Ex-minority whip, Edo APC bicker over suspension
Members accuse party leadership of impunity
All seems not to be well with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State as the simmering discontent snowballed into yet another set of suspensions in the party.
The state leadership of the party weekend ratified the suspension of 30 of its members from Uhunmwonde local government area including former minority whip of the House of Representatives, Samson Osagie, former chairman of the Local Government, Rolland Alari; Josef Omorotionwan; and 27 others for alleged anti-party activities.
This is few weeks after a similar suspension was slammed on some leaders in Edo Central Senatorial District over charges that they masterminded an attack on the state chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua when some youths attempted to pick a senatorial leader without the consent of the party.
It would be recalled that the APC youth leader in the state, Eriyo Osakpamwan was removed in January for alleged indiscipline. Valentine Asuen replaced the youth leader, who was subsequently remanded at the Benin Prison for alleged attempted murder and attempted suicide.
He was sacked along with the chairman of APC in Oredo council area, Mr. Peter Okoro; Woman Leader, Lauretta Uhunmwagho; Sunday Osaguana; Imafidon Oziegbe; amongst others.
The State secretary of the party, Chief Osaro Idah explained then that the change in leadership was to inject fresh hands into the party at the local level, and named Godwill Alari as the acting chairman of the party in Oredo.
In the latest suspension confirmed by Idah, the suspended leaders were alleged to have worked against their party in the September 28, 2016 governorship election.
The Uhunmwonde chapter of the APC had suspended the leaders in a meeting held in November last year, after the party leadership including the leader of the party in the Local Government, Charles Idahosa, accused the affected persons of working against the APC during the governorship election.
Idahosa had hinted of the suspension in an interview with The Guardian shortly after the election when he declared that some members of the party worked against it during the election and that the party would meet to take a decision on those believed to be involved.
Analysts say those suspended were loyalists of former deputy governor, Pius Odubu who aspired to succeed his former boss, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole but lost in the primaries to Godwin Obaseki that eventually won the election.
It is believed that many of his supporters especially from Uhunmwonde and his own local government Orhionmwon local government voted against the APC during the election. The opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party won in Orhionmwon but lost by a slim margin in Uhnmwonde.
Incidentally, the suspended leaders led by Omorotionmwan also slammed Idahosa and Harrison Uyugue as well as the five-man disciplinary committee set up to try them for anti-party activities.
In particular, Osagie said that the action lacked merit and violates Article 21 of the party’s Constitution.
“Let me state clearly that as against my accusers particularly Charles Idahosa, I followed the governor and the entire State campaign team to campaign throughout Edo South Senatorial district and eventually worked hard to ensure that the APC won overwhelmingly in my Unit 4 at Egba and the entire Ward 6 (Umagbae South) in Uhunmwode Local Government Area,” he stated.
Besides, he accused the party State secretary of running the party without recourse to other members of the state leadership adding that their alleged suspension was an off-shoot of the party primary taht produced the present governor where he (Osagie) supported Odubu.
“It is important to let the public know that neither myself nor any of those allegedly suspended with me were invited by any organ of the party for the purpose of trial for alleged anti party activities. This suspension is ample evidence of the reign of impunity that has taken over the running of the party.
“I was the Senatorial Candidate of the party in the 2015 National Assembly/Presidential elections, I was even a member of the Presidential Inauguration Committee set up by the National Working Committee; except for mischief and an attempt to pull me down how can any right thinking person conceive that I worked against a party I defended so hard as it’s Minority Whip in the House of Representatives and its candidate for the Senatorial seat of Edo South. It is inconceivable,” he added.
The state chairman of the party informed The Guardian that the suspension stands because the suspended members did not appeal their suspension as stipulated in the party’s Constitution.
The chairman who denied that there is rift in the party, insisted that the decision was legal as the due process as stipulated by the party’s rules was followed.
His words: “They have conducted some disciplinary proceedings at which they reached some decisions which is the suspension of some members of the party in their various wards and local governments and as it is required by the constitution of our party, they notified us at the state level.
Sometimes last year till date, these people concerned, did not deemed it fit to appeal against this suspension order and since we did not receive any such appeal, we cannot exercise our appellate jurisdiction so the position of the party is that that decision having been taken by a structure of the party at that level will stand until it is reversed. So since it has not been reversed, they will stand suspended.
On the claim by Osagie that he was never invited by any committee, Ojezua said: “That should have been the ground of appeal but he should not appeal to the press, he should appeal to the relevant authority of the party as prescribed by the constitution”
“What is happening now is democracy in action. The party is structured to be able to deal with issues of discipline when they arise; and then people must understand that we have rules called Constitution and that the rules are meant to be obeyed. If the rule says when you are affected by something you should do it like this, you cannot do it any other way. I am also amused when I see these things in the media. The only body that can reverse them at this point is the state executive and as at the moment, I am not in possession of any protest against suspension by anybody”
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