Police Suspend APC Rally in Edo

Obaseki Pays Oshiomhole
  •  Obaseki, Oshiomhole’s factions clash

Kingsley Nweze in Abuja

Following the clash of interest between Governor Godwin Obaseki and National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, the rally planned to hold today by the latter faction has been suspended till further notice by the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, citing overriding internal security interests.

Spokesman of the state governor, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, in a statement yesterday, cited a letter addressed to the Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu, and signed by the Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, ACP Idowu Owohunwa.

In the letter, Owohunwa said: “In cognisance of the security consequences of the proposed mega rally, I am to confirm that the Inspector General of Police has directed the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command, to emplace appropriate security framework that is directed at suspending the rally until further notice.

“He has also been directed to summon a meeting of all parties involved in the political development with a view to engaging them towards giving effect to his directives in overriding internal security interests.”
Some youths on the platform of the APC in the state yesterday demonstrated to protest the rally to receive some defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The protesting APC youths, who belong to Obaseki faction, converged at the Benin Airport, where they set bonfire on different parts of Airport Road, including the exit gate of the airport.
They said they were from various wards across the state and did not want today’s rally to hold.

The protesting youths seen on the road and the airport, insisted that Oshiomhole must toe the path of peace by cancelling the rally.

Spokesman for the protesters, Mr. Imafidon Utete, said they were protesting what he referred to as a plans to disrupt public peace under the guise of receiving PDP members.
Imafidon said they would not tolerate plans by unscrupulous persons to cause chaos in the state.

According to him, “We the Edo APC youths and other persons will resist any attempt to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state.

“We have been enjoying peace in the state and this has brought development to different sectors of the economy.

“How can somebody coming into a party be forcing himself in. The governor has said he is not aware of any rally and they want to come and cause crisis here. We will not allow them.”

Following this development, the Edo State Government has ordered closure of all schools today over what it called “disturbing security report concerning the use of school premises for a political rally.”

A statement signed by Commissioner of Education, Mr. Jimoh Ijegbai, said the state government was disturbed about the foregoing in view of the already tensed security situation in the city and has directed that all private schools be temporarily closed down immediately.
“I am to add that on no account should the premises of the schools be used for any political rally, gathering, event or other purposes by whatever nomenclature or in whatever guise,” he said, adding: “May I state for the avoidance of any doubt that any attempt to disobey this directive will result in such schools being closed down indefinitely.”

In another development, the apex socio-cultural youth group in the state, Edo Youth Vanguard, has sent a strong warning to the national leadership of the APC to steer clear of the state on the proposed rally.

The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call Oshiomhole to order over his support for the rally that it said had the potential of creating crises and breaching the fragile peace in the state.

In a statement in Benin by its President, Mr. Nosakhare Oseghale, and Secretary General, Mr. Edward Ikhide, the EYV questioned the rationale behind the rally, stating that the timing and approach were not only wide off the mark but had sinister motives of eventually fomenting pandemonium to create an impression of anarchy in the state.

According to it, issues of public safety are hanging in the balance if the rally is allowed to take place, adding that available security reports clearly give credence to the apprehension that the political rally has sinister motives.

He said: “We are amused that some politicians are planning an ill-conceived political rally for Friday and it’s being done without the knowledge of the state’s Chief Security Officer, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is on a national assignment with President Muhammadu Buhari.