Power outage disrupts APC rally, stops Buhari, Tinubu’s speeches
Written by Ossy on January 24, 2023
The presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress in Bauchi State was brought to an abrupt end by power outage on Monday.
The rally was going on at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi, when the power supply ceased and the sound system went off and could not be restored.
Our correspondent observed that the event commenced at 11.50am.
However, there was an outage when the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Atiku Bagudu, was making his speech at 12.20pm.
Shortly after, the electricity supply was restored and Bagudu came back to conclude his remarks.
But at exactly 1.10pm, the power supply again went off shortly after the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, mounted the podium and began addressing the party supporters.
On the podium with the national chairman were the APC standard bearer, Bola Tinubu; his running mate, Kashim Shettima and his wife Nana, while Buhari, who was sitting at the VIP (Very important persons’) section of the stadium, waited for electricity to be restored.
While Adamu, Tinubu, Shettima and others were on the podium, the power was restored again before it went off for the third time and all efforts to resolve it failed.
Also, the party’s standard bearer could not address the mammoth crowd at the rally, following the departure of the President.
Buhari had arrived in Bauchi to lead the APC presidential and governorship campaign rally.
The aircraft conveying the President touched down at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Airport, Bauchi around 10:20 am.
He was received by the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, who is the Peoples Democratic Party candidate and his opponent in the March 11 governorship election, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (retd.).
Others, who were at the airport to receive the President include the APC chairman, Adamu; the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong; Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau (retd.); Andy Ubah, Governors of Borno, Kebbi and Yobe states, Babagana Zulum, Abubakar Bagudu and Mai Mala Buni, respectively.
From the airport, Buhari proceeded to the palace of the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Adamu, for a courtesy visit and thereafter headed to the campaign venue.
Buhari was to officially present the APC candidates to the Bauchi electorate at the rally, from where he would depart for Lagos on a two-day working visit.
But after waiting in vain for power to be restored, the president marched to the podium and raised Tinubu, Shettima and the Bauchi State governorship candidate, Sadique Abubakar’s hands as a sign of endorsement.
He also went round the podium to show Tinubu and his running mate to the thousands of supporters who were becoming restless.
While that was going on, the technical team was running up and down trying to fix the outage but they could not.
Buhari, who subsequently left the stadium without delivering any speech, waved to the crowd as he headed toward his vehicle.
The rally ended shortly after the President’s departure.
Other party chieftains who spoke at the event before the outage include the state Chairman of the APC, Musa Babayo; the state governorship candidate; the Chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and Plateau state Governor, Simon Lalong; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Maryam Katagum; a former Bauchi state governor, Isa Yuguda;
However, thousands of party supporters who had gathered to show their solidarity and catch a glimpse at the president left in anger, confusion and disappointment.
Our correspondent also observed that some youths vandalized and took away some of the iron barricades used for crowd control at the stadium.
Efforts to find out the cause of the power failure were unsuccessful as the state party chairman, Babayo Misau and other campaign council members, could not be reached on the phone.
But commenting on the incident, a member of the State Working Committee who spoke in confidence, explained that the event was organised by the national secretariat of the party.
He said, “With this rally, we are telling the State Governor, Bala Mohammed, that we will defeat him in the gubernatorial election. They came with the media and technical people from Abuja but unfortunately, this thing happened that the President couldn’t speak. They planned and brought everything from Abuja.”
Asked if they would organise another rally, he said: “How can we hold another rally? It is not possible. Our desire has been fulfilled since the President came and raised the hands of our candidates; he greeted the people and he saw them and they saw him, we don’t have any problem or any cause for worry.”
On whether they suspected any sabotage, he said: “You cannot immediately blame anybody for such a thing that happened, but we’ll investigate to unravel exactly what happened.”
However, a source disclosed that a power surge from the generator affected the connection to the sound system and resulted in the destruction of some cables.
“The stadium has been without electricity from Jos Electricity Distribution because of some outstanding bills. So, it was the generator at the stadium that was in use. What happened was that there was a power surge from the generator that was in use and this affected the connection of the sound system. Later, they tried to fix it and some of the cables got burned.’’
When one of our correspondents contacted the Media Assistant to the sports minister, Toyin Ibitoye, over the alleged owed electricity bills by the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, which is owned by the Federal Government, he said he was not aware of the bills.
“I don’t have an idea about the stadium owning the PHCN (JED)
The Bauchi State Chairman of the Labour Party, Hussaini Saraki, described the incident as an act of God.