Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has said the Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party stands the chance of winning the coming governorship election in the state.
Makinde, who spoke in Benin on Saturday after a brief meeting with the leadership of the party on how to conduct a free, fair and credible ward congress, said the meeting with the leadership of the party was centred on the people and at the end of the exercise, their they would decide who govern them.
“This electoral committee is put together to conduct the ward congress and delegate election for Edo State. This is a process we are starting and it is centred around the people and at the end of the day, no matter what people do, it is the people of Edo State that will determine who will be their next governor.
“We have been talking to the aspirants and there have been serious engagement sessions since Friday and we are hopeful that Edo is going to be for PDP in the next election,” he said.
The Oyo governor assured the party faithful in Edo that the process of electing their ward leaders would be transparent and without ambiguities.
Makinde stated, “We have taken out time to ensure that the process is transparent, free, fair and credible. So, you cannot say a process is not going to end well when it is just taking off.
“The opposition and their pessimists will say what they have to say but we have to do what we have to do to give confidence to our party members, the people of Edo State and Nigeria,” he said.
However, a former member of Edo State House of Assembly, Sylvania Erauga, was on Saturday beaten to a pulp in his Afashio community during the conduct of the PDP congress but details of what led to the attack was still sketchy as of press time.
At Ward Six, in the Oredo Local Government Area, gunmen shot to scare PDP members away after a disagreement over a list of consensus ward executives.
Trouble started when some leaders produced a list saying the leaders had agreed the previous night but opponents to the list insisted on electing the executive.
Meanwhile, explosives on Saturday rocked the private residence of a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, Chief Francis Inegbeneki, in Benin.
The attack came on the heels of an alleged assassination attempt on the life of another APC chieftain and former Attorney General of the state, Mr Henry Idahagbon, in which two persons were seriously injured.
According to eyewitness accounts, the attackers struck at about 3am with two hand grenades which resulted in serious damage to the building and a vehicle parked in the compound located in the Government Reservation Area.
Inegbeneki, while speaking in his country home at Opoji where he received PDP defectors from the five local government areas of Edo Central Senatorial District of the state, said though he was no at home when the incident occured, it came to him as a shock
He said, “I got that information with rude shock. Frankly, I am short of words; it must have been politically motivated. After this successful political rally, I am going to Benin to assess the damage.”
Inegbeneki told journalists he suspected the governor and his deputy over the attack on his house and called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to rescue the people from their hands, as “Edo is under siege.”
“We have said it loud and clear, we are not going to support Obaseki for a second term,” he added.
Also speaking, another chieftain of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu described the attackers as cowards.
Meanwhile, the APC has suspended some members of the party for instituting a suit against the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
The factional Secretary of APC in Edo, Lawrence Okah, stated this in an interview with our correspondent.
Justice S. O. Oriji of an Abuja High Court last Wednesday struck out a suit filed by Messrs Stephen Oshawo, Joseph Ezuduemhoi and Henry Imokhai challenging the eligibility of Oshiomhole to continue to preside over the affairs of the party.
Oshawo and others from Ward 10 in the Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, where Oshiomhole hails from, had gone to court asking it to stop him from parading himself as the national chairman, adding that he had been suspended from the APC in his ward.
But Oshiomhole, in his defence, argued that the applicants do not have the powers to suspend him because they had all been suspended in their respective units in ward 10.
However, when asked whether the members risk any sanction, Okah said those behind the suit had been expelled from the party for taking the party to court.
He said, “The constitution of our party is very clear. Any member who takes the party or officials of the party to court on internal matters faces automatic expulsion. Article 21 is very clear, we don’t discuss it. They are no longer members of our party.”