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Edo PDP Crisis Deepen

The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State following the decision by some leaders of the party to kick against the return of Chief Dan Orbih as state chairman of the party heightened ahead of the party congress in preparation for next year’s governorship election. The aggrieved members are saying that and his exco members have nothing new to offer the party after six years in office.

Sparking the protesters into action is a recent statement contained in an interview by a former Vice- Chairman of the party, Paschal Ugbome, who insisted that Chief Orbih had performed creditably in the state PDP, and as a result “he will be re-elected in the forthcoming congress of the party.”

First to fire the salvo is chieftain of the party in Edo South, Mr. Osaze Jesurobo and two time former chairman of Owan West Local Government Area and leader of the PDP in Edo North, Dan Asekhame. Asehame disagreed with Ugbome on his assessment, stressing that the entire leadership of the party should give way for new persons so as to be able to stand a chance in the 2016 governorship election in the state.

Jesurobo said: “We have been saying it internally that Orbih should give way but we need to react to the comment by Ugbome. What he said are his personal views, those are not the views of majority of the party. For somebody that cannot win three elections in a row has nothing new to offer the party.”

Carrying the battle cry against Orbihare some disappointed leaders of state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo North under the aegis of PDP Adherents (Edo North Must Win). They have called for the dissolution of the State and local government executives of the party. This comes after a vote of no confidence in the national leadership of the party following the loss of the 28 March presidential election, which has now spread to the Edo State chapter of the party.

In letter addressed to the National leadership by Edo North PDP leaders led by former member of the House of Representatives, JohnsonAbolagba, the angry members called for the immediate sack of the Chief Dan Orbih-led state executive of the party and other executives in all the 18 local government areas of the state.

The letter which was signed by Abolagba, S. S. Mayaki and 18 other leaders across the six local government of Edo North, and was read at a well-attended rally in Auchi, called for the constitution of caretaker committees at all levels to temporarily run the affairs of the party and organize congresses that will be totally free and fair.

They alleged that the current leadership of the party across the state and has failed to win any election in the past six years and therefore stressed the need to elect new leadership of the party at all levels so that the party will focus on the 2016 governorship election in the state.

“Edo North PDP leaders should be allowed to determine its political future rather than its political future being determined by non Edo North leaders or Edo North leaders perceived to be loyal to some national leaders of the party,” the leaders said. The ‘Edo North Must Win’ adherents lamented what they described as mass exodus of their members to the APC, regretting that rather than find solution to the problem, the current leadership of the party in the state “have continued to embark on actions capable of causing disunity and destruction of the party in Edo state and Edo North in particular.

“Haven looked at the situation which is unacceptable, we have come to conclusion that the present leaderships of the party at all levels in the state cannot lead the party to victory in future elections neither can they bring about unity among members.

Therefore we are asking them to go so that we can put our best people in power ahead the 2016 governorship election in the state,” the leaders added in the letter. In a related development, the chairman of the PDP in Owan West local government area of the state, Mr. Monday Ogbeta, has been suspended from office by the local government and ward executive leaders of the party for alleged anti-party activities.

Notice of his suspension from office, which was signed by Peter Ekeinde and Airadion J.A; for other local government and ward leaders of the party, was sent to the State chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih for ratification. This is even as the ward and local government executives of the party in the locality have passed a vote of confidence on Mr. Johnson Abologba, a former member of the House of Representatives who was earlier suspended by the Monday Ogbeta-led local government executive, describing him (Abolagba), as a responsible and dependable leader.

The leaders of the party at its expanded meeting held at Sabongida-Ora, administrative headquarters of Owan West local government area, at which they ordered the suspended party chairman to handle over the property of the party at his disposal to the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Festus Ohikhuare, accused him of running the party as a sole administrator. Besides, they accused him of mismanaging the party’s money, particularly the fund set aside for the payment of the salary of the staff in its secretariat and had permanently locked up the party’ secretariat, thereby preventing staff from entering into it because he had refused to pay their salaries from the fund set aside for the purpose.

Mr. Ogbeta was further accused of failing to refund to the Ward chairmen the sum of N20,000 passed through him for their transportation during the last election, even as he was alleged to have arbitrarily suspended party members without due process thereby causing confusion within the party andengaging in divide and rule method in the running of the party and has resorted to harass and arrest party members with the police who have seen as perceived enemies.

He was therefore asked to appear before a disciplinary committee set up by the party to defend himself against the allegations against him and should not parade him as the chairman of the PDP in the area during the period of his being investigated. Attempts to reach Orbih for his comments failed, as he would not answer calls to his phone or returned them. Time will tell where the pendulum swings in the next few days before the actual congress to elect the state exco.

-Aggrieved party members and supporters of state Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih clash over the clamour for the exco to vacate their seat for non-performance before the next state congress, writes Paul Yovo

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