Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Wednesday stood still for President Muhammadu Buhari as he attended the grand finale of the campaign of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the November 18 poll in the state.
From 9 am, APC faithful and non-party members had converged on the Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka to welcome the President.
The situation caused gridlock for over five hours from Government House axis to the temporary site of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, a distance of about three kilometres.
Security personnel had a tough time trying to control the large crowd and traffic.
The outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra had on Monday warned President Muhammadu Buhari to stay away from the South-East, especially Anambra State.
IPOB, in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said there would be bloodshed if the President failed to heed the warning by going ahead with the trip.
The group said, “We will die with him (Buhari) should he set his foot on the sacred land of Biafra.”
Buhari in the visit assured the Igbo of patronages in his government, especially in infrastructure.
No fewer than 12 governors, 18 ministers and senators attended the rally.
Buhari said “I’m impressed with the organization of this rally and the turnout and we are hopeful that APC will elect our governor on Saturday.
“Ndigbo will benefit immensely on our plans on infrastructure and I know that my government and our party have not lost sight of the promises we made during our campaigns.”
He asked the people of the state to come out in masse on Saturday to elect Nwoye as their governor.
Emeka Ojukwu( Jnr), the son of the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, on the occasion dumped the All Progressives Grand Alliance for the APC.
The National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, received the son of the late Igbo leader.
Speaking, Ojukwu’s son said, “It is time for Ndigbo to move from the periphery to the centre, it is time to move from the shadows to the mainstream.
“I’m here to support Mr president and Tony Nwoye as the next governor of Anambra state.”
In his speech, Oyegun said the large crowd that came out to welcome the President was a testimony that the people of Anambra had promised to vote for the APC on Saturday as a gift to the President
Describing Anambra as a gateway to the southeast, Oyegun said Anambra must be re-connected to the centre.
He said, “This has been sealed, signed and will be delivered on Saturday, November 18.”
Oyegun noted that the President was in Anambra to make another history by defeating an incumbent the way he did at the national level in 2015.
The chairman of Tony Nwoye campaigns committee and governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar, said the Igbo were important in the life of Nigeria, describing APC as Igbo party.
For Imo state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the only way to re-reconnect Ndigbo to the national grid was to elect Nwoye as the governor of Anambra on Saturday.
Senator Andy Uba, for his part, hugged Nwoye and raised his hand, describing him as “my son” and the best candidate for the office of governorship seat of the state.
Reacting to the defection of Ojukwu’s son, the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye, said the party would not miss him.
“He is a prodigal son. We won’t miss him. He has the right to go anywhere he likes but at the appropriate time, he will come back to his father’s house ( APGA)”.
Oye said anybody or group of persons planning any mischief in the election should have a rethink because APGA would resist such plot.
While describing the withdrawal of Governor Willie Obiano’s security details on Tuesday as ominous, Oye announced that the governor’s security had been restored.
Toby Okafor, Awka