There was pandemonium at the Minna Trade Fair Complex on Saturday morning as the venue’s VIP seating area collapsed during a political rally organised by the Transformation Ambassador of Nigeria (TAN) to campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Among the injured was Hajiya Jumai Babangida Aliyu, wife of host Governor Babangida Aliyu.
The Governor, his Deputy, Yomi Awoniyi, and Deputy Governor of Sokoto, Muktar Shagari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Ministers of Information, Water Resources, Internal Affairs, National Planning and Minister of State FCT were among the dignitaries on the stand.
But the wife of the Governor, her protocol officer, the Senator-Elect for Niger East Senatorial zone, Dr. Shem Zagbayi Nuhu, Director General of Protocol, Captain M. Baro, Director General Public Affairs, Alhaji Tanko Dada, some protocol and detail officers attached to some dignitaries were not lucky.
They sustained various degrees of injuries.
Injured persons were rushed in National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) ambulances to the IBB Specialist Hospital, General Hospital, Minna, Bay Clinic and Top Medical Centre.
The development forced many delegates to head for their vehicles while the organisers continued to address a very scanty audience compared with the crowd before the collapse.
Governor Aliyu, in his address, said that the incident should be regarded as a sacrifice and a sign of success and victory for President Jonathan.
“This thing that happened should not deter you from doing what you came to do,” the Governor said.
The Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Gabriel Aduda, blamed the incidence on the devil and opponents of Jonathan’s administration.
Mr. Aduda said, “Whatever happened here, the devil is a liar. No weapon fashioned against us and Jonathan shall succeed. What happened was because the crowd was too much.”
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the rally was organised to celebrate Jonathan, who he described as one of Nigeria’s best presidents.
Maku said it was only after the President completes another four-year tenure that the presidency of the country would switch back to the North of Nigeria in line with the power rotation arrangement between the North and the South.