Re-election seeking President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday was shielded from the barrage of missiles attack at his All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential rally in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, the home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is opposed to Buhari’s re-election bid.
Though Buhari escaped being hit by stones that were flying from every direction, the factional National Chairman of the party and former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was not that lucky.
Even Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari’s deputy, was shouted down while delivering a speech at the presidential rally in Ogun, his home state. This happened when he urged party supporters to vote for his boss, President Buhari and APC candidates ‘’all the way’’.
Eye-witnesses say the rally which commenced immediately after Buhari arrived the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, was paused for some minutes following the unanticipated outbreak of violence.
Earlier, Osinbajo who spoke in Yoruba, said Buhari deserved a second term while he listed the administration’s achievements in Western Nigeria. As he said ‘’vote for APC all the way (in reference to other candidates)”, the crowd responded ‘’Noooo’’.
This lasted for some five minutes as Osinbajo begged them to allow him speak. ‘’E duro…e jo, e gbo mi ma’’(meaning, hold on, please listen to me). But the adamant supporters rebuffed his plea and continued to scream ‘’Noooo’’.
The obviously embarrassed Osinbajo ended his speech abruptly and invited President Buhari to the podium.
Violence however erupted when Oshiomhole was invited to the podium for his speech. As he began to speak, persons suspected to be hoodlums started throwing stones at him and one of the stones flew in the direction where the President was sitting.
He was saved by one of the security operatives who took the hit for him. Apparently shocked, the rally was brought to an abrupt end after Buhari raised the hand of the APC governorship candidate in the state, Dapo Abiodun.
Immediately, President Buhari raised Abiodun’s hand, some aggrieved persons threw objects towards his direction, forcing security operatives to form a ring around him.
The development angered the leaders of the party, including former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, who left the podium while the President was making his remarks.
For the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the public pelting and jeering at President Buhari and his APC during his election campaign rally in Abeokuta, Ogun state, is a direct response by Nigerians to his four years misrule as depicted in the expansion of poverty, corruption, divisiveness and bloodletting in the country.
Spokesman of the opposition party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: ‘’It is instructive to note that Mr. President was pelted in Abeokuta barely 24 hours after his Zamfara State rally on Sunday, where he attempted to incite Nigerians to join the APC in their planned resort to violence to derail the 2019 general election, having realized that they stand no chance of winning the election.
‘’The people of Ogun state, and indeed, the South West, have shown that they are in direct alignment with other states and geo-political zones of our country in rejecting President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, whose administration has foisted so much injustice and brought unprecedented pain and anguish to Nigerians.
‘’Mr. President can now see that Nigerians cannot be bought with N10,000, as he was made to believe by Prof. Osinbajo and members of the cabal in his Presidency.
‘’After the unpalatable encounters in all his rallies, Mr. President needs no further signal to show him that the people have completely rejected him, despite his false performance indices. Nigerians are determined to deal him a crushing defeat on February 16 by voting enmasse for the people’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as the next President of our country.
‘’The PDP therefore urges President Buhari and the APC to read the handwriting on the wall and get ready to accept his inevitable defeat so that Nigerians can have a breath of fresh air under the leadership of Atiku Abubakar, whose campaign has continued to receive rousing reception in all parts of the country.’’
Meanwhile, political watchers say the incident may not be unconnected to the crisis rocking the Ogun wing of the APC. Adekunle Akinlade, who vied for the APC ticket, is the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM).
Governor Ibikunle Amosun, a supposed political ally of President Buhari has since adopted the APM after his rejection of the outco