Tension heightened on Thursday ahead of canceled Friday mega rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benin City, Edo state capital, after some party members believed to be loyal to governor Godwin Obaseki violently protested against the Oshiomhole-backed rally.
The protesters who matched through the ever-busy airport road set up burn-fire and torched some vehicles.
Governor Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, have been at daggers drawn over supremacy battle for the control of the party’s soul in the state.
Two factional leadership of the state APC have also emerged with each pledging loyalty to the two leaders.
The protesting party members chanted anti-Oshiomhole songs and rejected the planned mega rally over alleged security concerns.
The said rally according to the factional secretary of the APC, Mr. Lawrence Okah, was to receive the 2016 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his supporters into the APC fold.
The stage was set for a heated debate over the controversial rally on Tuesday when governor Godwin Obaseki denied knowledge of the rally.
The governor who disclosed this to journalists after a meeting with heads of security said: “I have checked with the State APC secretariat and as far as I am concerned, the party has not announced officially that they will be having a rally.”
Vice president Yemi Osibanjo and other federal delegations were reported to be on ground to welcome the new members.
Similarly, the state chairman of the APC, Barrister Anselm Ojezua, in a statement described the purported rally as provocative and capable of “disrupting peace in the state”.
According to him, “the attention of APC has been drawn to an information being circulated by some unauthorized people to the effect that the APC in the state is receiving some new members on Friday 13, December 2019, at Garrick Memorial School, Ekenwan Road, Benin City.
Ojezua noted that neither the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who is the leader of the APC in Edo state nor other leaders of the party was aware of the purported declaration rally.