After months of pretending that all was well between Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state, the burble seems to have burst. The leadership of the party on Monday wrote to the national secretariat of the party complaining of the governor’s scheme to dissolve the existing party structure and seize control. In the letter dated May 10, 2021 addressed to the national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, and signed by the state chairman and secretary, Tony Aziegbemi and Hillary Otsu respectively, the party countered the resolution of a meeting held May 8 at the state government house where the decision to dissolve the state organs of the party was taken.
The decision to petition the national leadership of the party was taken at an emergency and expanded state working committee meeting held on Monday where the participants condemned in totality the Obaseki-convened meeting which they said was aimed “at ambushing our State Chairman (who is constitutionally empowered to call such a meeting)” and “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” were present.
Recall that just about three weeks ago, the Aziegbemi-led leadership of the party had come out to defend the governor over the delay in announcing his cabinet about six months after he was sworn into office. In the letter titled “RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT AN EMERGENCY AND EXPANDED STATE WORKING COMMITTEE MEETING OF EDO STATE PDP HELD ON MONDAY 10TH MAY 2021” the party blamed the National Working Committee, NWC of the party which negotiated Obaseki’s defection to the PDP for the “looming crisis”, stating that it failed “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”. They therefore condemned the governor’s reappointment of his former secretary to the state government, SSG “without any consideration for the legacy PDP he joined” adding that “To this end, they have consistently sang a tune of “harmonization” ever since Obaseki was sworn in, knowing that he now has the “yam and the knife”.
The party said “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’ insisting that “This can be a spring board for broad harmonization across the state party organs”.
According to the state executives, “The proposed dissolution and, or harmonization are designed to hold Edo people and the PDP to ransom by the Obaseki-led administration. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS. 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”.
They identified three groups of individuals whom they claimed had been misguiding and misleading the governor and “are bent on bringing our party to disrepute”. The first group is “Aspirants for 2023 and 2024 elections’, second group is “Congress Losers” whom they claimed have “never hidden their disdain for the new executives across the state, simply because they backed the wrong horses and lost woefully at various congress levels”, and the third group, “The Godfathers – Coming from APC, these individuals have brought the extinct APC culture of godfatherism, where they usually sat and wrote names for Gov. Obaseki to install as Chairmen, councilors etc”.
The aggrieved state executive alleged that these persons “have refused to register in their wards as PDP members while continuously attending PDP meetings under the Governor’s auspices, with impunity”. They vowed that “Edo State PDP will not be cowed into any illegalities by the State government”.
Arguing that they had “consistently bent over backwards, to a breaking point, in our efforts to integrate Gov. Obaseki’s former APC supporters”, the state PDP explained how. “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 re-allocated”.
The party reminded the National Executive Committee of the party that the issue of dissolution of executive committees in Edo State is “subjudice” and therefore it would be an act of contempt of court by the party to revisit it.