MUSA BABA AHMED, Abuja
Abuja the nation’s Capital was in the early hours of Wednesday put on high security alert following preparations for the ratification of President Goodluck Jonathan as the sole candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the Eagle Square.
The occasion which was yet to commence as at 10 am had security operatives shut down the ever-busy Central Business District where major government establishments are situated thereby barring Civil Servants from accessing their offices to carry out their statutory responsibilities of working the nation’s fragile economy.
The quest to protect the VIPs saw all entry points to the Central Area blocked at least 3 to 5 kilometers away; with vehicular and in some cases, human traffic diverted using heavily guarded security cordon to ward off oncoming vehicles as commuters are subjected to untold hardship of walking and trekking long distances to their preferred destinations.
Coming into the CBD from Kubwa via Aso drive, commuters were greeted by a security cordon at about a 100miters off the express way which is about five kilometers from the Eagle Square where the announcement of the President’s sole candidature for the PDP in the 2015 Presidential election was to be made.
On the Nyanya-Mararaba axis, all vehicular and human traffic were diverted at the Area 11 junction by the Force Headquarter (over 1000mtrs away) as motorists and commuters going to Wuse and other parts of the metropolis were made to go through the Finance Ministry junction (about 800mtrs away) to continue their journey.
Those coming from the Airport road had their advancement terminated at the NNPC Towers area with no likelihood of making a detour through alternative routes to their places of work.
While many civil servants spoken to claimed ignorance of the event, whilst decrying its necessity, others said they were aware of it, but still had to come to work since no public holiday was announced by government to that effect.
Lamenting the difficulties posed by the situation, a source who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimization mauled the President and the PDP’s decision to still hold a primary, saying that: “why would they cause so much pain and hardship when everybody knows that Jonathan is the only person contesting on the platform of the PDP.
“We all know that it is only the APC that’s conducting presidential primaries today because they have five people looking for the ticket. Even at that, I don’t think Lagosians are going through what we are suffering here in Abuja. They should have gone ahead and send his name to INEC as their only candidate since nobody is challenging him instead of pulling the economy backward by keeping workers away from their offices”, he said.
Almost all government establishments in the CBD as well as the 3 Arms Zone where the National Assembly, the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, the Offices of the National Security Adviser (NSA) the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) as well as the State House were all deserted with few people seen loitering around as most workers were unable to access their offices due to security blockades.