From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State Working Committee of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has suspended the state chairman of the party, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, until the outcome of a three-man Investigation committee set up to investigate allegations levied against him.
Aziegbemi’s suspension was the outcome of a meeting held at the state party secretariat on Tuesday in which a two-thirds majority of members of the party executive committee resolved in a motion that he should step aside and therefore suspended from his position.
The meeting also resolved that Hon Harrison Omagbon, the State Deputy Chairman, will act in Dr Aziegbemi’s stead.
The Investigative Committee headed by the State Legal Adviser, Barr Arthur Esene, is expected to send its report to the Working Committee within one week. Other members of the Committee are Mrs Linsdale Tes Sorae (State Woman Leader) and Dr Wilson Imongan (State Auditor).
Amongst others allegations, Dr Tony Aziegbemi is accused of gross misconduct by brewing unnecessary tension and disunity among party members in the state in a manner akin to bringing the party into disrepute.
The party, in a statement issued by its State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare, urged party ‘members and supporters to remain calm as we embark on this self-cleansing exercise.’
Swiftly reacting to the development, Edo PDP Youth Leader Mr Ehis Destiny described the publication by Mr Chris Nehikhare as ’embarrassing, provocative, misleading, and mischievous.
He continued: ‘There was never a time where the state working committee members met and decided that the Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, should be suspended. All the claims in that Mr Chris Nehikhare’s publication were merely falsified, manipulated, and conjured by him, his paymaster, and his cohorts.
‘I am a member of the PDP State Working Committee. Currently, l am the PDP state youth leader. We were with the state chairman yesterday the 1st day of June 2021 till the close of work at about 4 pm. While in the chairman’s office, there was nothing that is suggestive of the chairman being suspended. It is very disturbing, disheartening, and embarrassing to read on the pages of social media this morning that, our chairman, who is a peace-loving, friendly, amiable, enthusiastic, dedicated, and pragmatic leader has been labelled and maliciously maligned by an overzealous publicity secretary.
‘The Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, has at all times strived to carry everybody along since he became the party’s chairman in the state. Some powers that be, who believe that PDP in Edo state is their private and personal estate has tried every means to hijack the administration of the party in the state, even when they know what they are doing is wrong,’ Ehis said.
He advised Nehikhare to immediately retract the publication and tender an unreserved apology to the State Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, in person and the entire Edo state PDP in general ‘so as not to further embarrass ourselves and ridicule the party.’