President Muhammadu Buhari pulled an unprecedented crowd Saturday afternoon when he visited Jos, the capital of Plateau State, in a campaign rally stop ahead of the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
Sunday Sun observed that supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from local government areas across the middle belt state arrived Jos Friday night, while others arrived at about 7:30am Saturday.
APC supporters from Jos North, Jos South, Jos East, Bassa, Riyom and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas from Plateau North arrived Rwang Pam Township Stadium, venue of the rally at about 8:30am to take their seats ahead of the president’s visit slated for 2pm.
Sunday Sun observed that 7 hours before Buhari arrived at the venue of thecampaign rally, youths, women and the aged were dancing and chanting “sai Buhari, sai Buhari, sai Lalong; eight years, eight years” and playing APC songs to entertain the crowd.
Major streets in the capital were dominated by APC supporters who were dancing and celebrating the coming of the president.
The Director General of Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation and Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who arrived the state in preparation for the president”s visit, battled to control the crowd that thronged the campaign rally.
Amaechi, evidently overwhelmed by the large turnout, was seen cheering the crowd and urging supporters to turn out to vote for the president and all APC candidates during the February 16 and March 2, 2019 general elections.
It was observed that due to the large turn out of supporters, there was visible presence of security personnel on major streets that led to the Yakubu Gowon Airport and at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, venue of the campaign rally.
At a point it became difficult for the security officers, made up of the Military, Civil Defence, DSS, the Police and Local Vigilante, to control the crowd.
President Buhari was overwhelmed by the frenzy of the crowd who chanted ” sai Baba, sai Baba, eight year, sai Baba, eight years, sai Lalong” throughout his appearance.
The president expressed gratitude for the large turn out, waving to the crowd, after which he left the campaign venue, abandoning his stump speech.
People were battling to get out of the stadium as women who had little children strapped to their backs were stranded for hours, waiting patiently for the crowd to exit the venue.
Plateau State Police Command deployed 2050 police officers for the rally to Plateau, yet it was difficult to control the crowd.
A statement signed by Police Public Relations Officer DSP Mathias Tyopev Terna said the police officers were called in to maintain law and order.
“The President and Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari is visiting Plateau State today being 19/01/2019 and it is the primary responsibility of the Police to draw an Operation Order to ensure a hitch-free visit.
“In this wise, the whole operation of the Police is aimed at providing a water-tight security in order to achieve a successful and peaceful event and to also keep the entire State peaceful and conducive for all law abiding citizens in the state.
“The Commissioner of Police Plateau State Command, Jos CP Austin I. Agbonlahor fdc, psc, in his wisdom has deployed two thousand and fifty (2050) Police officers and men to carry out this noble and important assignment.
“The break down of the personnel is: One hundred and thirty two (132) officers, four hundred and thirty nine (439) Inspectors, one thousand four hundred and twelve (1412) Rank and File and sixty seven (67) Traffic Wardens making the sum total above,” the Police stated.