•PDP suspends Ize-Iyamu over alleged romance with ruling party
Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The festering face-off between Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, has spilled over to the state chapter of the party, triggering the sack and counter sack of the state Chairman, Mr. Anselem Ojezua, and the Secretary, Mr. Lawrence Okah.
While the party leadership under Ojezua is believed to be sympathetic to the governor, Okah is perceived to be loyal to Oshiomhole.
The opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also slipped into a crisis as it suspended its governorship candidate in the last election in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for alleged anti-party activities.
The APC’s Assistant State Secretary, Mr. Ikuenobe Anthony, said the decision to remove Okah was taken after a meeting of the State Executive Committee held yesterday, November 12, 2019.
He said in the meeting, a vote of no confidence was passed on Okah.
It also passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the party under Ojezua.
Party chairmen across the 18 local government areas of the state also passed a vote of no confidence on Oshiomhole.
“The State Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has this morning, 12th of November, 2019, passed a vote of no confidence on the State Secretary, Mr. Lawrence Okah, in accordance with Article 17 (v) of the constitution of the party.
“The effect of this is that Mr. Lawrence Okah ceases to be the State Secretary of the party henceforth. An appropriate replacement will be effected in due course in accordance with Article 17 (vi) of the said constitution,” the statement said.
It was also learnt that two members of the party’s executive, who were allegedly abducted on Monday and forced to append their signatures to a document against Ojezua, disowned the document, saying it is not binding as it was signed at gunpoint.
They also said the signatures were not genuine, as they had to scribble things on the document just to escape unhurt.
Earlier, the Deputy State Chairman of the APC, Mr. Kenneth Asekomhe, at a press briefing in Benin City, after the meeting of the state executive committee, said: “In pursuant of Article 17, Section 5 of APC Constitution of 2014, as amended, we the undersigned members passed a vote of no confidence on the State Secretary of the party, Mr. Lawrence Okah. He is hereby removed from office.
“The committee also passed a vote of confidence on the State Chairman of APC, Mr. Anselm Ojezua.”
The APC chairmen in the 18 LGAs of the state, on their part, reaffirmed their support for the second term bid of Obaseki based on his achievements so far.
They also passed a vote of no confidence on Oshiomhole.
The APC Chairman in Esan Central LGA and Secretary, Edo State APC Chairmen Forum, Hon. Mike Anakaso, said the chairmen passed a vote of no confidence on Oshiomhole for his role in trying to disintegrate the party in Edo State.
“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC and we have passed a vote of no confidence on him. We don’t want what happened in Zamfara or other parts of the country to happen in Edo State,” he added.
But another faction of the party sacked the state party chairman and named Col. David Imoise(rtd) as a replacement in the interim.
Eleven out of the 16-member SWC, were said to have voted against the chairman during a meeting of the state party leadership.
The faction mandated Imoise to oversee the affairs of the party pending investigation of allegations of mismanagement of the affairs of the party and anti-party activities levelled against Ojezua.
The faction stated that the other positions in the state executive, including that of the state secretary remained intact.
According to a statement by Okah, the change in leadership has been communicated to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC for ratification.
Another statement by Etsako West Chairman of APC, Mr. Ibrahim Akokia, who doubles as chairman of APC chairmen; Suleman Bagudu (Etsako Central and Lugard Alukpe (Owan West), debunked the claim of vote of no confidence on the national chairman of APC.
He said: “We are the chairmen of the party in the 18 LGAs and we are not aware of the meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed on the national chairman of our party, Comrade Oshiomhole, who is doing very well. Rather we are aware that majority of the chairmen have suffered intimidation, harassment and assault in the hands of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration, what we have never seen in the politics of our dear state.
“Therefore, we chairmen have passed a vote of no confidence on Governor Obaseki, the suspended state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua. They have not only failed the party but the people of the state.”
APC Faction Suspends Oshiomhole
A statement late last night announced the suspension of Oshiomhole over his role in the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.
It said the decision followed the vote of no confidence passed on him by the Chairmen of the APC in the 18 local government areas of Edo State.
The statement signed by Ojezua and Anthony said: “Consequent on the development, the State Executive Committee has adopted the vote of no confidence passed on him and the subsisting suspension order from the organs of the party in the state.”
They said the decision was necessary to prevent a repeat of what happened in Zamfara State, where the party was unable to field any candidate in elections.
“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC. We have passed a vote of no confidence on him and he stands suspended from the party,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Auditor of the state chapter of APC, Mr. Timothy Osadolor and the Financial Secretary, Princess Golda Oribhabor-Onwuka, have distanced themselves from a document purporting to remove Ojezua from office.
Speaking at the party’s state secretariat, the duo explained that they were abducted and taken to the residence of a party official and forced to sign the document.
Osadolor said they were invited by a colleague for a meeting, before they were whisked to the residence of the party chief.
He said he was threatened and asked to sign the document if he wanted to leave the residence alive, noting that he had to append a fake signature against his name to regain freedom.
Oribhabor-Onwuka also said she signed the document under duress.
Edo PDP Suspends Ize-Iyamu
Also yesterday, the main opposition party in the state announced the suspension of Ize-Iyamu following reports that he intends defecting to the APC.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, the PDP stated that its leadership had waited patiently for the embattled chieftain to confirm or deny the story to no avail.
“We boast of being a party of men and women of integrity and high moral standing. It is a brand we have earned and wish to maintain.
“As a result of the uneasy quiet from our dear pastor and the impression our silence will send to our teeming supporters and followers, Edo PDP is left with no option but to announce the exclusion of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from all PDP-related activities with immediate effect, until he acknowledges, accepts and addresses the issue of his decamping to APC.
“This decision has been taken without prejudice,” the party said.