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Edo APC’s rally to welcome Ize-Iyamu flops

Hundreds of youths in Edo State yesterday ensured that the planned rally by some factional members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) spearheaded by its National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole

Empty canopies at the Garrick Memorial College, Ekenwan Road, Benin City, venue of the rally organised by the Adams Oshiomhole faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State following the enforcement of the order of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) suspending the rally by some youths…yesterday

Hundreds of youths in Edo State yesterday ensured that the planned rally by some factional members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) spearheaded by its National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, to welcome a former member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his loyalists to the APC did not hold.

The youths dispersed artistes and musicians contracted to perform at the rally and also Oshiomhole’s supporters, who expressed disappointment with the development.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has placed a total ban on political rallies, demonstrations and processions in the state over rising security concerns occasioned by the spike in protests around Benin metropolis.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had last Thursday ordered the suspension of the rally, citing “overriding internal security interests.”

The IGP’s suspension of the rally, which was contained in a letter signed by his Principal Staff Officer, ACP Idowu Owohunwa, and addressed to the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, came few hours after the Edo Youth Vanguard (EYV) and thousands of youths loyal to the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, protested against it.

It was gathered that the State Police Command positioned its officers in strategic places around Benin City including the proposed venue of the rally at Garrick Memorial College, Ekenwan Road.

A source said: “The youths mobilised themselves as early as 6:00 a.m and ensured that the directive of the IGP was not flouted in any way.
 
“The Outside Broadcast Vans of some television stations that were scheduled to transmit the rally live were left stranded. The youths even had to disperse the little crowd that gathered under the erected white canopies. The artistes who were brought from outside the state had to leave disappointed. It was all a big flop and nobody will turn up for them if they ever call for another rally.”

Oshiomhole, who looked defeated and deflated, was seen discussing with some of his aides on the next line of action.

The source noted that with the uncertainty and apprehension, few supporters of Oshiomhole later converged on the residence of Ize-Iyamu in Benin City, where the PDP governorship candidate in 2014 briefly addressed them.

Meanwhile, the police have been keeping surveillance on the key leaders of the warring factions of the party to avert the breakdown of law and order in the state, as they appear poised to cause violence.

According a statement yesterday by the Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., the government expressed concerns over actions capable of breaching public peace.

Ogie said there were plans by mischief-makers to organise an unauthorised rally in defiance of the directives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

He warned all property owners that any venue used for activities in breach of the government’s orders would have its right of occupancy immediately revoked and forfeited to the state government, noting that the government would not allow any person to turn the state into a battlefield.

He said: “The government of Edo State has, over the past few days, made clear its position that the plans by some identified mischief-makers to organise an unauthorised political rally in Benin City was capable of leading to a breakdown of public peace and also a danger to the persons and property of Edo citizens.

“The events of yesterday, December 12, 2019, were a scary prelude to the absolute mayhem which these irresponsible activities would generate if left unchecked.
 
“In defiance of the clear and publicised instruction of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), calling off the proposed rally owing to the security implications, these desperate persons are presently shopping around for alternative venues to carry out their incendiary activities.”
 
Noting that the primary purpose of government is the protection of lives and property, he emphasised that, “the government of Edo State has placed a total and complete ban on all political rallies, demonstrations and/or processions in any part of Edo State.”
 
“The government has further directed all security agencies to deal firmly with all persons (no matter how highly placed), who act in breach of this directive,” he added.

The state government also warned parents and guardians “to advise their children and wards not to allow themselves to be used as cannon-fodder in aid of the misguided political ambition and ego of people, whose own children reside and school abroad.”