A public policy think tank, the NEO Africana Centre, has condemned the attack on the convoy of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, after a successful rally in Katsina on Monday.
In a statement on Wednesday by its Director of Public Affairs, Mr Jenkins Udu entitled, “Mr President Must Arrest This Slide” the body said it received with rude shock the barbaric and indecorous act that took place in Katsina and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take more than a cursory interest in the ugly incident.
It wondered why a free Nigerian campaigning freely for the people’s votes should face intimidation and harassment by agents of disunity and destabilisation.
It will be recalled that the Labour Party’s campaign train was in Katsina State on Monday where Mr Peter Obi first held a town hall meeting with women and followed it up with a rally at Muhammad Dikko stadium. However, on his way to the airport, hoodlums were said to have attacked the convoy of the Labour Party presidential candidate, causing substantial damage to some of the vehicles.
The body said it finds the development not just regrettable but revolting considering that a presidential hopeful of Obi’s profile was involved.
It said the embarrassment and what it portends for the country are too telling to be swept under the carpet. It, therefore, called on President Buhari who hails from Katsina state in particular and the government and people of the state in general to take steps to avert the looming catastrophe in the air and save their state and Nigeria from further ridicule as a land of bad and the ugly.
The statement reads in part: “We are perturbed that the presidential campaigns that have largely been hitch-free have suddenly turned berserk. This ugly trend must be nipped in the bud. But then, we note with regret that Governor Aminu Bello Masari under whose watch this breach took place seems not to have batted an eyelid. Masari has not expressed regret or disappointment over the ugly incident. His silence leaves much to be desired. Public office holders must understand that they hold public office in trust. They should therefore avoid acts that could erode the people’s confidence in their actions and inactions. Masari, by his silence, has failed to live up to expectations.
“When brigandage such as the one that took place in Katsina is papered over, it protrudes into a monster of immense proportions. Masari is invited to take note of this.”
In the face of the seeming conspiracy that may have led to the attack, the body is calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to step up action in the fight against insecurity.
It regretted that political thugs and ethnocentric brigands are having a field day when they should be running away from the long arms of the law. The group said it was convinced that the incident was aimed at embarrassing Mr Peter Obi and possibly weakening his resolve to give the people a new Nigeria that will work for all.
The body called on President Buhari to ensure that Nigerians of whatever persuasion are protected under the law. It urged the Labour Party and its candidate to remain focused in their quest for a new Nigeria and refuse to be distracted by nation-wreckers who want to create the impression that the country is headed for the rocks. It equally urged politicians and their supporters to call their supporters to order especially now that the elections are drawing closer.