By Osas Ejeye & Abasifreke Effiong – EDO

The political feud between the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Edo state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki took a violent twist on Thursday 12th December ahead of an aborted mega defection rally on Friday.

Youths numbering more than one hundred believed to be loyal to Governor Obaseki’s faction of the APC in Edo state on Thursday evening blocked the airport road in Benin city, burning tyres and woods in protest against reported arrival of Adams Oshiomhole, who was expected to grace the defection rally of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Youths said to be members of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) protesting the factionalisation of the APC in the state, in Benin City, on Thursday, December 12, 2019.

An eyewitness told The Dune that the protesting youths blocked Akenzua junction within Benin metropolis and the main gate of the Benin airport.

“The protesting youths blocked the two sides of airport road, burnt tyres and woods on the road causing serious traffic logjam and panic in the state capital. Their activities caused motorists to sought alternative routes out of the area.”

“They set burn-fire around golf course, Akenzua junction and along Akenzua road in Benin metropolis, thereby disrupting human and vehicular movement.”

One of the protesters, Lucky Ehimen, who spoke to journalists, said they were unhappy with the way the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was meddling in the state’s politics.

“Oshiomhole should leave us alone in the state and allow us to live in peace as Governor Godwin Obaseki has performed excellently well and the youths in the state are happy with his performance and want him to continue in office. We will not allow any imposition of the leadership of the party in the state,” he said.

Pastor Osagie Iza-Iyamu

It was alleged that the Obaseki boys staged the protest to stop the reception rally for Ize-Iyamu who was to be received into the APC by a large retinue of national leaders of the APC led by the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

A member of the Adams Oshiomhole’s faction of the APC who spoke on condition of anonymity said Obaseki is threatened by the political upset a mega reception for Ize-Iyamu may cause ahead of next year’s governorship primary in the state.

“Maybe Obaseki is scared that Pastor Ize-Iyamu wants to decamp because of the governorship ticket next year. And so he sent the youths to the airport to start protesting against the mega rally tomorrow (Friday).”

Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Members of the APC in Edo said the governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was aware of Ize-Iyamu’s defection but was unhappy that the national chairman of the party was leading a pack of national leaders of the party to receive him.

Ize-Iyamu was Obaseki’s running mate for the governorship election in 2016.

There is faction in APC in Edo state. One faction called EPM (Edo Progressives Movement) which Ize-Iyamu wanted to align with is loyal to Oshiomhole.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has ordered the suspension of the rally. The order came late Thursday evening.

Earlier on Thursday during the protest, a representative of the Commissioner of Police, Danladi Isa, who visited the scene persuaded the protesting youths to open the road for traffic.

The CP representative said, “I am here because of you people. I heard there is a protest here. That is why the Commissioner of Police sent me to find out what the problem is. I am the Area Commander in-Charge of this area. Blocking of the high way is a criminal offence, we appeal to you to open the highway for people to pass. We have instructed the police not to arrest anyone.”