Tony Osauzo, Benin
Violence, which has become part of crisis-ridden Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC), continued Saturday, as a podium for a rally, two vehicles, hundreds of chairs, were destroyed and burnt overnight by unknown persons at the rally venue at Iyekhe, off Poly Road in Auchi, headquarters of Etsako West Local Government Area.
In spite of the arson attack, suspected to have been carried out by rival factional members of the party, the rally held with the heavy turnout of party bigwigs and faithful
Addressing a large crowd of party members, National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, said the APC is a party of peace and would continue to preach same, assuring that the party would win the governorship election in the state.
The rally was organised to receive over 30,000 members of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by a two-time member of the House of Representatives and the Edo North Senatorial candidate of the PDP in the last election, Hon Abubakar Momoh.
Oshiomhole said the party must integrate from the unit to the highest level “so that as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC will be a different party. When I was told that they burnt this place last night, I said they be prepared to put more fire in other places because they can’t stop us.
“But don’t allow anybody to push you to any length that provokes you to fight. Those who think they have the power to fight should channel such energy against the opposition parties. What is happening here should reinforce our confidence in God, when God decrees peace, nothing can stop it, when God says it, no man born of a woman can stop it.
“I don’t want to be a National Chairman who will campaign across the country and will not be able to win his polling unit because politics is local.
“There are people who think that when they reach a high level, they forget the local. I was governor before now I am no longer governor, I am national chairman today, tomorrow I will no longer be national chairman. Let me tell those people in high places that the only permanent place is the grassroots. Politics is a game of numbers not a game for the powerful because on election day all have one vote.
“I want to urge all unit leaders, ward leaders, local government leaders and state leaders to integrate all those who have just joined us,” Oshiomhole said.
In his speech, Abubakar Momoh said he has joined with “over 30,000 people who are here from the six local government areas that make up Edo North. There are so many others who are waiting for our candidate to emerge after the primaries and they will come and join,” he said.
In his comment, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, said “I worked as SSG with Oshiomhole for four years, I worked with Governor Godwin Obaseki for two years so I can differentiate between them. Oshiomhole is our leader and we are with him in Abuja and he will continue to succeed.”
Similarly, Blessing Agbomhere and other speakers including Akpatason and Iriase, all spoke glowingly of Oshiomhole and pledged to support him as National Chairman of the party.
Top politicians across the state were at the rally including the Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Peter Akpatason, former Deputy Chief Whip of the House Hon Pally Iriase, Hon Julius Ihonvbere, a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Abdul Oroh.
Others included former Deputy Governors Dr Pius Odubu, Hon Lucky Imasuen, Chris Ogienmwonyi, Major General Charles Airhiavbere (retd), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Minister of State Budget and National Planning Prince Clem Agba, Edo North Leader of APC Prince Malik Afegbua, Henry Idahagbon, State House of Assembly members-elect, former members of the House of Assembly led by former Deputy Speaker Festus Ebea, and several other party leaders and faithful.