By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI-THERE was confusion and mild tension in Ebonyi State following the rallies organized by two factions of the All Progressive Congress, APC, led by Senator Julius Ucha and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu to celebrate President Muhammadu Buhari’s return to Nigeria after his medical trip to London and protest for and against the state government’s proposed $150million loan.
The loan is being sourced from the African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank for construction of over 198km road in the state.
In a counter rally, another faction of the party held its own to support the $150million loan request from the state government for the construction of the 198km ring road and also for safe return of Buhari from London medical trip.
These parallel rallies and protests affected human and vehicular movements in Abakaliki the state capital as Security agents were on hand to forestall breakdown of law and order.
Two factions loyal to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya and governorship candidate of the party in 2015 general election, Senator Julius Ucha have been battling for supremacy since the conduct of the last congress in the State.
Onu’s faction of the party has Eze Nwachukwu as its chairman while Ucha’s own has Hon. Ben Nwaobsi as chairman . Ucha’s faction had distanced itself from the rally against the proposed $150million loan by the state government and called on its members to disregard the rally.
Earlier in a statement, the state Chairman of the APC Ben Nwaobasi called on members of the party in the state to disregard the anti $150 million loan rally adding that the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council had already approved the loan for development of the state and construction of the ring road which would benefit 8 local government areas of the State.
“We are against the protest. We have told our members to disregard Nwachukwu and his group. They are not speaking for APC. What we want is development and that is why the President is not resting on his oars to ensure that he delivers on his promises. Anybody who is attacking the President for aiding development in Ebonyi state is anti-people. We must not strangulate the progress and development of our state because we are in opposition in the state. The President has emphasized that he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody”.
“The loan has been approved by the national assembly that has the largest numbers of APC members. The same loan was deliberated in the federal executive council and approved. Then, to whose interest is Nwachukwu serving? We must unite for the development of our state and country. APC in Ebonyi state is solidly behind President Muhammadu Buhari and we want him to continue to support our in any measure for the development of the state”, Nwobasi said.
He explained that APC is in support of any programme that would lead to the development of the state, stressing that the ring roads if constructed would boost the economic fortunes of the state and alleviate the sufferings of the people.
Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi has warned the warring factions against further 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 in as much as the state government is not oblivious of the fact that opposition is a veritable ingredient of democracy, all political actors in the APC should imbibe the rule of the game by conducting themselves in a manner that will not pose security threats to the state.
He said: “The governor condemns seriously the activities of the two factions of APC and advice them to put their house in order as the state government will not fold its arms to allow few political hawks drag the state back”