By Chinedu Eze
The federal government has confirmed that at least eight people died during President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election rally in Taraba State.
The Presidency attributed the death to a stampede caused by overcrowding at the Jolly Nyame Stadium in the state capital, Jalingo.
In sympathy to the deceased, the federal government yesterday dispatched a team to Jalingo to condole with the government and people of the state over the deaths.
The team was led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, accompanied by the Governor of Adamawa, Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, a Borno Senator, Ali Ndume; Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Ali Pantami, and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
At the Taraba Government House, where the team was received by Governor Darius Ishaku, Mr Mustapha, speaking on behalf of the president, lamented the sad loss of eight people during and after the rally, promising that they would not die in vain.
“President Buhari will continue to focus on public good and welfare of the people. The eight people would then not have died in vain,” the SGF said.
“They represent the good of our people and country. They wanted good governance as symbolized by President Buhari, so they turned out to welcome him at the rally. As we go to the polls, let’s exercise the civic responsibility with zeal, but also with decency and restraint. The country is our own, and we must preserve its oneness,” he said.
Responding, Governor Ishaku expressed “sincere gratitude and thanks to Mr. President for promptly sending a delegation to condole with us,” adding that the people of Taraba were grateful for the show of concern.
He prayed that the souls of the dead would rest in peace, stressing: “Peace is my mantra. I stand by it any day. I am thankful that Mr. President, who is firstly my elder brother before being my President, came to Taraba in peace, and left in peace.”
The delegation also visited the Emir of Muri, Abbas Tafida, where Mustapha condoled with the monarch and the people on behalf of the President, praying that God would give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
In response, the Emir said it was President Buhari that needed to be condoled since he lost his supporters, who loved him dearly.