Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Secretary of the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Lawrence Okah, has become the latest casualty in the crisis rocking the party in the state, following his suspension from office.
The state Chairman of the party, Anselm Ojezua who confirmed the suspension, said he was suspended to allow the committee set up to investigate the allegation against him from his Oredo local government, adding that Okah’s suspension was not a punitive measure but a normal administrative procedure of the party.
“He was just suspended to allow the committee set up to look at the complaints against him. We have not expelled him, no, it is not like that. The suspension is not punitive, it is just a normal administrative procedure,” he said.
Okah in a swift reaction, confirmed the action but said Ojezua, going by the constitution of the party, has no power to suspend him.
It was learnt that leaders and members of the APC Oredo Ward 7 have been locked in battle of supremacy over the control of the party structure of the ward which is also the ward of the state governor.
It was alleged that the governor’s loyalists and supporters had been out to dislodge any opposition group against his re-election bid and their quest for a near- bloody clash between Obaseki’s forces and the party members loyal to the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, was averted during a meeting called by leaders of the party in the ward two weeks ago; but a party official, however, sustained injury in the process.
The suspension of the secretary was linked to his perceived loyalty to Adams Oshiomhole.
Recall that Governor Godwin Obaseki had last week while inaugurating boards of some parastatals, vowed to flush out those considered as dissidents from the party.
He praised members of Edo APC who have remained faithful to the party in the state but vowed to flush out any dissident APC member in the state.
“I want to thank those APC members that have remained committed. You know we have not wasted government money. We are progressives because we want to make tomorrow better for our children. Many have derailed. We thank God they have derailed because their hearts were not pure.
“We will flush them out. We own the land. We determine who our leader will be. Nobody can come here and impose on us who we don’t want,” governor said.
Meanwhile, the APC chairman has also vowed that the party will not allow any parallel group, saying that such group is cancerous.
“Anybody that is organising a parallel group in the party will have to contend with us. There is no better way to destroy a party than to encourage fractionalisation. That one, we have zero tolerance for, and the constitution provides very expressly that it is not acceptable and we will deal with it,” Ojezua said.