode said, “Yesterday, while going to Katsina for his scheduled rally, a group of broom-wielding vandals, chanting “sai Buhari”, hurled stones at the convoy of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who, as you all know, is our presidential candidate in the February 14 election.
“We consider that action despicable, barbaric, shameful and highly reprehensible. It shows very clearly the violent nature, disposition and character of those individuals that were involved and the presidential candidate that they support.
“The Katsina show of shame was the first case of violence unleashed on our candidate by supporters of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, after the signing of the historic Abuja Accord by the presidential candidates of all the parties participating in the election. The purpose of that Accord was to discourage violence before, during and after the election.
“The laudable intention of the Accord has now been irresponsibly violated by a group of miscreants and vandals whose leader has proved to be wholly incapable of keeping them in check and restraining them from indulging in violence. It is worrisome that this kind of violent reaction would manifest when the election has not held and their candidate has not yet lost."
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Also aggrieved by the attack on President Jonathan was the National Public Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh.
In a statement signed by Metuh condemning the attack on President Jonathan, he said the attack was “a clear indication that the APC is not ready to dial back on its rabid desire to attain power through violence despite signing a peace pact a week ago in Abuja”, adding that the PDP would “no longer tolerate such acts of violence on any of its members.
“This brazen attack on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our presidential candidate clearly shows that the APC was never committed to the spirit and letters of the Abuja peace accord which they signed in the presence of prominent Nigerians and international personalities.
“It is unfortunate that while the PDP and other parties are busy ensuring that their members and supporters remain committed to a peaceful electioneering, the APC has been hatching plots to unleash violence on our candidates and members.
“We invite Nigerians, friends of Nigeria and all lovers of democracy to rise in condemnation of this dangerous phenomenon. These early developments clearly demonstrate that the comments and declarations by the leaders of the APC that Nigeria would be thrown into chaos and bloodshed should it lose the February general elections were real.
“We commend the maturity and the ever peaceful disposition of President Jonathan and the leaders of the PDP even in the face of this unwarranted attack."
Chief Metuh, who mentioned that the APC presidential candidate and leaders of the party went to Bayelsa State, the home state of the president, unhurt, said: “The irony which we wish to place on record is that the APC which has successfully completed its campaigns in the South South, including Bayelsa, the home state of President Jonathan without any incident and has even signed a pact to maintain peace, is turning round to unleash thugs to disrupt the presidential campaign of our great party.
''In spite, we wish to assure Nigerians of the iron cast resolve of the PDP to ensure peaceful and credible general elections where the votes of the people shall exclusively determine who emerge as leaders in the general elections”
Addressing the journalists, Femi Fani Kayode was also quick to predict that Buhari and his party would suffer a very serious defeat next month. He said, “We are taking this opportunity to serve notice today that by the grace of God and the support of the well-meaning Nigerian electorate, General Buhari will suffer a crushing defeat in the hands of our candidate, President Jonathan, at the polls.
“When we remember the post-election violence of 2011 after this same candidate lost, you must appreciate the reason why we are raising these concerns.
“We are indeed appalled that the APC and its presidential candidate would allow their supporters, in his (General Buhari’s) home state, to go berserk with the clear intention to harm the President and those who travelled with him. Were it not for the gallant efforts of the security personnel, this small group of violent vandals would have harmed the President and caused damage to the vehicles in his convoy.
“It is pertinent for us to point out the fact that our candidate, our party and our numerous supporters have so far behaved reasonably and responsibly during the course of this campaign and the world can attest to this with the peaceful rally that General Buhari had in Bayelsa State, the home state of our candidate.
“Why couldn’t General Buhari prove his commitment to the Abuja Accord by ensuring that his supporters did the same thing and did not indulge in vandalism, threats and violence? We wish to state clearly and categorically that the behaviour of Buhari and his supporters is unacceptable and that it must cease forthwith.”
You will recall that alleged political thugs on January 20, 2015, attacked President Goodluck Jonathan’s convoy during the PDP presidential rally in Katsina state, General Muhammadu Buhari home state.