Policemen and other security agents had a hectic time at the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Thursday when a presidential aspirant , Atiku Abubakar , submitted his presidential nomination and expression of interest forms to the party ’ a leadership .
The forms are to enable him to take part in the party ’ s presidential primary slated for October 6 in Abuja .
The large turnout of his supporters led to commotion among them, as some of them
engaged in a free for all . The commotion that followed made the policemen to shoot repeatedly into the air to disperse the unruly crowd.
Signs that the national headquarters of the party would witness a large turnout of Atiku’ s
supporters started emanating as early as 8 . 55 am, when his supporters were seen with different banners and drums .
Singing and dancing, the supporters also carried different banners , posters with Atiku’ s
The former Vice – President later arrived in company with his branded campaign cars at
the party ’ s secretariat some minutes after noon .
Suddenly , some of the supporters were sighted running around the secretariat chasing a few others with cudgels , a development that led to a stampede at the secretariat gate .
Investigations by our correspondent showed
that the fight started when some political thugs
believed to have come around with flags and
tags of a rival political party were noticed
around the PDP secretariat .
Attempts by some supporters of Atiku to engage
them (those with the rival political party flag )
led to violent reaction and resistance.
This led to a serious fight in which dangerous
weapons were freely used.
The fight , which spread to adjourning streets in
the area, led to the beating of a man believed to
be a fan of Atiku .
The early intervention of policemen , who fired
several gunshots into the air to disperse the
unruly crowd, saved the situation from
An eyewitness , who is also a supporter of the
Presidential aspirant , spoke with journalists on
how the incident started .
He said , “ The fight started when some thugs
with the APC posters attacked us along the
Michael Okpara Street opposite the party
“ The APC supporters started singing songs
against the supporters of the former Vice –
President . The supporters of Atiku retaliated,
before fight broke out.
“ We, the supporters of Atiku , said that the
thugs came to disrupt the event .
“ We believe that the thugs were sent to disrupt
the event and cause crisis to put Atiku in a bad
light . ”
Attempts by policemen to restore order
worsened the already tense situation .
Worried at the degenerating situation , the
policemen fired gunshots into the air , an action
that further caused further stampede among
the supporters .
Corruption worse now than it was in 2015 ,
says ex – VP
However , Atiku said that he would not have
been contesting the presidential election , if
Nigeria was working.
He said he was sad because of the large
number of unemployed youths in the country.
Atiku spoke after submitting his forms to the
National Organising Secretary of the party , Col.
Austin Akobundu ( retd . ).
He said , “ I have just submitted my nomination
form to the Peoples Democratic Party to
officially declare my intention to seek the
nomination of the party to run for the office of
the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
in the election scheduled for 2019 .
“ This is a sober moment for me . Today marks
the beginning of my journey , our journey
together , to get Nigeria working again .
“ I would not be seeking this nomination if our
country is working. I am very sad that 11
million Nigerians have become unemployed
since May 29 , 2015 .
“ And this does not include the millions more
who never had a job since leaving school . I
have created thousands of jobs in my private
businesses and I know how to lead a
government that would do the same for Nigeria .
“ It weighs deeply on my heart that Nigeria has
become the world headquarters for extreme
poverty according to the World Economic
Forum and the World Poverty Clock .
“ I am not happy that there are so much killings
and terror across the country that the Global
Terrorism Index rates Nigeria as more
terrorised today than she was in 2015 . ”
He said he was not happy that Nigeria “ is
perceived to be more corrupt today than it was
in 2015 , having moved 12 steps backwards from
136 in 2014 to 148 today , in the Transparency
International ’ s Corruption Perceptions Index . ”
While saying that 136 was bad enough, he
added that 148 was simply unacceptable and
shameful , especially under a government that
claimed to be fighting corruption .
Atiku also condemned the violent incident ,
which he said was perpetrated by trouble –
makers at the headquarters of the party .
In a statement in Abuja , the presidential
aspirant stated that it was uncalled for and
undemocratic for any group of individuals to
turn an otherwise happy political event into a
fracas that threatened the lives and well – being
of party supporters who were at the event by
choice to support their candidate and party .
The Waziri Adamawa also called on supporters
of all political parties to show maturity and
allow the democratic process to proceed
unhindered in the interest of the parties and
aspirants as well as the nation .
He urged his supporters to show restraint even
in the face of provocation .
Atiku praised the police and other security
personnel for containing the situation and
protecting innocent and law – abiding supporters
at the venue .
He advised that Nigerians should always allow
peace to reign in “ order for our leadership
selection process to be reliable and credible . ”
The former vice – president said he was
optimistic that with the neutral and effective
conduct by the police , “ there is hope that
Nigeria would get the 2019 elections right to the
satisfaction of all Nigerians . ”
APC thugs responsible for pandemonium ,
Meanwhile , the PDP has cautioned the National
Chairman of the All Progressives Congress ,
Adams Oshiomhole , to caution his members
who it alleged were detailed to disrupt
activities at its national secretariat .
The PDP said while it could understand that the
APC had allegedly been distraught over the
renewed surge of Nigerians to the repositioned
opposition party , it alleged that the ruling
party ’ s resort to banditry and violent attack on
“ our secretariat is a handshake taken beyond
the elbow and will not be tolerated . ”
The National Publicity Secretary of the party ,
Mr . Kola Ologbondiyan , stated this in a
statement while reacting to the pandemonium
that followed the submission of forms by Atiku
He said , “ The world witnessed with dismay ,
how the APC thugs , brandishing their party ’ s
famished brooms and charms ; armed with
machetes and other dangerous weapons
stormed our national secretariat which has
become a beehive of activities and attacked and
wounded our members and supporters before
they were dispersed by security operatives .
“ The PDP had repeatedly warned against APC’ s
proclivity for violence and unprovoked attacks ,
but we never imagined that their desperation
for power will drive them to the insanity of
attacking our national secretariat .
“ Intelligence report available to the PDP shows
that the thugs were assembled and mobilised
from the national secretariat of the APC .
“ We therefore charge security agencies, who
also witnessed this attack , to immediately
investigate this development, arrest and
prosecute all individuals and officials of the
APC connected with the attack .
“ Moreover, the unleashing of thugs by the APC
against our law – abiding party members and
supporters , is particularly revealing of those
behind some of the violent attacks on innocent
Nigerians in various parts of the country. ”
Atiku ’s rented crowd , not our party
responsible for crisis – APC
When contacted, the acting National Publicity
Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena , said , “ Our
party had nothing to do with what happened in
“ We have it on good authority that it was the
hired crowd of the presidential aspirant (Atiku )
who fought over the money they were
expecting and did not get . They should leave
the APC out of their troubles . ”