The Guardian Newspaper Headline (13th February, 2019)
PDP campaign house burnt in Kano, 20 injured in Ekiti clash
Suspected hoodlums have invaded the house of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Kano, Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and set it ablaze.
This came barely 24 hours after violence forced the presidential rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State to be hurriedly brought to an end.
The building, which was recently converted into a political office and is located around Chiranchi quarters in Gwale Local Government area of Kano State was reportedly burnt and property worth millions of naira destroyed.
It was learnt that the hoodlums who took advantage of the PDP presidential campaign activities on Sunday to perpetrate the criminal act are still at large.
The spokesman of the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Kano, Sanusi Bature, accused the ruling APC of sponsoring the dastardly act.
Bature, in a statement, alleged that the over 60 hoodlums led by a personal assistant to a top political figure in the state carried out the burning of the house.
“The thugs set the house ablaze and vandalised a Volkswagen Golf – III model with registration number NSR 237 AE. The same thugs were those who attacked the Kwankwasiyya leaders and their supporters during an annual Eid durbar of Hawan Daushe at the Kofar Kudu of the Emir’s Palace in Kano.
“The same APC thugs go on a rampage, destroying all PDP formations in the state anytime they are out for political rallies despite the fact that Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje appended his signature to the 2019 election peace accord,” he said.
The Kano PDP urged the police and other security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, discharge their responsibility with utmost fairness and objectivity to ensure that those who burnt Yusuf’s property are brought to book.
In a reaction, the state government accused the PDP of attacking the residence of the APC chairman, Prince Abdullahi Abbas, and injuring one of his sons during the presidential campaign rally on Sunday.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, alleged that the suspected PDP thugs also dismantled all APC campaign posters within the city in the wee hours of Saturday.
“Apparently disturbed by the dislodgement of their leader, Rabi’u Kwankwaso in Kano’s political scene, the group has begun to lose hope in the upcoming 2019 general elections, and therefore, adopted the manner of violence to vent its anger over the perceptible success of the APC at all levels,” he said.
The new Commissioner of Police in Kano, Mohammad Wakili, yesterday confirmed the arrest of 28 political thugs in connection with the destruction of public property during the PDP presidential campaign in Kano.
Wakili said those arrested were found with dangerous weapons with which to disrupt public peace during the PDP presidential campaign rally. “They will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted,” he said.
The Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi II, called on political actors in the town to eschew personal interest and electoral violence, declaring that an election should not be misconstrued for a theater of war.
Sanusi, who addressed an unusual press conference yesterday at his palace, condemned the upsurge of political unrest
Sanusi, who addressed an unusual press conference yesterday at his palace, condemned the upsurge of political unrest and expressed regret that the tension was already escalating the fear in the residents.
Ostensibly reacting to the attacks and killings by political thugs, the monarch urged the security agencies to take decisive action against perpetrators of violence, regardless of their personality or political influence.
“We have received news of threat to security of life and property in Kano between yesterday and the day before regarding the elections. We are calling on the people of Kano, politicians and other residents to remain law-abiding.
“Election is not war and there is no need for threat to life and security of public valuables. What is expected of residents is to make good use of their voter’s cards on the day of election and vote for candidate of their choices. This should not generate any form of unrest whatsoever,” he said.
The emir appealed to his district and ward heads to extend his message of peace and lawful assembly during and after the elections, to their subjects in their domains.
It was also violence in Ekiti State yesterday as no fewer than 20 persons were seriously injured in Omuo, headquarters of Ekiti East Local Government when supporters of the APC senatorial candidate for the southern district, Prince Dayo Adeyeye and his PDP counterpart, Chief Biodun Olujimi, clashed during a campaign rally.
It was gathered that members of the APC were holding a joint rally for Adeyeye and the House of Representatives candidate in Ekiti South Federal Constituency 2, Femi Bamisile on Monday evening, when the suspected PDP thugs allegedly stormed the event and launched attacks on them.
Those who carried out the attacks were said to be loyal to Olujimi.
Some APC supporters, Adeniyi Saliu , Kayode Ojo and Adeniyi Ayo, who sustained deep cuts in their heads
Some APC supporters, Adeniyi Saliu , Kayode Ojo and Adeniyi Ayo, who sustained deep cuts in their heads, backs and stomachs, have been referred to the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti for treatment. The other15 victims sustained minor injuries.
Bamisile, a former speaker of the House of Assembly, described the attack as unfortunate, barbaric and uncalled for.
He called on the security agencies in the state to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack.
Adeyeye said the long arm of the law would catch up with the thugs who were allegedly led by one Sunday Awolusi, no matter how fast they run.
“Arresting and prosecuting the suspects will serve as a deterrent to others inclined to political violence. I enjoin the security agencies to be on the red alert to curtail political violence. Ekiti is a peaceful state and nobody should turn it into a theatre of war in the name of politics,” he said.
But the Special Assistant to Olujimi on Public Communications, Chief Sanya Atofarati, exonerated the senator and her supporters from the attack, saying the Senate Minority Whip had no cause to attack anybody.
Atofarati said: “Attacking political opponents is of no point. It is the APC that has been attacking others because violence is their principal identity.
“We have been going round campaigning in the senatorial district. No cases of violence, no reason for us to fight anybody. People of the senatorial district know this.
“We are going to the polls, we are sure of winning, so why would we embark on attacking others? We are a peace loving people. They should settle their differences.”
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, has read warned politicians, assuring both foreign and domestic election observers of proper protection during the polls.
At the national briefing of foreign and domestic observers organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja yesterday, Adamu said there was no cause for panic as troublemakers would be dealt with not minding their status.
According to him, police personnel will be deployed in the various polling units across the country without carrying firearms but only handcuffs to look out for both vote buyers and sellers.
Another primary concern of the police, according to the IGP, is to keep watch on the electoral materials and INEC staff. “Voters are free to stay around and monitor their votes three meters away,” he said.
The IGP assured stakeholders that the police would be professional and neutral, warning that no security agent is allowed to hinder both foreign and domestic observers from carrying out their duties.
He warned very important personalities against moving from point to point, saying they would be prevented with their security personnel arrested.
Members of political parties are also not spared as the police shall arrest those who go about with their party symbols while the “no movement” restriction order shall be enforced.