Poll delay: Jonathan’s campaign billboard burnt in Abuja

A campaign billboard of the Peoples Democratic Party bearing the photograph of President Goodluck Jonathan was set ablaze in the early hours of Saturday by an unidentified man.

The incident was said to have taken place following earlier rumours that the Independent National Electoral Commission had postponed the February 14, 2015 Presidential election.

The billboard is located on the ever-busy Suleija-Kaduna Expressway at the Federal Housing junction, beside the office of the National Emergency Management Agency in Kubwa.

On it was boldly written, “On February 14, vote Goodluck, vote PDP…The Goodluck Thumb.”

THE PUNCH learnt that the arsonist drove to the billboard, parked his car, brought out a tyre and set it on fire.

But the arsonist, according to officials of NEMA, who pleaded anonymity, came back in the night and on seeing that the fire didn’t do much damage poured petrol on another tyre and set it ablaze.

It was not however clear who was responsible and what prompted it.

But a taxi driver within the vicinity, who simply identified himself as Yahaya, said, “The incident happened following earlier rumours that the February 14 presidential election has been postponed.”

Our correspondent saw ashes of the burnt billboard during a visit to the site on Sunday.

Some youths had recently pelted the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan in Katsina and Bauchi states and burnt his campaign vehicles in Jos.

The Nigeria Posterity Project had expressed concern over the use of stones and destruction of campaign posters belonging to Jonathan by some northern youths.

According to the organisation, northern leaders should tone down their utterances and allow free campaigns by all candidates in all parts of the country.

The National Coordinator of the NPP, Mr. Louis Ebodaghe, had said, “The burning of President Jonathan’s campaign vehicles in parts of the North and the pulling down of his posters in parts of the North can only be likened to Nazi Germany where, for the fear of Hitler, everybody must fly the Nazi flag even against their conscience. This cannot be tolerated in modern day Nigeria and should not be encouraged.”

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress in Cross River has disclosed plans to embark on a One- Million Youth March in the state to reiterate support for the party’s presidential candidate, Maj.Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), despite the poll shift.

The party condemned the postponement of the general elections earlier scheduled for February 14 and 28, saying it was obvious that the leadership of the PDP was afraid of impending defeat at the polls.

Speaking on behalf of the party after a crucial meeting on Sunday, the state APC Youth Leader, Mr. Effiom Otu, said the youth wing of the party would organise a one-million youth march in solidarity with the APC presidential candidate and other APC candidates to garner support for the party ahead of the elections.

Otu also said the youths had endorsed a door-to-door campaign for the party, adding that the objective was to educate and sensitise the electorate in order for them to be convinced.

He said the campaign would ensure that all the 2,283 polling units in the state were aggressively covered in the exercise.

Otu said, “We will organise a one-million youth march in the state capital soon in solidarity with our presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and other candidates to garner more support for the party ahead of the elections.

“We (the youths) have endorsed a door-to-door campaign for the party in the state. The objective is to ensure that those who hold suspicious view about the person and capacity of the party candidates for the election are educated and sensitised to jettison their held conviction.”

He castigated the Presidency for using insecurity as a reason for the polls shift, explaining that there was no strength in the argument advanced for the postponement.

Otu said, “The Presidency was caught in another web of cajoling by feigning insecurity as the reason for the postponement because it could not convincingly pull through the issue of PVCs collection as initial reason for the shift.

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