People believed to be supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have reportedly clashed with those backing former Kano governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, over 2019 presidential election, witnesses say.
The clash occurred on Wednesday in Jada, the birth place of Mr. Abubakar.
Residents told PREMIUM TIMES that supporters of Mr. Abubakar and the Adamawa State governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, attacked some youth for wearing red cap in support of former Kano governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Messrs. Abubakar and Bindow had visited the town on Wednesday ahead of the turbaning of the newly-appointed traditional ruler of the town on Thursday.
Those attacked were members of the Kwankwasiyya Movement in the town who are supporting Mr. Kwankwaso, who is believed to be planning to run for president in 2019. Mr. Abubakar is also expected to run.
The thugs were said to have gone after anybody wearing red cap, a symbol of support for Mr. Kwankwaso and those wearing black cap, signifying support for former Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako.
“As I am talking to you at least 10 of our youth are in the hospital because of the serious nature of the wounds inflicted on them,” a resident, Bamanga Mohammed, said. “Sadly, the whole scenario played out before the eyes of policemen who took no action.”
He said the thugs appeared to have been brought in from neighbouring Bauchi State to go after Mr. Kwankwaso’s supporters.
“We are saddened that someone who claimed to be from this town will import thugs from another state to launch attack on his own people for expressing their political choice,” he said.
Source of conflict
Another resident, Yusif Yahaya, told PREMIUM TIMES that trouble started after the youth accused the former vice president of influencing the choice of the new emir.
He said most indigenes had wanted the son of the late emir, known as Chubado, to succeed his father, but the younger brother of the late emir, Ardo, a friend to Mr. Abubakar, was instead chosen.
“Since then, the youth and indeed many people here moved their loyalty to Kwankwaso and they set up the Kwankwasiyya movement with strong membership in Jada and Ganye,” he said.
Mr. Yahaya said the investiture of the new emir was fixed for Thursday and news filtered in that both the former vice president and Governor Bindow would arrive Jada Wednesday.
“Kwankwasiyya members mobilised themselves and called on all their people to wear white clothes and red cap.
“When Atiku’s convoy arrived town, his thugs saw one man by the road side wearing red cap and they descended on him beating him mercilessly. As we speak, he is still in the Hospital battling for life,” he said.
Another resident, Ibrahim Jereng, said the thugs descended on anyone they was wearing red cap.
“They even went to the shop were the red caps are produced and seriously beat the people in the area with all sorts of dangerous weapons. They completely destroyed the shop,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES understands that calm has returned to the town and both Messrs. Abubakar and Bindow have proceeded to nearby Ganye town where the Mr. Bindow’s Deputy, Martins Babale, would be conferred with the traditional title of Shettima on Friday.
Atiku not involved
When contacted, the spokesperson of Atiku Abubakar, Paul Ibe, said no one from the former vice president’s side was involved in any form of violence.
He said even if some people attack others, how were they identified as being Mr. Abubakar’s supporters.
“Were they wearing a T shirt bearing Atiku’s name. Was there anything on them showing them to be Atiku supporters?,” he asked.
Mr. Ibe said the political situation in the country is now at a stage where people ferment trouble to bring others down.
“The security details attached to his excellency got wind of the plans by some people to cause trouble and relevant agencies were alerted.
“I am aware that the security agencies advised them to stay away and they stayed away,” he said.
Mr. Ibe said, “this is not the kind of politics that Atiku engage in. He can never allow violence around him.