16th April, 2011
Violence was averted at the Kabala ward 05 in Kaduna this morning when scores of irate youths in the area vehemently booed the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, who had come to the polling unit for accreditation ahead of voting.
The youths in a fierce outburst chanted â€˜Sai Buhariâ€™, â€˜Sai CPCâ€™, â€˜Sai Changeâ€™ to the obvious embarrassment of the vice president.
It took the intervention of a combined team of security operatives to put the situation under control.
The crisis started shortly after the vice president arrived the polling unit at about 11.50am to a warm welcome by some of his cheering supporters who were clapping in solidarity.
Though the vice president did nothing much in response to the cheers, the clapping however, provoked a more furious reaction from the supporters of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
The action prompted the VPâ€™s security details to quickly shield him from the irate youths.
Apparently reacting to the embarrassing incident, both the police, military and para-military forces swiftly detached a heavy back up of their men to the venue to ensure peace and check a possible breakdown of law and order.
This effectively paid off as orderliness had returned at about 90 minutes later, 1:20pm when the Vice President returned to cast his vote.
At least 10 persons were arrested and taken away in police patrol van. An agent of the PDP at the polling unit, Anas Barau told PMNEWS that the action of the supporters of the CPC was provocative, intimidating and capable of sparking off violence in the hitherto volatile area.
He however commended the supporters of the PDP who did not respond to the humiliation of their vice presidential candidate as that would have ignited a bigger crisis.
Aliyu Modibbo, a stalwart of the CPC told reporters that the supporters of the vice president, who started the cheering and clapping exercise provoked the near-violent crisis witnessed at the unit.
He maintained that while everybody, irrespective of political affiliation and sentiments must respect the leaders and constituted authority, the supporters of the CPC should also be forgiven as their action was only reactionary as they were provoked by the supporters of the vice president and the PDP.
His position was also echoed by the Senator-elect of the Senatorial District, Gen Sani Saleh who arrived the venue shortly after the incident to appeal to his supporters to ensure calm and obey law and order.
He maintained that leaders and constituted authority must be respected at all times.
Sambo, while speaking with journalists shortly after casting his vote did not hide his dissatisfaction over the behaviour of the youth earlier at the polling unit.
The VP stated: â€œI will like to seize this opportunity to again call for calm and peaceful election. Violence should be avoided and should not be a part of this election which must be free, fair and credible. I call on everybody to carry out their voting in a peaceful and orderly manner.”
The VP also expressed confidence that the bruises his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP suffered in some areas during the National Assembly poll notwithstanding, the party’s overall result was however indicative of the fact that the party is still largely preferred by Nigerians and that would mean victory for them in the ongoing presidential election.
This is not the first time Sambo is receiving humiliating treatment from his people in the area. On 8 April, barely 24 hours to the National Assembly elections, the Vice President was also booed at a mosque close to his private residence where he had gone to observe the usual Friday Juâ€™mat prayers.
The people followed this up by ensuring that his (PDP) comprehensively lost in the polling unit, ward, Local Government Area and the Senatorial District in the National Assembly election to make their statement of displeasure with their son definite.
In a related development, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Aliyu Tambuwal has threatened to cancel any result emanating from polling units reported to have simultaneously conducted accreditation and voting as against the rules that accreditation must first be carried out between 8am and 12 noon before the commencement of voting at 12.30.
There had been reports this rule was flagrantly disobeyed in some areas including Zaria.
By Desmond Utomwen/Kaduna