The presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State was on Monday scaled down to a prayer session following a recent murder of over 40 vigilantes by bandits in Bakori Local Government Area.
Apart from reducing the number of participants at the rally, which had President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance, the event was conducted in a sober atmosphere at the Muhammadu Dikko Stadium.
Party leaders, including its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the state governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari; and Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum who is also Kebbi State Governor, Senator Atiku Bagudu, told attendees at the event that there was a consideration to postpone the rally outright in view of the mournful atmosphere.
“We decided to go on because some people are already here and it will be disappointing for them to come without getting to see the President and Asiwaju. But we are here to condole with you. We will be back”, said Bagudu.
In his speech, President Buhari said that despite inheriting a poorly managed country, his administration has done well in turning the fortunes of the party.
He condoled the people of Katsina over the banditry attack, urging them to remain courageous and hopeful in order to defeat terror.
Tinubu saluted those who summoned courage to attend the rally in spite of the sorrowful situation, as he expressed condolences to the government and people of the state.
He assured the Katsina electorate of working hard to eliminate banditry in the state.
“We will definitely deal with them. They will not go scot-free. Whether they derive some moment of joy or satisfaction, we are saying we are courageous, we are strong, we believe in Allah and we will defeat them. They are evil. We will eliminate them”, he said.
Tinubu also gave kudos to members of security establishments, assuring them that their sacrifice would be rewarded.
He charged participants not to allow what he called “Poverty Development Party” to come back to power. “No to PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), no to evil, no to killers”, he chanted along with the crowd.
Masari warned Nigerians not to trust PDP with power again. “They had the opportunity. They didn’t do anything meaningful and now they want to deceive. Don’t fall for their sugar-coated words”, he said.
The APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu; and Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Council, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong urged Katsina electorate to queue behind President Buhari to support the APC presidential candidate and other candidates.
The event was attended by many party big wigs, governors, members of the National Assembly and former governors. Among them were Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).
Others were Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farooq; former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff; and a former Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar.