By Najib Sani
President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaign in Bauchi on Thursday turned violent when some thugs who converged at the Ibrahim Babangida Square, venue of the event, hurled shoes, plastic water bottles and other objects at the canopy where the president and members of his campaign team were delivering their speeches.
Although security operatives intervened to stop the thugs from disrupting the event, several vehicles coming out of the venue, belonging to the PDP presidential campaign team, were stoned while tyres were burnt.
The violent youth also clashed with security personnel deployed around Ran road and the Bauchi central market where a police patrol van was set ablaze by irate youths.
The Police Public Relations Officers [PPRO], Bauchi State, Haruna Muhammed, confirmed the violence but promised to provide journalists with details later on.
Earlier in his address at the rally, Mr. Jonathan lambasted the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, accusing the party of instigating Nigerians against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]-led government.
Mr. Jonathan challenged the APC to enumerate its achievements, and not seek cheap popularity.
He said that PDP stands for peace and that no retrogressive force can put the party behind.
Mr. Jonathan said his government has reduced the prevalence of polio virus in Bauchi state, and assured that before the end of the year, the virus will be completely eradicated in the whole nation.
He cautioned the youth against acts of violence during and after the election, saying if re-elected, he will invest in youth empowerment through micro small scale enterprise, agriculture and education.
According to Mr. Jonathan, “since oil is dwindling, we would embark on the excavation of the abundant solid minerals in Bauchi, so that indigenes of the state will be employable”.
“If re-elected, I will ensure that I work with the governorship candidate to bring the dividend of democracy to Bauchi State,” he said.
In his remarks, Vice-President Namadi Sambo cautioned politicians who are using religion and ethnicity to divide Nigerians to desist forthwith, stressing that Mr. Jonathan had no hatred whatsoever towards northerners, contrary to the falsehood being peddled by some politicians in the North.
“These politicians trying to use religion and ethnicity to divide Nigerians must stop. People are fabricating falsehood that Jonathan is discriminating against the North. I believe in equity and I don’t cheat people, I always ensure that projects are distributed equally across the country,” he said.
He urged the people to ensure that they collect their Permanent Voters Cards to enable them vote in the election.
“Ensure that you collect your voter’s card because without it, you cannot exercise your franchise in the coming election,” the vice president said.
State governors present at the event were Isa Yuguda, Bauchi; Ibrahim Dankwambo, Gombe; Goodwill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom.