DAY RIBADU STORMED DUTSE
Ribadu and entourage
Mallam Aminu Kano Triangle Square, situated in the heart of the Jigawa State capital, recently hosted crowd, which consisted of politicians and supporters of the broom- brandishing Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who were in Dutse to flag off their presidential campaign in the North -West zone.
Announcements ahead of the rally were repeated several times in the local radio and television stations. The message urged the people to come out in their numbers to participate in the political rally. And their supporters responded; the turn-out was impressive in spite of the inclement weather.
While those from the state capital and nearby towns of Kiyawa and Birnin -Kudu were early callers to the Square, those from the distant locations such as Kazaure, Gumel and Hadejia towns arrived in the afternoon. Other supporters, who came from the neighboring Kano, Bauchi and Katsina States arrived at about the same time.
Human and vehicular traffic to the state capital witnessed an expected upsurge. Along all major roads to Dutse, the picture was the same, as commuter buses and trucks conveying ACN faithful to the venue of the rally compounded the traffic surge.
The presence of leading gladiators in the party across the country at the rally added glamour to it. Apart from the national leadership of the party, led by its National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, and the party's deputy national chairman, Alhaji Boss Mustapha, most of the party's state governors were also present at the event.
These governors include those of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), Ekiti State Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola.
The former governors that attended the rally included Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief George Akume and Senator Ibrahim Saminu Turaki-former governors of Lagos, Benue and Jigawa states, respectively.
The list of gubernatorial candidates of the party in the North-West Zone that graced the event included that Jigawa State gubernatorial candidate of the party , Alhaji Mohamadu Badaru Abubakar and his deputy, Alhaji Danladi Garba Auyo, and that of Kano State, Engineer Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo among others. The party Amazon were led by the National Vice Chairman of the party, North West, Hajia Rabi Hussaini Adamu and a senatorial candidate from Kano State, Hajia Na'ajatu Mohammed, among others.
The prevailing hostility between governors of ruling states and opposition parties, also played itself out in Dutse: there was the drama over the delay in the approval of the Triangle Square for the rally.
Umar Yari, a spokesman for the state government had in a page advertorial challenged the purported credibility of the presidential candidate of the ACN, Nuhu Ribadu, questioning his political romance with certain individuals he had condemned as criminals a few years back.
Indeed, to many observers of Jigawa State, the 2011 general elections in the state is a 'do or die' supremacy battle between Governor Sule Lamido and his predecessor, Alhaji Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, both have been involved in war of attrition.
To the crowd, most of whom were supporters of the former governor Turaki, the ACN rally offered a unique opportunity to test the waters . The man they love to call 'Ibro' was coming back to redeem their pride of place in the politics of the state. The drums they beat and the lyrics they sang at the rally were all panegyrics to glorify Turaki.
Alhaji Fulata, a renowned student of leftist political ideology right from his formative days at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, had always detested the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration of Sule Lamido and he made no pretence about his stand in his welcome remarks.
According to him, he was delighted that the event was taking place in Jigawa State, a state he said is reputed for its radical political culture in Nigeria, adding that the rally was even more significant to the extent that it would lead to a generational change in the politics of Nigeria, sweeping away the present crop of leadership and bringing along a fine, young, noble gentleman, in the person of the ACN gubernatorial candidate.
He underscored the significance of the flag off of the rally in the North-West zone, being the largest voting zone in the country as far as the 2011 elections are concerned. But he stressed that ironically, the same zone with a huge voting population has recorded the poorest economic fortunes and has among it the poorest states in the country, as a result of the failure of leadership by the majority PDP governors in the zone.
Alhaji Fulata demanded and urged them all to work hard and chase out the PDP government both at the state and federal levels.
For the ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, the party is offering Nigerians a brand new leadership, different from their tortured experience in the last 12 years of PDP rule. He said the country is faced with rising rate of poverty and want, massive cases of corruption, and an alarming state of insecurity of lives and property across the land.
He explained that Nigerians were treated to a regime of old and recycled persons in the corridors of power.
'But we have been thinking of how to solve these problems and we came up with the understanding that the solution lies in bringing about a brand new leadership', he said.
The national chairman introduced the brand new leadership in the persons of Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, the presidential candidate of the party and his deputy, Mr Fola Adeola, adding that they represent a perfect combination to the extent that one of them is an expert in corruption and security matters while the other is an expert in economic matters.
He proceeded to present the party's flag to Ribadu, thus fulfilling the symbolic gesture of public affirmation of their choice. Ribadu, who was almost lost in the huge fanfare taking place around him collected the flag from his national chairman and several times shouted praises to Allah.
The flag was equally presented to the party's gubernatorial candidate in the state, Alhaji Mohamadu Badaru Abubakar and his deputy, Alhaji Danladi Garba Auyo. Flags were, however, not presented to the governorship candidates of the party in the zone, who were equally present to receive their flags as the National Chairman urged them to go back to their respective states and wait to receive the party leadership, who would come there to make the presentations.
Former governor Turaki called on the people not to be deterred, as the CAN gubernatorial candidate would redress the mistakes of the past.
Tinubu said the rally was the dawn of a great day for Jigawa State and for Nigeria. He urged all to join the ACN to send packing the PDP government, which he said was a party of greedy people. He accused the PDP of rigging its way to power and vowed that this time around, they will be stopped.
Selling Ribadu candidacy, Tinubu urged the Jigawa electorate to vote for Ribadu whom he described as agent of change.
'The youths of Nigeria, I say to you that, this is your own. This is the man to provide employment to 20 million Nigerians who are currently not employed'.