A fresh crisis has hit the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as its leaders in the state have asked the state chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, to resign over an alleged viral video where he was seen pitching his tent with calls for Edo Central candidacy for the party’s gubernatorial ticket for the 2024 election.
Recall that the Edo PDP has been engrossed in a series of crises with the 2024 election around the corner, leading to many of its bigwigs, such as Senator Mathew Urhogide, Kenneth Imasuagbon, former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememhe. Gideon Ikhine. Two ex-commissioners in Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration, Andrew Ewanta and Efe Stawart, among others, are leaving the party.
This fresh crisis is coming barely 48 hours after the PDP announced its timetable for the state’s 2024 governorship election.
The leaders alleged that the party’s chairman acted in a manner suggesting that he was supporting the candidature from Edo Central extraction to emerge as the flagbearer for the party.
Aziegbemi, in the viral video, was seen telling a gathering of people believed to be PDP faithful that “it is now time to keep our eyes on the ball. From now on, it is for all of us to queue behind the governor so that we can make that right choice, and PDP should remain in Osadebey Avenue and make sure that man or woman is one of our own, is of Esan extraction.”
Speaking on behalf of the party leaders in Oredo Local Government Area, Martins Osakue said the video proved what he said last week: that Aziegbemi was a landlord that had abdicated his position.
He called on the National Working Committee of the party to do the needful, saying, “If Aziegbemi refuses to recuse himself from the exercise, they should remove him from the scene and just be an onlooker.”
Reacting, Aziegbemi said it was within the democratic right of any member to ventilate his views on party matters.
“That is democracy in action. I was actually talking about the wish that the next governor would come from Edo Central. The delegates will determine where the candidate will ultimately come from.
“It is my personal wish, which is premised on the spirit of the Edo in us: fairness, equity and justice,” he said.
In a related development, protesters under the aegis of PDP National Back (PDP-NB) on Monday stormed the party’s national secretariat in Abuja demanding the resignation of the acting national chairman, Amb. Umar Damagum, and other members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
The group, led by their conveners, Salau Olusola and Ami Gift, said the failure of the Damagum-led NWC to discipline former Rivers State Governor and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, and his G-5 members for their anti-party activities during the last election showed a lack of capacity to lead the party.
Asked what would be their next line of action if the NWC refused to resign, Olusola said, “We will institute legal action against them and ensure that we follow all legal means to push them out.”