There was confusion in Benin, the Edo State capital, on Tuesday, as the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress announced the suspension of its chairman, Anselm Ojezua.
Shortly after the announcement, another message emerged from the Government House announcing the removal of the state secretary, Lawrence Okah and the suspension of the party’s National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
It was gathered that the sacking of Ojezua caught the state government unawares, forcing Governor Godwin Obaseki to summon an emergency meeting of party leaders in the state.
At the end of the meeting, the ruling party announced the suspension of Okah and Oshiomhole, having passed a vote of no confidence in them.
Earlier in the day, the State Working Committee of the APC had passed a vote of no confidence in Ojezua. Eleven out of the 16-member SWC voted against him during their meeting.
Consequently, Col. David Imoise (retd.) was elected to oversee the affairs of the party pending when “allegations of anti-party activities levelled against Ojezua are investigated.”
According to a statement by Okah, the change in leadership has been communicated to the party’s National Working Committee.
But a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said it was Okah that was sacked from office.
“The Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress has removed the State Secretary of the party, Mr Lawrence Okah,” Osagie said.
He said the party also passed a vote of confidence in Ojezua’s leadership.
“This is coming as party chairmen across the 18 local government areas of the state passed a vote of no confidence in the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole,” he added.
Also, briefing journalists after a meeting of the party’s executive committee earlier, the state APC deputy chairman, Kenneth Asekomhe, said, “After the meeting of the State Executive Committee, in pursuant of Article 17, Section 5 of the APC constitution of 2014, as amended, we have passed a vote of no confidence in the state secretary of the APC, Mr Lawrence Okah. He is hereby removed from office.
“The committee also passed a vote of confidence in the state chairman of the APC, Mr Anselm Ojezua.”
The APC chairmen in the 18 local governments of the state also reaffirmed their support for the second term bid of Obaseki.
The APC Chairman in Esan Central LGA and Secretary, Edo State APC Chairmen Forum, Mike Anakaso, said the chairmen passed a vote of no confidence in Oshiomhole for his role in trying to disintegrate the party in the state.
The state APC auditor, Timothy Osadolor, and the financial secretary, Golda Oribhabor-Onwuka, distanced themselves from a document purporting to remove the state chairman.
Speaking at the party’s secretariat, the two party officials explained that they were taken in a commando-like style to the residence of the suspended secretary and forced to sign some documents.
Osadolor said, “We were taken in a commando-like style to the house of the state secretary, where I was forced to sign the documents purportedly removing Anslem Ojezua.
“There were just eight or nine signatures on the document. My name was badly spelt. I didn’t draw their attention to it but had to play along by signing the document with a fake signature.”