Thugs attack Atiku’s supporters in Gombe


… Analysts predict more troubles ahead

By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi

The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party appears to be escalating on a daily basis, spilling over to various states in the country.

It is also becoming clear that the effects of these crises are becoming unpalatable, if not unbearable to the leaders of the party at the national level. For instance, the embattled national chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu, is alleged to have withdrawn from the party’s public rallies for safety reasons. He has been absent at PDP’s campaigns in the past three weeks.

Analysts fear that if not resolved fast, the crises besetting the PDP might spell serious doom for the party and its leaders in their quest to reclaim power during the 2023 general elections.

For instance, the campaign held by the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday in Gombe State did not end on a sweet note. There was a bloody clash between Atiku’s supporters and Kalare boys towards the end of the event. About five persons allegedly sustained injuries during the clash.

Also, the windscreen of a bus, a car and one tricycle were smashed.

But surprisingly, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Usman Muritala, allegedly denied knowledge of the incident when contacted, fuelling speculations that all is not well within the PDP in Gombe.

Muritala was quoted as saying when contacted: “I was not on the podium and was only there as an official of the party so I sat like every other person to watch the whole show. There is a division in the party, a very big one.”

It was learnt that the incident took place at the second gate axis of the Pantami Stadium. “By then, Atiku had already left with his team. So, the boys descended on defenceless supporters who came for the programme were on their way home through the second gate of the stadium,” a source narrated.

According to the source, the Kalare boys were all armed with dangerous weapons such as swords, clubs, bows, cutlasses and daggers.

It was further learnt that it took the intervention of the police before the situation was brought under control to enable people escape.

“The police that provided security at the rally were not at the spot when the incident started; they were at the other side – the main entrance, that’s gate one. So as the incident started, people started shouting, and the whole place was rowdy, with confusion and tension everywhere. That was when police noticed that there was a problem, and they quickly rushed to the second gate and began to calm the situation. The boys couldn’t stand the police, so they retreated and went to the road,” the source added.

The ugly attack by the hoodlums forced many supporters to be stranded at the Pantami Stadium until the police restored order. The Kalare boys later blocked the route to Pantami market and Government House, attacking passers-by.

Speaking earlier, the Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku, promised to revitalise Gombe as the centre of the North-East, stressing that it deserved to be more prosperous with special emphasis on empowerment and construction of roads.

He said: “As far as I’m concerned, Gombe is homecoming is my own home. Let me reiterate the promises we have made if, by the grace of God, by your support, we promise that we will empower Gombe. Gombe naturally is a business centre in the Northeast; we promise to empower your businessmen to expand their businesses so that they can create more jobs for our young men and women.

“We also promise that the Dadinkowa dam, which was built by the PDP government to provide electricity and irrigation, is reactivated for both to be made available in the Northeast. We also promise that if you support us in electing a PDP government, we will make sure all the roads linking Gombe with Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, and Bauchi are reconstructed to enhance trade and commerce.”