By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Edo state, has accused the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki of ambush for allegedly not involving the executive committee members of the party at all levels and the state chairman of the party, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi in a recent meeting of the state chapter of the party he called.
The state chairman and secretary of the party, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi and Hillary Otsu, respectively, in a letter dated 10th May, 2021, and addressed to the national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, accused Obaseki of hosting a “purported leaders’ meeting” at which only three old members of PDP attended, against 10 former APC members who decamped with the Governor.
They alleged that the looming crisis results from failure of the National Working Committee members who negotiated Godwin Obaseki’s movement to PDP, to reach a verbal or written agreement on the integration of the new members.
They berated Obaseki for convening such a meeting, which they alleged was aimed at ambushing state chairman of the party.
They further insisted that if the Governor wants to harmonize the party in the state, as he claimed, it must start from his office, with the replacement of his deputy, Philip Shaibu and Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Osarodion Ogie with old PDP members.
The letter reads in part:
“At an emergency meeting today, the state chairman briefed the State Working Committee and LGA party chairmen, on the purported state leaders’ meeting hosted in Edo state government house, by Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, with High Chief Tom Ikimi, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi and Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and others in attendance on the 8th of May 2021, with the agenda to propose a dissolution of the Edo state PDP executive committees at all levels.
“The expanded State Working Committee and Local Government Chairmen of the Edo state PDP reject in its entirety, the proposal by the above mentioned meeting to dissolve the legitimately elected executive committee members of the PDP at the ward, local government and state levels.
“We also condemn totally, the convening of such a meeting aimed at ambushing our State Chairman (who is constitutionally empowered to call such a meeting) at a meeting where only three (3) old PDP members, namely Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Tom Ikimi and Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, as against ten (10) members from the Godwin Obaseki faction that decamped from the APC to PDP.”
“We hereby reiterate to the National Executive Committee of our party that the issue of dissolution of executive committees in Edo State is “subjudice” and it will be an act of contempt of court to revisit it by the Party.
“The genesis of this looming crisis results from the acquiescence of the National Working Committee members who negotiated Godwin Obaseki’s movement to PDP, to reach a verbal or written agreement on the integration of the new members, vis a vis the sharing of appointments, after the elections had been won.
“We therefore condemn Gov. Obaseki’s re-appointment of his former SSG without any consideration for the legacy PDP he joined.
“To this end, they have consistently sang a tune of “harmonization” ever since Obaseki was sworn in, know that he now has the “yam and the knife”.
“We have resolved strongly, that if any harmonization MUST take place, it MUST start from the Governor’s office, where his Deputy Governor should resign and a Deputy nominated from the old PDP is sworn in. This can be a spring board for broad harmonization across the state party organs.”
According to the protest letter, “the proposed dissolution and, or harmonization are designed to hold Edo people and the PDP to ransom by the Obaseki led administration,” which he said they will not accept.
“Edo people voted for PDP and Godwin Obaseki to deliver the dividends of democracy to them, but if Gov. Obaseki wills to conduct governance by a triumvirate of the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the SSG, so be it. If he wishes to appoint only his friends and former APC colleagues in his cabinet and sundry positions, and leave out the legacy PDP members, so be it.
“We, the Peoples Democratic Party leadership will not accede to any form of harmonization that has no backing or interpretation in our party constitution,”
According to them, Obaseki was being misguided and misled by three groups of individuals who they said are bent on bringing the party to disrepute, namely, aspirants for 2023 and 2024 elections (Philip Shaibu and Osarodion Ogie), congress losers (Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and Chief Tom Ikimi) and alleged godfathers coming from APC (Chief Osaro Idah, Chief Charles Idahosa, Chief Henry Tenebe, Sen. Ehigie Uzamere and Mr. Theo Okoh).
“We have consistently bent over backwards, to a breaking point, in our efforts to integrate Gov. Obaseki’s former APC supporters.
“At the Zonal congress held in Port Harcourt recently, the two positions zoned to Edo State (Financial Secretary and Ex-Officio member), were conceded to the Governor without any deliberation by the party hierarchy. The National Ex-officio position was also conceded to the Governor without any deliberations.
“Mr. Chairman, how far do we have to go to show good faith? Let it be known that we will not concede anymore positions, and those already nominated will be recalled and reallocate,” the letter concluded.