By Peterson Ibi, Benin
The crisis rocking the Edo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) worsened on Tuesday, as Governor Godwin Obaseki denied knowledge of a rally planned by the party to hold in Benin City, on Friday.
The state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua, also described the planned rally as provocative and handiwork of unauthorized persons.
According to sources, the mega rally is to welcome a former governorship candidate of the PDP, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and hundreds of his supporters to the APC.
The Vice President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo and the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, are expected be at the rally to receive the defectors.
Obaseki, in a chat with journalists after meeting with heads of security agencies in the state at Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said issues of public safety was reviewed at the security meeting, particularly in relation to the yuletide season.
“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,” he said.
“The issue of public safety is a major concern to us as a government and this being the last security council meeting for the year, we had to put up measures in place to tackle security challenges”.
On his part, Ojezua in a statement on Tuesday, said the purported rally is capable of disrupting peace in the state.
He 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 are aware of the purported declaration rally.
He therefore urged members of the APC in the state not to have anything to do with the event.
According to him; “The attention of the party has been drawn to an information being circulated by some unauthorised 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.
“It is therefore highly provocative and capable of creating breach of peace.
“The organisers of that event are sufficiently seasoned and experienced as politicians to know the proper procedure and tradition usually attendant to this sort of event.”
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawal Jimeta, said the State Police Command and other security agencies are working to prevent a planned clash by rival cult groups in Benin metropolis.
Jimeta revealed this in response to viral videos on the internet posted by members of rival cult groups threatening to kill themselves in the Benin metropolis.
He said the Police has studied the videos by the rival cult groups and is taking decisive action on the threats.
He noted that a committee has been set up to tackle cultism in the state with a view to checkmating cult-related activities.