There was tension yesterday in Benin, the Edo State capital, following the plan by a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to the party's National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to receive some decampees from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today.
Among the decampees to be received by the faction, who are members of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM) loyal to Oshiomhole, is the 2016 governorship candidate of the PDP, Pastor Ize-Iyamu, and his supporters across the state.
Our reporter, who visited some streets, observed that there was tension in the city as hoodlums set bonfire at the party secretariat, closed to Akenzua junction on Airport Road as well as Ring Road, thereby creating tension in the area.
The development resulted to traffic gridlock for hours as vehicles had to make a u-turn and drive against traffic.
But Godwin Obaseki of Edo State had said that he was not aware of the proposed rally as a leader of the state chapter of the party in a statement issued by his media aide, Crusoe Osagie.
The Edo State Government, therefore, warned that it would close down any privately owned primary and post-primary schools that allowed its premises to be used for today's political rally.
This was contained in statement signed by the State Commissioner of Education, Jimoh Ijegbai, and made available to journalists in Benin yesterday.
Yesterday, the apex socio-cultural youth group in Edo State, Edo Youth Vanguard, alao warned the national leadership of the APC to steer clear of Edo State on what it called the illegally planned APC rally scheduled for today in Benin.
In a statement issued in Benin by its president, Nosakhare Oseghale and Secreatry General, Edward Ikhide, the group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the party's National Chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole to order over his support for a rally that had the potential of creating crises and breaching the fragile peace in the state.
While urging law-abiding residents and party faithful to go about their normal businesses without fear, the youth group advised parents to rein in their wards and enjoin them not to allow themselves to be used to foment trouble in the state.
Governor Obaseki had travelled on Tuesday with President Buhari to Egypt on national assignment and they are expected to return on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police has ordered the suspension of the mega rally organised by a fraction of the APC in Edo State until further notice.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), in a memo addressed to the Edo State deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, directed the Edo State Commissioner of Police to put apparatuses in place to effect the suspension of the rally.
The memo, a copy of which was made available to journalists yesterday during a briefing by Shaibu, also directed the Commissioner of Police to schedule a meeting with parties in the APC crisis to inform them of the order suspending the rally.
The memo, with reference number CB: 2002/IGP.SECPABJ/VOL.172/446 and dated December 12, 2019, was in response to a request made by the Edo State government to the IGP, requesting for the suspension of the rally over unsafe security situation in the state.
The memo was signed by ACP Idowu Owohunwa.
The deputy governor, who reacted to the IGP's permission granted to the APC Edo State to hold its mega rally, said, "the man that must give voice to whatever in APC in terms of governance enshrined in the Constitution is the leader of the party in the state, that is the governor. So, I have the letter, the IG has responded to me that based on security situation that I have highlighted, that he has directed the commissioner of police to put all security in place to suspend that planned rally by these people", Shaibu said.