The Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of the Labour Party (LP) says the attack of its candidate Peter Obi’s car in Katsina State on Monday is unsurprising.
“There are several perspectives from which you can look at what happened there,” Director General of the party’s PCC, Akin Osuntokun, said on Wednesday.
“One is that within the general context of widespread security breakdown in society, on which Katsina is one of the hotbeds, there is nothing surprising to that extent it’s a state that has been particularly prone to violence.
“The violence was up to a degree that the governor had to openly ask his people to arm themselves individually, to defend themselves.”
He said that is the extent to which Katsina State has attained what he described as “notoriety as a hotbed of violence.” According to him, the same is true of Zamfara: “both of them are unique in that respect.”
Security is the primary function of the state, Okuntokun argued, saying it is a symptom of complete state failure if the government shifts this responsibility to individuals.
“But there’s also the temptation to say that it was a backlash against the successful rally that we had in Kano the previous day. A lot of people were surprised what happened in Kano; it took them by surprise.
“They have become captives of their own imagination that Kano is the stronghold of so-and-so. But the myth was exploded by the turnout at Kano and it was organic and authentic.
“So, there are politicians of a particular bent of mind who are used to thuggery and violence, and will want to stop that momentum, so I wouldn’t put it past those kind of people to organise kind of mock violence that we experienced there.
“But it wasn’t as if that mob violence – it did not overwhelm the campaign. We nonetheless had a successful rally here,” he said.
Describing the reception by Kano voters as tumultuous, the LP campaign boss said, “Even when Nigeria was relatively peaceful, that sort of incident of people throwing stones at convoys has always been there. I remember Katsina particularly – Katsina and Kano.”