The man who superintended over the controversial suspension of Adams Oshiomhole from the Edo All Progressives Congress (APC) has himself been suspended in a controversial manner.
The APC headquarters Wednesday said it has approved the suspension of its Edo branch chairman, Anslem Ojezua.
Mr Ojezua was suspended on Tuesday by 11 of the 16 members of the Edo State Working Committee (SWC).
The party chairman described the suspension as illegal.
On the same Tuesday, following an emergency meeting at Edo Government House with Governor Godwin Obaseki, Mr Ojezua led leaders of the APC to announce the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole from the party.
The Wednesday Drama
By Wednesday, both parties reinforced their stance.
Mr Ojezua announced the suspension of Mr Oshiomhole and tried to justify it.
“Yesterday, 15 chairmen of the APC chapters in the local councils and 23 out of the 35 members of the State Executive Committee passed a vote of no confidence on the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while a vote of confidence was passed on my person.”
“The APC Local council chairmen have found out that Adams Oshiomhole is the one behind the crisis in Edo APC and following the findings, lost confidence in the leadership of the national chairman by passing a vote of no confidence on him. Considering the stand of these chairmen and also based on the report from organs of the party, we affirmed the suspension of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from APC in Edo State,” Mr Ojezua was quoted as saying in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by the Edo State governor’s office
At about the same time as the Benin meeting was holding, the APC NWC met in Abuja to approve Mr Ojezua’s suspension.
“Party’s National Secretariat received a notification of the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua by eleven  of the sixteen  members of the Edo State Working Committee (SWC). We have reviewed the process they followed and conclude that they have fulfilled the required conditions,” APC national spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, said in a statement.
“We, therefore, uphold the suspension of the Edo State APC Chairman, Anslem Ojezua while we await the outcome of the fact-finding and reconciliation committee,” he added.
At the Benin meeting, Mr Ojezua, however, faulted his suspension.
He said the state working committee which purportedly removed him did not have powers to do so.
“Our constitution has a provision to remove officers at the state level. It is only the State Executive Committee that has the powers to remove any officer, ” he said.
The APC NWC had also in the past said only the National Executive Committee of the APC could remove a national officer of the party. That would mean Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension by the state chapter was invalid.
Mr Issa-Onilu did not speak on Mr Oshiomhole’s suspension and did not indicate if the NWC discussed it at its Wednesday meeting.
The party spokesperson also lamented that steps taken to resolve the crisis in the party had not been productive.
Mr Issa-Onilu said the various steps the party had taken to find an amicable resolution have been futile despite the intervention of the Governors Forum.
“We note that this is happening in spite of the various steps the party has taken to find an amicable resolution.
“Recall that party leaders such as the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, and other eminent party leaders, had all tried at various times to ensure that the issues do not escalate,” he said.
“Sadly, these interventions have not yielded the desirable results.”
Mr Issa-Onilu said the “immediate concern of the NWC is how to ensure that unity returns to the ranks of the party in Edo State.
“In achieving this, we have decided to constitute a high-power fact-finding and reconciliation committee of party leaders to meet with all disputing parties to ensure that all issues are addressed and resolved.”
Oshiomhole vs Obaseki
The Edo APC crisis is mainly a battle for the control of the party in the state between Mr Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Although Mr Oshiomhole helped Mr Obaseki to succeed him as governor, both men have fallen out over several issues concerning the party.
In his speech on Wednesday, Mr Ojezua traced the genesis of the latest crisis to 2018.
“All these started since the party primaries in 2018 when we conducted the primaries to nominate candidates for the general elections held in 2019. It appeared that after that elections, Edo APC didn’t know peace again.
“The issues were later aggravated in April and May 2019 which culminated in the formation of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), an infamous group we proscribed in our last meeting,” he said.
Mr Oshiomhole has been accused of plotting to ensure Mr Obaseki is not re-elected or given the party’s ticket for a second term, an allegation he denied.