Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), arrived in Benin, Edo state capital, on Thursday, assuring his supporters that the rally to receive defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will still hold.
The leadership of the party had organised the rally to welcome Osagie Ize-Iyamu, governorship candidate of the PDP in 2016, into its fold but the government of Edo kicked against it.
Philip Shuaibu, the deputy governor, had headed to the force headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, explaining that the rally could trigger violence.
Subsequently, Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, ordered suspension of the rally.
But Oshiomhole told his supporters not to get discouraged, assuring them that the programme would hold “someday”.
He also advised them to shun violence, no matter the level of provocation.
“I know you are hurt with what we are passing through here but I want to plead with you don’t be provoked. Any reasonable party leader will be happy to welcome people from another party into his party,” he said.
“Particularly when those coming were people who fought us in the last election. And when you look at the margin then it was like 50,000. So we are in Benin to welcome them but you can see how their thugs are unleashing mayhem on people.
“But I want to tell you, APC is our house and we will not destroy it neither are we going to allow anybody destroy it. We don’t want anyone to be killed so, please don’t fight back. Those who know me know that I am not a coward, I am not afraid of a fight. But I will not and I urge you to remain calm.
“We are getting conflicting report now, the IG ordered the Commissioner if Police to give us protection for our rally. But we are being told now that the same authority said it has been cancelled. But I am going to make calls and find out what the problem is, if the police is saying they cannot protect a political rally.
“I will find out and let you people know. But even if they said we cannot hold it, please don’t fight anybody. I will meet them and find out when it will hold. But the rally will still hold someday… Nobody can shake our spirit. We will receive our brothers into the party to fortify our party.”
Oshiomhole, who was instrumental to the emergence of Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo, fell out with him mid-way into the tenure of the governor.
Efforts made to reconcile the duo have yielded results.
Signup for FREE news updates, latest information and hottest gists everyday/Advertise on NigerianEye.com