The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State has reported Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
The State Working Committee (SWC), in a letter dated May 10, addressed to the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, and signed by the state chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi and Secretary Hillary Otsu, accused Obaseki of plotting to dissolve the validly elected ward, local government and state executives.
They also called for the resignation of deputy governor of the state, Philip Shaibu, as part of the power-sharing arrangement.
The letter was part of resolutions reached by the SWC at an emergency and expanded meeting held at the party’s secretariat in Benin City, the state capital, on Monday.
It was gathered that Obaseki, who defected in June 2020 from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to PDP, ahead of the September 19 governorship election, met at the Government House on May 8 with PDP chieftains, including Chief Tom Ikimi, Dr Raymond Dokpesi and Chief Mike Oghiadomhe.
The governor was said to have discussed the dissolution plan at the meeting.
“At an emergency meeting, the State Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, briefed the SWC and LGA party chairmen on Obaseki’s May 8, 2021 meeting at the Government House, Benin, with the agenda to propose dissolution of Edo State executive committees at all levels.
“After more than five hours of deliberations, the following resolutions were adopted: the expanded SWC and local government chairmen of the Edo State PDP reject in its entirety the proposal 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 the meeting aimed at ambushing Edo State Chairman of PDP (who is constitutionally empowered to call such a meeting) which only three old PDP members (Dokpesi, Ikimi and Oghiadomhe attended), as against ten members from the Obaseki faction that defected from the APC to PDP.
“We hereby reiterate to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our party that the issue of dissolution of executive committees in Edo State is ‘sub-judice’ and it will be an act of contempt of court to revisit it by the party,” the letters said.
The SWC said the genesis of the “looming crisis” was the “acquiescence” of the National Working Committee (NWC) members, who negotiated Obaseki’s movement to PDP and agreed on the integration of the new members and the sharing of appointments after the election.
“We, therefore, condemn Obaseki’s reappointment of his former Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, without any consideration for the legacy PDP he joined.
“To this end, they have consistently sung a tune of harmonisation, ever since Obaseki was sworn in, knowing that he now has the yam and the knife.
“We have resolved strongly that if any harmonisation will take place, it must start from Edo Governor’s office, where his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, should resign and a deputy nominated from the old PDP is sworn in.
“This can be a springboard for broad harmonisation across the state party organs,” the SWC said.
The SWC said the proposed dissolution and harmonisation were designed to hold Edo people and the PDP to ransom.
“We will not accept this. Edo people voted for PDP and Obaseki to deliver the dividends of democracy to them, but if Obaseki wants 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 PDP leadership, will not accede to any form of harmonisation that has no backing or interpretation in our party’s constitution,” it noted.
The SWC said Obaseki was being misled by three groups.
“We recognise that Edo Governor is being misguided and misled by three groups of individuals who are bent on bringing our party to disrepute.
“Group A: Aspirants for 2023 and 2024 elections. The two main culprits here are the Deputy Governor and the SSG, who are both rumoured to have governorship and Senatorial aspirations. This is legitimate. However, such ambitions will not be used to rubbish the integrity of the party.
“Group B: Congress losers. These are primarily Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and Chief Tom Ikimi.
“These members have never hidden their disdain for the new executives across the state, simply because they backed the wrong horses and lost abysmally at various congress levels.
“These three members have consistently lost their units in previous elections, despite the exalted positions and appointments they have held in the party. They cannot now be wiser than Solomon by asking for the living child to be split in two.
“Group C: The godfathers coming from APC. These individuals have brought the extinct APC culture of godfatherism, where they usually sat and wrote names for Obaseki to install as chairmen, councillors etc.
“They have refused to register in their wards as PDP members, while continuously attending PDP meetings under the governor’s auspices with impunity.
“Chief Osaro Idah, Chief Charles Idahosa, Chief Henry Tenebe, Senator Ehigie Uzamere and Mr Theo Okoh are the key culprits here. Edo State PDP will not be cowed into any illegalities by the state government.
“We have consistently bent over backwards, to a breaking point, in our efforts to integrate Obaseki’s former APC supporters.
“At the zonal congress recently held in Port Harcourt, 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 any more positions, and those already nominated will be recalled and re-allocated,” the SWC added.