By Sebastine Ebhuomhan
A meeting organized by the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party has dissolved the Edo State executive council, led by Dan Osi Orbih.
With the dissolution of the state executive leaders, the meeting has now paved the way for the organization of the party’s ward congress for the 192 Wards in Edo State, which is expected to produce the ward delegates that will elect the party’s local government delegates later.
The local government delegates will in turn elect the state delegates that will finally pick the party’s flag-bearer for the September 10 governorship election.
The ward congress holding today (Saturday) in all the wards in Edo State will be conducted by a team of PDP national leaders led into Benin City by a former member of the House of Representatives and the present Vice Chairman for South-South, Cairo Ojuogbo.
The meeting that ended late evening on Friday at the Baden Baden Hotel on Sapele Road in Benin City, almost degenerated into a free-for-all when some angry party leaders and members physically bundled a former senator and founding member of the party, Roland Owie, out of the meeting venue after accusing him of playing the role of a secret spoiler ahead of the state governorship election, an allegation Mr Owie vehemently denied.
Although the party members and leaders later resolved their differences before the end of the meeting, which allowed Mr Owie to return to the charged and tensed hall, however, not all of the supporters and well-wishers that angrily walked out during the intense war of words returned with him.
An Edo State High Court in Benin City had last week restrained the Orbih-led leadership of Edo State PDP from conducting the party’s ward congress that was earlier scheduled for last week Thursday until the hearing of a substantive suit brought to challenge the legality of the state party leadership.
The court order followed a petition by a member of the party, Ehi Osula of Ward 12 in Oredo Local Government Area and other aggrieved party members, who urged the court to declare as illegal, the continued stay in office of the dissolved party leadership, whose tenure allegedly expired on September 24, 2015.
The meeting brought together the five governorship aspirants of the party including a former Secretary to Edo State Government, Osagie Ize-Iyamu; a philanthropist, Solomon Edebiri; a former Majority Leader of Edo State House of Assembly and ex-Edo State NDDC Commissioner, Mathew Iduoriyekemwen; the Director-General of PDP Governors Forum, Osaro Onaiwu; as well as a former Edo South lawmaker in the Senate, Edobor Uzamere.
It also had in attendance other state and national PDP leaders including the immediate past Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen.