By Peterson Ibi/Benin
The crisis rocking Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) deepens on Friday as frontline members of the Edo Peoples Movement (EMP) openly declared war on Governor Godwin Obaseki, his kitchen cabinet and the State Chairman of party, Anslem Ojezua, insisting that they must go.
This followed threat of explosion from the party handed down Thursday by Ojezua, who said the party was ready to “take decisive and concrete actions against the EPM and its members.”
EPM is a pressure group within the party in the state, co-convened by a former Commissioner of Justice in the State, Henry Idahagbon and a former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Samson Osagie.
Members of the group have been at loggerheads with Obaseki, whom they said “has lost touch with the state politics.”
But Ojezua, in a statement on Thursday, noted that the existence of the ‘alien group’ is not supported by the party’s Constitution.
He added that they will not allow the “reckless antics of shameless and selfish individuals to dictate the fortunes of the party.”
According to Ojezua, the decision was aimed at preserving and protecting the party’s integrity, “since the group has refused to desist from associating their nefarious activities with the State APC.”
The statement reads: “On the 28th May, 2019, pursuant to a meeting of the State Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress, Edo State Chapter, we caused a disclaimer to be published regarding the formation of a group going by the name Edo Peoples Movement, being organised by certain individuals, purporting same to be an offshoot of the APC.
“In the publication, we took the pains to clarify that the Constitution of our party, the APC, does not have provision for groups such as the one in question and to that extent, such a group or movement was antithetical to the unity and stability our party.
“We therefore directed that those behind the said movement should desist from associating their nefarious activities with the APC.
“Information reaching us indicates that rather than heed the legitimate directives of the party leadership, these elements have heightened their activities by holding meetings in some Local Government Areas (LGAs) within the State, purporting same to be meeting of the APC.”
Ojezua said that they have decided that this is time to take concrete and decisive steps to preserve and protect the integrity of the party.
He added that they “cannot allow the reckless antics of shameless and selfish individuals to dictate the fortunes of our party; we have a duty to instill party discipline within our ranks in Edo State and we shall do that.”
But, reacting to Ojezua’s threat of expulsion, Osagie said if anybody deserves to be suspended or expelled from the party, it is Ojezua.
He described Ojezua as a serial failure who has neither won any election for the party nor add any value to it.
“Anslem Ojezua has no moral right to contemplate the things he wrote in the paper, because if anybody deserves to be suspended and expelled from the party, it is Anslem Ojezua.
“Since he became a member of this party till now, Anslem has been a serial failure for the party. He has never added any value by way of ability to win his area in terms of election, he has never been able to win election for this party. Do you compare him to thise of us who are exercising our constitutional right of association within the party?
“To be honest, Anslem is grossly incompetent to lead this party and ensure cohesion and unity.
“How do you explain a party Chairman who went on a national television to say that since the crisis started in APC in Edo, he has not had the opportunity to sit down with the national chairman of the party to discuss the issues.
“How do you explain the chairman who takes side in conflict among his party members. He has never been able to bring together people in the party who have disagreement.
“When I had issues with my local government, I reported to him and the other side reported to him also, but he took side with the other side and authorised my suspension, until Comrade Adams Oshiomhole set up a committee to look into it and they found out that there was no basis for the suspension,” Osagie said.
The former federal law maker described Ojezua as a “danger to the continued survival and the winning spirit of the APC.”
He added: “If anybody deserves to be suspended or even expelled, it is Anslem Ojezua. So he has no right to contemplate suspending any of us.
“In any case, many of us are beyond his power to suspend. I have been a member of the national executive council of this party, so he doesn’t have right over me,” Osagie boasted.
Also responding to Ojezua’s threat, another member of the EPM, Chief Chalton Magaji, described Ojezua’s threats as a huge joke that amounts to nothing.
Magaji who put Obaseki and his kitchen cabinet on notice to start packing their load, noted that EPM has the majority of members of the APC in it’s fold.
“As far as we in EPM are concerned, Ojezua cannot do anything. What can he do? Suspend us? Expel us?
Members of EPM in APC are more than 70%. Suspend or expel more than 70% members of a party? That is a huge joke.
“Ojezua is staring at disaster. Being careless and tactless will not solve Edo APC crises. In the same vain, threats and innuendos will only fuel the crises.
“The fact is that majority of us in APC in Edo state have decided that we can no longer watch our party drift. We have no other party than APC. We cannot allow the party to die because of the mediocrity of people like the Chairman. Obaseki, Phillip, Ogie and Ojezua must go. This is a task that must be done,” he said.