Power tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deepened, yesterday, as the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee dismissed the suspension of the Edo State Executive Committee of the party by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction.
The Dan Orbih leadership of the PDP in Edo echoed the Caretaker Committee’s position.
Sheriff had, early yesterday, announced the suspension of the Edo PDP exco, replacing it with a Caretaker Committee.
The bone of contention is the PDP primary election organised by the Makarfi Caretaker Committee ahead of the Edo gubernatorial election last Monday, which produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the candidate of the PDP.
The Sheriff group, also yesterday, fixed June 29 to pick the PDP candidate for the September 10 Edo gubernatorial election.
Announcing the sack of the Edo PDP Exco, Sheriff and a former National Secretary of the party, Professor Wale Oladipo, said the decision was taken at the National Working Committee meeting of the party on June 21.
Meanwhile, about 20 youths, allegedly from Bayelsa and Delta States, were, yesterday, arrested by the All Progressives Congress (APC) youths at Ilogbo in Ikpoba Okahi LGA and Abudu in Orhionwon LGA after they reportedly invaded the LGAs to participate in the ongoing voter registration ahead of the September governorship poll.
But in separate statements, the Markafi Committee and the Edo PDP Exco noted that Sheriff and members of his NWC had been removed from office and as such not in a position to suspend any body.
The statement, signed by the Head of Publicity of the Caretaker Committee, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, read:
“The attention of the Care-Taker Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party has been drawn to press statement issued by Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and professor Wale Oladipo purporting to suspend the Edo State Executive Committee of the Party.
“The general public, in particular leadership and members of the PDP in Edo State are advised to ignore the statement as it is completely with neither basis nor authority. Procedures for taking such far reaching decisions are prescribed in the constitution of the party, so is the organs so empowered to take it.
“It is no longer news that the Ali Modu Sheriff led National Working Committee and indeed all national officers were removed by the Party’s Convention, which is the highest decision making organ of the Party. Senator Sheriff and his cohorts therefore lack the locus to take any decision on behalf of the Party”.
Orbih, in his own statement, said: “Sheriff’s action has shown that he is not a true member of PDP. By his pronouncements and his actions, he has shown the whole world that he is not a true member of PDP”.
And in response to the announcement by Sheriff and Oladipo to organise another primary to pick the PDP candidate for the Edo governorship poll, two persons, including the member representing Egor/Ikpoba Okhai federal constituency of the state in the House of Representatives, Mr Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, and a former member representing Edo in the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Matthew Iduoriyekemwen, have collected nomination forms.
Briefing journalists, yesterday, Iduoriyekemwen, who participated in Monday’s primary organised by the Makarfi Committee, which threw up Ize-Iyamu as governorship candidate, said though the exercise was fraudulent, he realized that Sheriff is the authentic Chairman of the party according to the court, and decided to contest under that platform.
While rejecting Ize-Iyamu as the PDP candidate, Iduoriyekemwen and Agbonayinma pledged their loyalty to the Sheriff-led PDP.