Tony Osauzo, Benin
Former Edo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Prince Kassim Afegbua on Monday formally reacted to his one-month suspension by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for alleged anti-party activities.
‘This is to inform the members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it’s supporters and the general public that Prince Kassim Afegbua of ward 5, Etsako East Local government area of Edo State has been suspended for a period of one month with effect from August 2, 2020, by the ward executive after being found guilty of anti-party activities.
‘The State Chairman, Hon Tony Aziegbemi has directed the local government chairman to set up a disciplinary committee to investigate the allegations of anti-party activities levied against him.
‘The composition of the disciplinary committee will be announced in due course,’ the party had said in a statement suspending Afegbua Sunday night and signed by its State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare.
But in a statement yesterday, titled ‘of suspension by tax collectors and other matters,’ Afegbua said he would not have glorified the PDP leadership with a response concerning the one-month so-called suspension placed on him but for the deluge of calls he had gotten from concerned Nigerians who insisted that they deserve to have his response.
He, however, stated that he does not intend to appear before any tax collectors in the name of the disciplinary committee, adding: ‘To me, that is even an affront, to say the least.
‘I saw a letter purportedly written by my Ward 5 executives on social media, unsigned with no name attached, saying I have been suspended for one month. At first, I wondered why it took this long for the leadership to arm-twist those young unemployed youths whom I have fought for to add value to their lives before a supposed letter finally emanated from them.
‘They have severally told me of the pressure and threat to their lives by the party’s leadership especially the inchoate party chairman, who appears drunk with his new fond candidate that is feasting fat on our collective patrimony. I am told how he tried to breathe down the throat of those young boys in my ward, insisting on invoking a suspension order on me. For your information, it does not matter how many months you suspend me, you can even decide to expel me from PDP so that I can free myself from the grip of “tax collectors” who have found new trading routes to their pockets. My point remains very sacrosanct that you cannot grab a man’s trousers by the pockets and thereby gifting him the party’s ticket, without appearing drunk with unreason.
‘I hold no grudge with those boys in my ward, who have been compelled to issue a suspension letter to me, supervised by a quack doctor who has been “slaughtering” people in my community. This situation will afford me the opportunity to interrogate persons who have been part of those conspirators to reap us off as Okpellans in our quest for our rightful place in the scheme of things. My position remains unshaken irrespective of the manipulative conduct that has exposed the rotten underbelly of a party that is steeped in tax collection from would-be aspirants. My cause is simple: to place Okpella above self in our quest for our deserved place in the affairs of the state. I have made the point so eloquently loud and clear, and any Governor would not neglect us based on the pedestal we presently occupy.
‘I do not really need any political party to exhibit my political choices and persuasions. I am neither a government contractor nor one who hustles for the perks of office. My interest is predominantly anchored on the future of Okpella and its place in the scheme of things as the politics of the state structures its own compass. I am aware, thus far, that no elected Governor would dare take us for granted again. The elections are by the corner and we as Okpellans, are resolute to deliver the four Wards for Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. That position is not negotiable, and we would religiously guide our loins to ensure we deliver our votes without equivocation.
‘I do not intend to appear before any tax collectors in the name of the disciplinary committee. To me, that is even an affront, to say the least. How can newcomers into a party be deciding who is to be suspended or retained as members? That is the power of illicit money being deployed arbitrarily to compel everyone to submission. I am not going to be Governor Obaseki’s fan or supporter. I am driven by my conviction and conscience, and no amount of inducement can alter that reality. Those “tax collectors” who have found a new minefield to butter their bread, can have a field day, but the victory of evil over good can only be temporary.
‘I remain unequivocal about my support for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and will ensure that I mobilise enough votes for him in the four Wards of Okpella. Having earlier described me as “inconsequential”, I am wondering why they now suddenly remember I am relevant to warrant a suspension. I am actually waiting for their expulsion in good time. My votes cannot be suspended or expelled. My thumb is my power,’ Afegbua said.