By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA – It was pandemonium for the better part of Thursday as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) clashed just as former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar made his way into the PDP headquarters to submit his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to run for the Office of the President in the 2019 general election.
The chaos which lasted close to 30 minutes left a tale of woes as two women sustained minor injuries as they joined thousands of supporters in the mad rush to gain entrance into the party headquarters through the main gate.
Shortly after Atiku made his entry into the premises of the secretariat, the crowd became uncontrollable as they overwhelmed the security personnel stationed at the main gate.
Stones were thrown at sundry directions just as the side mirrors of two cars packed in front of Skye Bank, opposite the Wadata Plaza were broken.
A source who simply identified himself as Ibrahim told Vanguard that the fight which broke out at exactly 12:40 PM local time was triggered by a group of All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters who mixed up with their PDP supporters at the perimeter fence, brandishing the flags of the ruling party.
Ibrahim said “The fight started when the thugs, who came with the APC flags were asked why they were at the PDP national secretariat and in the process of the argument, a fight started. The thugs beat up an Atiku supporter and if not for the Police that started shooting, they would have killed the young man.”
The former Vice President had while receiving the nomination form bought for him by his supporters a few days ago tasked them to overwhelm the party secretariat the day he would submit the form.
He had said, “on that day, let us overwhelm the PDP secretariat, let us bring Abuja to a stand still. I bet you by the time we overwhelm the secretariat and bring Abuja to a stand still, the PDP will have no alternative than to give us the ticket.”
It is not clear however if the charge was what prompted thousands of young men and women to accompany him to Wadata Plaza on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Presidential hopeful yesterday said his quest for the highest elective office in the land was informed by the need to make Nigeria work again.
Atiku who stated this shortly after submitting his nomination forms to the PDP National Organizing Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd), also lamented the scourge of unemployment ravaging the land, and pledge to create jobs if given the opportunity to preside over the nation in 2019.
“This is a somber 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.
“I am not happy that Nigeria is perceived to be more corrupt today than she was in 2015 having moved 12 steps backwards, from 136 in 2014 to 148 today, in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. 136 is bad enough; 148 is simply unacceptable and shameful especially under a government that claims that fighting corruption is its priority.
“Today marks my first step to lead the efforts to move our people from extreme poverty to prosperity, from joblessness to employment, from senseless killings and fear to security, from so much division to being united around a shared vision and values, and from global irrelevance to a shining place in the comity of nations,” Atiku said.
He urged Nigerians to support his aspiration, saying the nation would rise again if the people remain united and committed in spite of the present challenges.
“Let us work together to create the right conditions for investments to flow in and flourish to create jobs for our people. Let’s work together to send poverty packing.
“Let us, together, reduce corruption so that our resources will be deployed to our national priorities. Let us work together to fight all types of terrorism and other crimes. Let us work together to restructure Nigeria for better governance and to unite our peoples. Let’s get Nigeria working again,” he pleaded