By Soni Daniel
ABUJA — Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State and Senator Bala Mohammed, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, were weekend, locked in an exchange of words following the governor’s claim that the minister hired the thugs that stoned the president’s convoy in Bauchi last Thursday.
Following the stoning, the presidency had flayed the actions just as a number of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftains had accused the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, of instigating attacks on the president in the north.
Governor Yuguda, however, rebutted the claim as he told Vanguard, weekend, that the stoning of the president’s convoy was instigated by Senator Mohammmed to embarrass him, Yuguda, as not being on ground in the state.
Both men, members of the PDP and associates of the president, were present at the PDP presidential campaign rally in Bauchi following which the president’s convoy was pelted with stones. The minister was also pelted during the rally.
The APC, last night, said it was vindicated by the development as it thanked the governor for his revelation, recalling it had earlier claimed the stoning incidents were fallouts from the governorship primaries in the PDP states.
Yuguda told Vanguard in an interview that the FCT minister secretly imported the thugs to cause trouble at the venue of the campaign rally in Buachi last Thursday to give the president the erroneous impression that he (Yuguda) was not on ground in the state.
He said: “The whole thing was carefully planned and implemented by the FCT Minister in collaboration with his cohorts who wanted to embarrass me and prove to President Jonathan that they were more politically relevant in Bauchi State than the sitting governor.
“The minister and his group sponsored small boys of not more than seven years of age and gave them brooms to give the impression that they were from the opposition party whereas they were all wearing T-shirts branded with his name and that of TAN.
“Before the arrival of the boys, the presidential rally was going on smoothly. When they entered the venue they started signing “Sai Jonathan”, “Sai Jonathan” only for them to begin to chant “ Sai Buhari”, “Sai Buhari” to the bewilderment of all present.
“I feel very bad over the sad incident caused by Bala and his group to discredit me and all that I have been able to accomplish in Bauchi. I must say that I am very sad and disappointed by the antics of the minister.”
Yuguda said it was apparent that the minister was up to some mischief when he refused to join the central planning committee headed by him to plan the presidential rally but went ahead to set up his own committee whose agenda was not known to anyone else.
The governor thus charged the minister to apologise to Nigerians over the embarrassment he caused the president and his visitors to Bauchi during his visit to the state.
Allegation fallacious, wicked and unfounded— Minister
But the minister has denied the allegation levelled against him by the governor, saying that it was nothing but concoction of lies to tarnish his image.
The minister in an email response to Vanguard on the issue said that it was inconceivable that he would contemplate importing thugs into the venue of an event attended by his boss and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whom he holds in very high esteem.
In the statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Nosike Ogbuenyi, the minister wondered why the thugs said to have been imported by him into the stadium threw missiles and booed him while he was accessing the rally.
Mohammed said: “It is totally illogical, irreconcilable, wicked and fallacious for anybody to insinuate that the Hon. Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed imported thugs to stone and attack himself while addressing the President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign rally in his home state, Bauchi.
“The question begging for answer is ‘why wasn’t Governor Yuguda stoned by the rampaging thugs when he was on the podium addressing the same rally?’
“Every sincere person in this country can attest to the fact that the loyalty of the FCT Minister to President Goodluck Jonathan and his commitment to the success of the PDP in all elections have never been in doubt.
“Those who are specialists in running with the hare and hunting with the hounds should, please leave Senator Bala Mohammed and the PDP alone to campaign peacefully for President Goodluck Jonathan and other PDP candidates across the country, Bauchi State inclusive,” the minister pleaded.
We’ve been vindicated —APC
Reacting to the development, yesterday, the APC said Governor Yuguda’s claim had vindicated the party’s stance that the spate of stoning was a fallout from the fractious PDP primaries in the affected states.
“Frankly speaking, we thank Governor Yuguda for vindicating our stance,” APC national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told Vanguard last night.
“We knew all along that this violence was instigated by PDP which is all due to the manner they handled their primaries that is now responsible for the spate of violence all over the country. We thank God we have been vindicated and now we know who is trying to scuttle our democracy,” he added.