Following the rising tension in Edo over a rally that a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to its National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, was expecting to hold, the state government has placed a total ban on all political rallies.
Ahead of the planned rally scheduled for Friday, December 13, 2019, which was supposed to welcome Osagie Ize-Iyamu to the APC from the PDP, no less than 15 persons have reportedly been injured during a clash between Oshiomhole's supporters and those of the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police, had ordered the suspension of the rally after Philip Shuaibu, Edo Deputy Governor, met with him and said the event is more likely to result in violence.
In a statement signed by Secretary to the Edo State Government, Barr. Osarodion Ogie, the Obaseki-led administration directed all security agencies to deal firmly with all persons (no matter how highly placed), who breached the directive.
According to Ogie, the state government has made clear its position that the ‘plans by some identified mischief-makers to organise an unauthorised political rally in Bénin City was capable of leading to a breakdown of public peace and also danger to the persons and property of Edo citizens.
Ogie's statement also warned property owners that any venue which is used for activities in breach of this order shall have its right of occupancy immediately revoked and forfeited to the state government.
The statement read partly, “The event of yesterday, 12th December, 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.
“The primary purpose of government is the protection of life and property. Consequently, the government of Edo State has placed a total and complete ban on all political rallies, demonstrations and/or procession in any part of Edo State."
The Nation however reports that security was tightened around the Edo APC secretariat.
Governor Obaseki and APC National Chairman Oshiomhole have endured a frosty relationship ahead of the governorship election of 2020.
There are rumours that Obaseki has concluded plans to dump the APC, after falling out with Oshiomhole who is his predecessor in office.