More than 20 people, mostly women, were crushed to death on Tuesday at the pedestrian gate of Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt as thousands of party supporters struggled to leave the stadium when the presidential campaign rally of the All Progressives Congress, APC was drawn to a close.
Hundreds of others sustained serious degreesof injuries during the stampede, which eyewitnesses said happened when thepolice guarding the pedestrian gate blocked one side of the gate with theirpatrol van and tried to force back the surging crowd.
The police left the scene soon afterwardsleaving rescue operations to members of the public. It took up to an hour afterthe incident before some ambulances came by.
The ambulances took away corpses while thosethat survived continued to receive support from members of the public, whotried some life sustenance methods on them.
Security men had stripped those entering thestadium of sachet water to prevent a likely pelting of the VIPs and thePresident with water as it happened in Abeokuta on Monday. The heat in thestadium was overbearing as the crowd who were dehydrated and exhausted hadrushed out as Buhari left to rehydrate, an observer told the magazine.
The rally was a lacklustre event as PresidentBuhari and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, lamented the barringby the courts of the party from fielding candidates for the general electionsin Rivers State.
But they praised members of the party forbeing steadfast and patient. They also lauded APC members for waiting patientlyfor the rally to commence, which was delayed by eight hours.
Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, the state chairman ofthe party alleged that there was a deliberate conspiracy to deny the party theright to field candidates in the elections and appealed to President Buhari tointervene.
Buhari promised to do his best to ensure thatthe people were not denied their rights. But he said he had no option than torespect established institutions.
The Supreme Court in Abuja had on Tuesdayreaffirmed that APC having flouted a court order on its congresses in RiversState cannot present candidates for the elections.
The PDP had on Monday held its own final rally at the same Stadium in Port Harcourt where its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenged President Buhari to bring up corruption charges against him