Willy Eya, Tony Osauzo, Benin and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, has directed the suspension of All Progressives Congress (APC) rally scheduled for Benin on Friday to welcome former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is planning to defect with his followers to the APC.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, told newsmen at a press conference in Abuja, that the IGP communicated to him in a letter, saying because he told the police chief that security of people coming for the rally cannot be guaranteed.
According to the deputy governor, who said the rally was a mere disguise to disrupt public peace, disclosed that he got the letter suspending the rally at about 5pm at the Police Headquarters in Abuja.
He described as heartbreaking that the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was leading the campaign to create division within the party.
Shuiabu alleged that “the man leading the division in the state unfortunately is the APC national chairman, a man I call my father.”
He, however said he would not join issues with Oshiomhole, noting that the national chairman, during his tenure as governor never tolerated what he is currently doing as he resisted similar attempt by the immediate past APC national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.
Obaseki had said he is not aware of any APC rally just as the purportedly suspended chairman, Anselm Ojezua, said neither the governor nor other leaders of the party is aware of the rally and urged APC members in the state not to have anything to do with the event.
Meanwhile, APC youths yesterday, protested against the planned rally to receive PDP defectors, led by Ize-Iyamu.
The youths, who said they did not want any violence, marched on the Benin Airport Road where they set bonfires on different parts of the road.
They insisted Oshiomhole must toe the path of peace by cancelling the rally.
Spokesman for the protesters, Imafidon Utete, said they would not tolerate plans by unscrupulous persons to cause chaos in the state.
Also, Edo State government has ordered closure of all schools today over what it described as ‘disturbing security report concerning the use of school premises for a political rally’.
Commissioner for Eduction, Jimoh Ijegbai, said in a statement that the state government is 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.
In the same vein, a group, Edo Youth Vanguard, has warned the APC national leadership to steer clear of Edo State on the illegally planned rally.
It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call Oshiomhole to order over his support for a rally that has the potential of creating crisis and breaching the fragile peace in the state.
A faction of the party, which has the backing of Oshiomhole has fixed Friday for a rally to receive defectors into the party without the knowledge of Governor Obaseki and the party’s Chairman, Ojezua.