The Edo State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has disowned a group, PDP Integrity Group, which claimed to have suspended some prominent members of the party over alleged anti-party activities.
Those allegedly suspended by the Integrity Group of the PDP were former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Tom Ikimi; former Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadohme and former Minister of Works, Arch. Mike Onolememen.
Others were Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Senator Yisa Braimoh, Senator Victor Oyofo and the former leader of the House of Representatives, Tunde Akogun.
The decision to suspend the PDP party chieftains was contained in a communique signed by former Chairman, Nigeria Football Association, Emperor Jarret Tenebe and former two-time chairman, Owan West Government Area, Dan Asekheme, and was aid to have been taken after a stakeholders’ meeting which held in Benin City at the weekend.
The meeting which was reportedly attended by PDP leaders from the 18 local government areas of the state, passed a vote of confidence on the Chief Dan Orbih-led PDP in Edo.
Consequently, the meeting resolved to extend the tenure of the state exco and those of the 18 jocal government areas by six months to enable them conduct governorship primaries 2020 gubernatorial election.
“We the Edo PDP Integrity Group also announce the adoption of former governor of the state, Chief Lucky Igbinedion as the leader of our party in Edo State,” the group said.
Giving reason for the suspension of some of the party leaders, the group alleged that “Chief Oghiadohme was seen when he flew a helicopter with Governor Godwin Obaseki to attend the convocation ceremony of the Edo University, Iyamho, last weekend.
“He even displayed the sign 4+4, endorsing Obaseki when we had our own PDP aspirants.
“Chief Ikimi and others have been holding clandestine meetings with Governor Obaseki where we learnt reliably that the governor was asked to bring N6 bn so he can join PDP and take the ticket.
“We are also aware that they have been meeting with the state chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, with a view to perfecting this plan. We believe as a party we must instil discipline because it is because of the cash-and-carry politics some people played in the past that led to the problem of PDP in Edo State.
“As we move towards 2020 governorship election, we urge our aspirants to disregard the activities of greedy politicians and continue their campaigns. We will fight indiscipline in the PDP no matter whose ox is gored,” the group it said.
But the Edo PDP in a swift reaction, disowned the Integrity Group, saying it was not aware of any group that goes by the name PDP Integrity Group and that whatever statement that had been released or issued by the group should be disregarded.
“We frown at their audacity to suspend or even say they are suspending respected leaders of our party especially as they lack such powers.
“Their attempt to offer an extension to the tenure of Chief Dan Orbih is not only laughable, but infantile. Chief Orbih has not requested for any extension. He has said he is going on the expiration of his tenure in March 2020. That is the position of the party!
“They are not members of any organ of our party and as such cannot issue statements or releases on behalf of PDP.
“We will not hesitate to discipline any party member that submits himself to be used as a political tool in the hands of our political opponents,” the party said in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, in Benin.
The state chairman of All Progressives Congress, Anselm Ojezua, in his reaction, said: “As a political party, we are always open to possibility of valuable politicians who wish to adopt. So, we are in permanent state of mobilisation that is the only thing I can say for now, nothing specific yet.”
On the allegation that governor Godwin Obaseki is hobnobbing with some PDP members with the aim of defecting to APC, Ojezua said: “There is no way I will seat in my house and know whether the governor is meeting with anyone or not meeting with anyone.
“As I said in the past, the governor is interested in getting as many valuable people as possible, so I won’t rule out anything.”