PDP crisis echos in Edo

Few years ago, the Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Ogiadomhe, was unanimously adopted as leader of the party in Edo North Senatorial District. However last week, majority of those who had enthroned him resolved at a meeting that the crown should be removed from his head.
Initially, it was gathered that the meeting where the call for Ogiadomhe’s removal was made was held to deliberate on the party’s fortunes and how it can be repositioned ahead of 2015.
But as the meeting, which was held at Polaris Hotel, Jattu-Affasio, near Auchi, in Etsako West local government council, progressed, the issue of Ogiadome became topical. Speaker after speaker deplored his actions and inactions as regards the welfare of the people.
Although, the attendees unanimously agreed to continue to support the president in all his future political intentions, including contesting the 2015 presidential election, they called on him to immediately sack Ogiadomhe.
The meeting was chaired by a former member of the House of Representatives and deputy governorship candidate of PDP in the last governorship election in the state, Johnson Agbolaba. It had representatives from the six local government areas of Edo North senatorial zone, namely, Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Etsako West, and Akoko-Edo.
Also present at the meeting was a former governorship aspirant in the state, Jacob Idinye, Chief Bruno Oshokpekhai, Paschal Ugbomhe, former member of the House of Representatives Abbass Braimah, two former members of the state House of Assembly, Segun Saiki and Blessing Agbebaku, among others.
At the meeting, a chieftain of the party, Suleiman Asekhamhe, raised observations about the performance Ogiadhome, a former deputy governor of the state, insisting that he is not living up to his responsibility as the senatorial leader of the party. Asekhamhe, then, demanded that Ogiadomhe should be removed for the “benefit of our supporters who are not happy with his conduct.”
At this stage, the meeting was said to have become rowdy, some persons opposed the Asekhamhe’s suggestion. But those opposed to the call for Ogiadomhe’s removal were told to leave the meeting if they maintained their opposition to the popular view.
The chief of staff to the president was accused of neglecting the members of the party, thereby turning the position given to him which, was supposed to be a blessing to the zone, into a curse.
The people also alleged that Ogiadomhe had done little to empower the people of the senatorial zone, in particular, and Edo State, in general, since he became Principal Secretary to Jonathan, when he was Vice President, and rose to Chief of Staff, when Jonathan became President.
Those calling for Ogiadomhe’s said added that rather than help his people, he had been busy acquiring property for himself and his family. They even threatened to expose him if he continued to occupy the position of Chief of Staff to the President.
Ogiadomhe was not present at the gathering. But a close aide from his Fugar home town, who did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, described the meeting as a nocturnal one that would not stand the test of time.
According to him, the meeting is the continuation of a plan by some disgruntled persons to destabilise the party in the State. He said, “The few persons at the meeting were paid agents of the opposition parties of the same characters who are presently causing crisis within the party at the national level.
“They are against the peace in the party, both in the state and at the national level, and as such any insinuation or pronouncement from them should be disregarded because they have no authority to speak on behalf of the party.
“Effort should be made to ensure absolute peace within the party rather than fanning embers of discord.
“Chief Ogiadomhe is one of the persons who have laboured to ensure equitable distribution of resources in line with the federal character to the state and Edo North, in particular, and he will continue to work for the peace of the party, no matter the level of provocation by some paid agents of destabilisation.”
Nevertheless, there seems to be a crack within the Edo State chapter of PDP. While some members of the party in Edo North have vowed that Ogidomhe remained leader of the party, others insist he is no longer their leader.
A press statement by the pro-Ogiadomhe group, signed by the chairman of PDP in Etsako Central, Mukha Elinoba, released in Benin City shortly after the meeting where the call for Ogiadomhe’s sack was made, read: “The enlarged meeting of PDP leaders and stakeholders in Edo North Senatorial District of Edo State joins the other states in the South-south geopolitical zone to repose vote of confidence and continued support for the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, ahead of 2015.
“We, leaders of the party in the zone, in a rejoinder reposed our confidence in Ogiadomhe. We also pledged our loyalty to national leadership of the party headed by Bamanga Tukur and chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih.
The statement recalled that few years ago members of the party in a meeting had unanimously adopted Ogiadomhe as the senatorial leader of the party, saying the “situation remained unchanged.”
As the controversy raged, the state chairman of PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, denied knowledge of any disagreements among members in Edo North senatorial district. Reacting to the alleged removal of Ogiadomhe’s leader of the party in the zone, Orbih said he had not been briefed by the senatorial leadership of the party.
This came as an aide of former speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, and now member of the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Zakawanu Garuba, described the meeting that called for Ogiadomhe’s sack as “a fluke.”
But a member of the anti-Ogiadomhe group said Garuba’s statement was inconsequential because he was not at the meeting where the decisions were taken. 
It could, however, be read from the tone of Orbih’s reaction that he was merely trying to douse the impression that PDP in Edo State was at war with itself.
His reaction did not seem like that of someone in total support of Ogiadohme.
Some PDP members in the state said that Ogiadomhe’s nonchalant attitude towards members of the party in his zone was something Orbih had frowned on.
A source close the Edo State PDP chairman, who preferred anonymity, said, “The chairman does not want to be seen fighting his own kinsman.
Remember, Ogiadomhe and Orbih are from the same local government area and you don’t expect him to join forces with others to kill his brother. Even at that, the chief of staff is not living up to expectation.”