The crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress in Edo State took a new dimension on Tuesday over the planned rally to receive Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from the Peoples Democratic Party into the APC.
Ize-Iyamu, who was the closest opponent of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the 2016 election, is leaving the PDP for the APC. But the state Secretary of the APC, Mr Lawrence Okah, on Tuesday raised the alarm on an alleged plan by the state government to import thugs from Kogi, Ekiti and Delta States to disrupt the rally scheduled for Friday.
Okah in a statement said, “We are aware that the state government has recruited the services of the governor’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr Haruna Yusuf; and a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto, to recruit these armed thugs. They have been mandated to disrupt the scheduled rally by importing armed thugs from Kogi and Delta states.
“We are raising this alarm so that the world will know that Governor Godwin Obaseki intends to unleash mayhem on the APC members in Edo State after he had perfected plans to join the PDP.”
But when contacted on the telephone, Adjoto denied the allegation. He said, “It is unfortunate that such statement will come from Chief Lawrence Okah who is somebody I respect so much and I will be shocked if he actually said so.
“I am a man of peace, I am a stakeholder in this state and the governor is committed to absolute peace in the state.”
Meanwhile, the state government, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said it was not aware of any APC rally in scheduled for the state on Friday. Mr Anselm Ojezua who is the APC chairman of the governor’s faction also described the planned rally as “a provocative handiwork of unauthorised persons.”
Addressing journalists at the end of security meeting with heads of security agencies in the state at the Government House, the governor said, “I have checked with the state APC secretariat and as far as I am concerned, the party has not officially announced that it will be having a rally.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Lawal Jimeta, said the state police command and other security agencies were working to prevent a planned clash by rival cult groups in Benin metropolis. The commissioner said this while responding to viral videos on the interne posted by members of rival cult groups, threatening to unleash mayhem metropolis.