Edo governor may clash with PDP over appointments, party structures

The Edo Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be poised for a showdown with Governor Godwin Obaseki over his alleged plan to dissolve the party executive at all levels in the state.

Newsmen reported that Obaseki had on May 8, hosted a meeting of state party leaders at the Government House, Benin, with a proposed agenda to dissolve the PDP executives at all levels in the state.

Following the proposal, the state chairman of the PDP, Tony Aziegbemi, and the Secretary, Hillary Otsu, wrote a letter on behalf of the elected officials to the national leadership of the party.

In the letter, which was made available to newsmen, the expanded State Working Committee of the party rejected the proposal by Obaseki to dissolve “a legitimately elected executive”.

The letter reads in part: “The expanded State Working Committee 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 such a meeting aimed at ambushing our State Chairman, who is constitutionally empowered to call such a meeting.”

The party executives noted that only three old PDP members: Raymond Dokpesi, Tom Ikimi and Mike Oghiadomhe, were in attendance, as against 10 members from Obaseki’s team 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.

“The genesis of this looming crisis results from the acquiescence of the National Working Committee members who negotiated Obaseki’s movement to the PDP.

“(The committee did not) 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 Governor Obaseki for re-appointing his former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) without any consideration for the ‘legacy PDP’ he joined.

“To this end, they have consistently sang a tune of ‘harmonisation’ ever since Obaseki was sworn in, now that he has the “yam and the knife”.

“We have resolved strongly that if any harmonisation 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 harmonisation across the state party organs.

“The proposed dissolution and, or, harmonisation 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.

“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 state PDP leadership will not accede to any form of harmonisation that has no backing or interpretation in our party constitution.”

The state party leadership said the governor was being misled by some groups of politicians in the state.

It was difficult to get Obaseki’s comment for this report as the governor was yet to appoint a spokesperson since his re-election.

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