Former military president and top contender of the PDP presidential slot General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was barred from commissioning his campaign office in Kaduna yesterday by the Kaduna State Police Command.
But the office of Vice President Namadi Sambo and the police have debunked insinuations that an order from the Presidency was issued to halt the proposed commissioning of the campaign office General Babangida personally exhorted his supporters to be calm and law-abiding.
Speaking to newsmen, Tambari Yabo Muhammad, who is the commissioner of police Kaduna State explained, “First I want to say that I cannot stop anybody from holding a lawful procession, assembly or whatever but what I do know is that the Public Order Act requires that the commissioner of police be put on notice 48 years before any public meeting that has political connotation like the one we were to have today. The Babangida Campaign Organisation went to my AC’s office at about 10pm (Saturday) to say that they will be commissioning their office, and already the vice president is in Kaduna. And you can see that the Babangida campaign office and this place, No 3 Alimi Road where the vice president held court is about 200 to 300 meters apart and you know that there could be a clash between the IBB supporters and the vice president’s group, and for the fact that it was not in conformity to the provision of the law we say no. If tomorrow they write us we will not say no.”
Debunking the assertion that the police was given an order to bar IBB from opening the office, Muhammad added: “Because we don’t want problem we could have even agreed if there is a change of venue, and also provide security for them. I did not have any order from above. I am commissioner of police and competent; that is why I was sent here to work. In political gathering you cannot rule out the possibility of crisis.”
Sambo who spoke to LEADERSHIP distanced himself from the assertion.
According to Sambo, through his media aide Umar Sani, “The Police are only doing their constitutional work and we don’t know and have no hand in anything you are asking me. We are here for an assignment which we have successfully completed and any other thing we don’t know it. We are in a democracy and we cannot trample upon the constitutional and fundamental rights of other Nigerians.”
General Babangida who briefly addressed his supporters in his Kaduna residence said, “We are together and this true friendship that you have shown me, there is nothing I would do rather than to continue praying for God to enhance our friendship and struggle. I know the magnitude of what you are doing and with God on our side we shall not be put to shame. I am aware of all that is going on; I alone cannot do it except with you. Because of what we are doing let us ensure that we are law-abiding. Again our intention is to bring development.”