*Scurried To Safety By Soldiers On Guard At River Benue In Numan
Controversial governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) In Adamawa State, Mallam Nuhu Ribau on Thursday narrowly escaped being lynched by angry youths in the state in protest against the manner of his emergence as the candidate of the ruling party.
The unfortunate incident occurred at about 5. 30pm on Thursday in Numa the Capital of Southern Senatorial District of Adamawa state where he made an attempt to campaign .
Eyewitnesses said but for the timely intervention of a detachment of soldiers who rushed in to rescue him and those in his entourage; the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would have been lynched and completely disgraced.
Reports had it that Ribadu in an attempt to sell his candidature to the People of Adamawa chose Numa as his next port of call after a successful outing in Yola, a development said to have angered the youths from the area who were said to have earlier warned him to take his campaign elsewhere.
According to reports, the initial plan by Ribadu and his supporters was to launch his campaign at Makwada Square in Numan, but he had to hurriedly changed the plan with intelligence reports that plans he was to be ambushed in the process and disgraced by irate youths.
The angry youths were said to have fully mobilised to give Ribadu a show-down anytime his campaign train hit Numan, and had in the process prepared bottle bombs, sticks and bowls of powdery substance that can itche badly when sprayed on the body, as weapons to be used in ‘‘dealing” with the governorship candidate.
As disclosed to Newspot Nigeria, Ribadu and those in his entourage resolved to boycott the planned campaign at the square and instead, headed to the Government lodge in Numan where he met a small crowd of supporters.
To gain time for the crowd to gather, Ribadu, according to witnesses, decided to move to the Palace of Hamman Bachama in Numan and was about entering the compound of the Emir when hell was let lose.
A youth Corper who was in the entourage of Ribadu while narrating the incident said, “The mayhem broke out all of a sudden. We entered the town in a convoy of about 15 vehicles, mostly Jeeps. The first two Jeeps had entered into the compound successfully, while the third was about doing so when a boy who held a huge stone smashed it on the windshield and broke it into pieces.
“The situation forced Ribadu and others, in particular one Mrs Bema Zakare, a Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture to run into the palace for safety, as they were almost being mobbed by the angry youths who had gathered to give him a show down.
“The youths became angrier and hence, decided to surrounded the palace with stones of varying sizes which they consistently hurled on the palace and the guests of the Emir. The action by the youths resulted in a pandemonium as Ribadu’s supporters who were caught outside the palace took to their heels.
“When they could not get into the palace, the visibly restless youths descended on the vehicles that conveyed Ribadu and members on his entourage and destroyed almost all.
“It was when the situation was getting out of hands that the Emir placed an emergency call to a batch of soldiers stationed by the bridge of River Niger close to Numan.
“The soldiers arrived about 30 minutes later and managed to rescue Ribadu who was held captive in the Emir’s Palace for almost an hour and fifteen minutes, after calming down the youths”.
According to reports, the soldiers after spiriting Ribadu and others out of the Emir’s Palace took him to the Benue lodge, belonging to Demsa Local government, and was still being kept there as at the time of filing this report.
There are reports that it was not the first time Ribadu would be exposed to such kind of horrible ordeal in his attempts to campaign in Adamawa state, as he was reported to have been so similarly embarrassed during his campaign visit to Shelleng local government area of the state.
Newspot Nigeria learnt that the anger of the youths was fueled the more by the presence of Belma Zakare on Ribadu’s entourage.
The woman had severally been accused of being ever hostile to the youths amid sundry allegations that she has been the mastermind of the manner people from Adamawa were being short-changed politically right from Abuja where she resides.
There have been controversies over the choice of Ribadu as the governorship candidate of PDP in Adamawa amid allegations that he was favoured unduly by the PDP National Secretariat without fulfilling the lawful proceed of being elected.
Stakeholders in Adamawa had accused the PDP of failing to conduct the party’s governorship and National Assembly primaries in the state as stipulated by law, whereas the PDP Headquarters moved the Primaries to Abuja allegedly to favour Ribadu and others to merge as PDP candidate.
There have been reports that Ribadu and others who emerged from the “Kangaroo” governorship and National Assembly primaries in Abuja do not have the clout and the grassroots following to win election in the state, a reason they were being consistently booed wherever they went to campaign in Adamawa state.