By Simon Ebegbulem, Benin City
Saturday May, 29, 2010, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State pushed aside their many problems to honour two of their own who were given appointments by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The duo are Chief Mike Oghiadomhe (Chief of Staff to the President) and Dr Chris Ogienwonyi (Minister of State for Works). The event which was very successful was an indication that the party is not dead yet in the state.
The event was attended by who-is-who in Edo state PDP. Some of the leaders at the event included the former Minister of Defense, Gen.Godwin Abbe, former Presidential aide andÂ a leading Governorship aspirant in the state, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Paschal Ugbome, former Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Lucky Imasuen, Henry Tenebe, Senators Yisa Briamoh and Odion Ugbesia, former Commissioner for Health, Dr Wilson Imogan and several others.
Addressing party faithful, the chairman of the party in the state, Chief Dan Orbih commended the President for appointing two of their own into the Federal Executive Council. According to him, â€œwhat you have seen here today is the reflection of the strength of the PDP in the state. Edo state is PDP and PDP is Edo State .
We have seen the politics of this great party since 1999 and today we are proud and highly honoured by the opportunity given to us by our President to appoint our son as Chief of Staff of this country. For us their appointment is a sign of greater things for the people of the state.
Today marks the beginning of our march to reclaim the government of Edo state. We cannot afford to remain in opposition in this state. We have come here to show our love and support for the Chief of Staff and the Minister of State, Dr Ogienwonyi and we give thanks to God. Our people are satisfied with the efforts of the Federal Government so far and we want to say that the task of reclaiming the state to the PDP is assuredâ€.
However, prior to the event, the Dr Samuel Ogbemudia led faction of the party engaged in media war with the Chief Anenih group and consequently, one of the leaders of the party in Edo South, Elder Sunny Uyigue declared his emergence as the Acting Chairman of the party through an advertorial in Vanguard.
The group distanced themselves from the event but their ranks were depleted with the decision by the former Chief of Staff to the Government of Edo state, Mr Isaiah Osifo to pull out from the group and join the leadership of the party in the state led by Chief Orbih in moving the party forward.
Osifo who expressed his frustrations on the lingering crisis in the state PDP, asserted that â€œwe must move the party forward and that was why I have made efforts to bring Chief Anenih, Admiral Mike Akhigbe and Dr Ogbemudia together so that we can move forward.
But while I was doing that, I discovered that some people are not interested on how the party could succeed and that is where I disagreed with Uyigue. Dr Ogbemudia as our father has no problems and that is why I decided that I must try all I could to ensure total peace in the party unlike others who are already in the Action Congress and are trying to destroy the PDPâ€. Vanguard learnt that the Chairman Presidential Adversary Council, Gen.
Theophilus Danjuma also met with the duo of Dr Ogbemudia and Chief Anenih in Abuja with a view to finding lasting solution to the lingering crisis. It was learnt that following the meetings held in Abuja and at the residence of Dr Ogbemudia in Lagos , it was agreed that a meeting will be called in Benin with representatives of the two groups to iron out the contending issues.
The meeting held in Benin as scheduled but it was shunned by the Ogbemudia group to the chagrin of Chief Anenih. However, in their communiquÃ©, a committee of six chaired by Professor Julius Ihonvbere was set to look at the position paper submitted at the meeting, including some grey areas that were discussed and should submit final report in one week.
The Communique which was signed by the chairman of the Reconciliation Committee, Amb.Abdul Aziz Garuba, Barr.J.O J.O.Aghimen (SAN), Chief Lucky Imasuen, Hon.Isaiah Osifo Gen.Godwin Abbe (rtd),Hon.Henry Duke Tenebe JP (Secretary, Reconciliation Committee) agreed that â€œall delegates recognized Chief Tony Anenih (CFR) and Dr Samuel Ogbemudia as national leaders and resolve to work together as a party under their leadership.
That the true spirit of unity and party building shall henceforth inform relationships and engagements within the party; That a committee of six chaired by Professor Julius Ihonbvere (OON) be set upÂ Â to look at the position paper submitted at the meeting, including some grey areas that were discussed and should submit its final report in one week;
That members of the PDP, at all levels, are now enjoined to work together as one united family recognizing that the PDP remains the most viable and organized political party in Edo state, and it is set to reclaim its leading position as a political party in the stateâ€. But the Ogbemudia group in an advertorial signed by Elder Uyigue and Dr Francis Iyasere, punctured the resolution of the meeting after it queried the composition of the committee which according to them was single handedly put together by Chief Anenih.
â€œAdded to this is the fact that the six-man Committee flouted the agreement reached between the national leaders by its refusal to send invitation letters to the accredited leaders that would have led delegates from their various senatorial districts to the meeting. Elder Sunny Uyigue should have led delegates from the South senatorial district; Prince Solomon Aguele was to lead delegates form the Central senatorial district while Admiral Mike Akhigbe should have double as the leader of the North Senatorial district and representative of Dr S.O.Ogbemudia at the meeting.
It was therefore resolved that the Ogbemudia/Akhigbe led authentic PDP should have nothing to do with the meeting of 18th May, 2010 and this decision was communicated to Chief Anenihâ€. But countering their claim, in an advertorial signed by Isaiah Osifo and others, it insisted that Chief Anenih and Dr Ogbemudia had earlier appointed Amb.Aziz Garuba to broker peace between the two groups and was also agreed by the â€œthree party leaders that the crisis within the PDP in the state is a dispute between two groups namely:- Chief Tony Anenihâ€™ss Group and Dr. S.O. Ogbemudiaâ€™s group (with Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe (Rtd) on the side of Dr. S.O. Ogbemudia).