The planned rallies by the two factions of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ebony State on Monday raised tension in Abakaliki, the state capital, as the two held parallel rallies to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari’s return to the country after his medical trip.
One of the factions also wanted to use its rally to protest against the state government’s proposed loan of $150 million from the African Development Bank, ADB, and Islamic Development Bank for the construction of a 198-km ring road in the state.
One faction said it was in support of the loan request for the construction of the road while the other opposed it.
The parallel rallies and protests affected human and vehicular movements in Abakaliki the state capital where they were held.
But for security agencies who were on hand to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order, the two factions would have physically clashed.
The two factions, one loyal to the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, and another to the governorship candidate of the party in 2015 general election, Julius Ucha, are battling for supremacy and control of the party.
Mr. Ucha’s faction of the party has Ben Nwachukwu as its chairman while Mr. Onu’s faction recognises Ben Nwobasi as its leader.
Mr. Ucha’s faction asked its members to oppose the rally kicking against the proposed loan.
Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi has warned the warring factions against a breakdown of law and order in the state through their rallies and counter rallies.
The governor through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, noted that while his government recognised the right to democratic dissent, it would not allow lawlessness in the process.
“The governor condemns seriously the activities of the two factions of APC and advises them to put their house in order as the state government will not fold its hands to allow few political hawks drag the state back,” Mr. Uzor said.