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Police Stops APC Mega Rally In Minna

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The All Progress Congress (APC) defied last minutes warning to hold a mega rally in Minna, the Niger state capital which brought the city to a stand still as a mammoth took to the streets.

The rally, which was to signal the end of David Umaru’s campaign ahead of Saturday, August 30, 2014 by-election was to be held at Minna Polo Ground, but it was not to be as security agents cordoned off the venue, apparently obeying orders from above.

In sharp contrast it was reported that a Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) rally was allowed to be held at the Trade Fair Complex

The Nation reports:

It was learnt that a letter banning APC from using the Polo Ground was conveyed to the party by the police on Wednesday. August 27, 2014.

According to a source in the APC, police said they stopped the opposition party’s mega rally because the ruling party planned to hold a similar rally in the state capital, the same day and at the same time.

The development forced APC supporters to hit major roads in the state capital. Residents trooped out to hail the party’s standard-bearer, Umaru.

They became uncontrollable when the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, led other national and state officers to the palace of the Emir of Minna, Dr. Faruk Bahago. They later visited Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

Reacting to the development, APC state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa, said the party applied to use the venue on Sunday, August 24, 2014 “but we were denied because PDP chose the same day to hold its rally, but at a different venue.”

He went on: “We sought approval from the police to hold our rally. Each time we apply, they will tell us PDP is having their rally the same time, day and venue. This is exactly what is happening today. They told us they could not grant us the approval and you know the electoral law, which states that parties should stop campaign 24 hours to the election. Today is the only day we have and they still deny us.

“Anybody preventing us from holding our rally is infringing on our right and tampering with our citizenship. They are not being fair to us. They’ve been afraid of us. Since our candidate emerged, PDP has been having sleepless nights.”

Police spokesman Ibrahim Gambari denied that the state command prevented APC from using the venue.

He claimed that they were not responsible for the locking up of the gate to the rally ground.

“We gave approval and cover to the two parties. You cannot see our men at the rally ground. We are not the one that locked it up,” Gambari said.

But a source at the command headquarters, who spoke in confidence, said the order to stop APC rally came from above.

“The unfortunate thing is that the police will be blamed for this ugly development. The fact is that we acted on the order from above. We got the order on Wednesday evening and conveyed it to the party,” the source said.

APC stalwarts, who came to support Umaru, included Odigie-Oyegun; the National Deputy Chairman, Northcentral, Senator Lawal Shuaibu; the National Secretary, Alhaji Mai Mala; the National Treasurer, Bala Mohammed; Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso; former Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki; the state party Chairman, Mohammed Imam Jibrin; and the state chairmen from Kwara, Kano and Plateau states.

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