Edo PDP crisis: Obaseki’s men begin gradual takeover of structures

The crisis of confidence between Obaseki’s loyalists in the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the core PDP members over integration and harmonisation continued at the weekend with Obaseki’s men showing strong hands in the Akoko Edo Local Government Area (LGA) chapter of the party.

Obaseki loyalists, mainly those who defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC) when the governor was denied a second term ticket, had been in running battle with the main PDP members who rescued the second term project of the governor by conceding the governorship and deputy governorship slots to him over the control of the party structures from the ward to the State Working Committee (SWC).

The governor’s supporters had on Saturday called a meeting of the party in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area, where they pledged their support for the governor.

The Akoko-Edo meeting is the second in the series of such meetings, one having been held by a similar group in Egor Local Government Area, last week, where the supporters of Obaseki announced their take-over of the party leadership and suspended the chairman and secretary of the party in the area.

Similarly on Friday, a group within the party, operating under the aegis of PDP Edo South Senatorial Stakeholders, had met at the former campaign office of the governor at Aiguobaswin Crescent, GRA, Benin, where they affirmed their resolve to press for harmonisation, a term that means the entire executive councils of the PDP in the state would be dissolved to pave from for some decampees to be elected into party offices.

Cornered at Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area during the burial ceremony of late Princess Idaudu Okojie, mother of former Special Adviser on Agriculture to Obaseki, Prince Joe Okojie, former Foreign Affairs Minister and a chieftain of the party, Chief Tom Ikimi, declined  to comment on the crisis in the party, by simply saying “no, thanks, no”.

However, former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, when asked for his opinion, retorted: “My friend, that is just an in house problem, we will solve the problem.”

The meeting in Akoko-Edo, which was held at Igarra, was attended by those who defected from the APC with the governor and some old PDP members, where they pledged their support for Obaseki and his deputy, Hon Philip Shaibu.

The party members reassured that there was no crack in the party’s hierarchy as being promoted by those they called “naysayers”.

Former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Kabiru Adjoto said, “against the rumours widely speculated, the governor of Edo State who doubles as the leader of PDP in the State, is fully dedicated to strengthening the fabrics of the party.

 “Akoko-Edo PDP remains one and we are committed to aligning with the views of the governor and his deputy at all times”, Adjoto reiterated.

A leader of the party and former chairman of the council, Johnson Emasealu, cautioned party members against unnecessary bickering which he said could rob the party of internal harmony.  

The crisis, Nigerian Tribune gathered, was responsible for the inability of Governor Obaseki to appoint commissioners, seven months after he was sworn in for a second term on November 12, 2020.

Though the state House of Assembly had a month ago approved 15 Special Advisers for the governor, he has not been able to name the occupants of the slots.

Nigerian Tribune further gathered that rather, the governor appointed coordinators who are mainly party chairmen that came with him to the PDP as his coordinators across the 18 local government areas to bring in the old PDP members into his structure.

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