By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Former Edo State Commissioner for Information, Kassim Afegbua, says his suspension by the executives of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in his Ward 5, Okpella, Etsako East Local Government of the state, does not bother him.
Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Edo State, Chris Nehikhare, had in a statement on Sunday announced Afegbua’s suspension over alleged anti-party activities. This followed the former commissioner’s decision to back governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, over his own party candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
In a statement he personally signed on Monday, Afegbua noted that he was driven by his conviction and conscience when he endorsed Ize-Iyamu.
He stated that he would not appear before “any tax collectors in the name of disciplinary committee” set up to investigate the allegations of anti-party activities levelled against him.
According to him, he doesn’t need any political party to exhibit his political choices and persuasions.
While reiterating his support for the candidacy of Ize-Iyamu, Afegbua stated that he is waiting to be expelled from the PDP “in good time.”
“I would not have glorified the PDP leadership with a response concerning the one month so-called suspension placed on me but for the deluge of calls I got from concerned Nigerians who insisted that they deserve to have my response,” the statement said.
“I saw a letter purportedly written by my Ward 5 executives on social media, unsigned with no name attached, saying I have been suspended for one month.
“At first, I wondered why it took this long for the leadership to arm-twist those young unemployed youths whom I have fought for to add value to their lives, before a supposed letter finally emanated from them.
“They have severally told me of the pressure and threat to their lives by the party’s leadership especially the inchoate party chairman, who appears drunk with his new fond candidate that is feasting fat on our collective patrimony.
“I am told how he tried to breathe down the throat of those young boys in my ward, insisting on invoking a suspension order on me. For your information, it does not matter how many months you suspend me, you can even decide to expel me from PDP, so that I can free myself from the grip of ‘tax collectors’ who have found a new trading routes to their pockets. My point remains very sacrosant (sic) that you cannot grab a man’s trousers by the pockets and thereby gifting him the party’s ticket, without appearing drunk with unreason.
“I hold no grudge with those boys in my Ward, who have been compelled to issue a suspension letter to me supervised by a quack doctor who has been ‘slaughtering’ people in my community.
“This situation will afford me the opportunity to interrogate persons who have been part of those conspirators to reap us off as Okpellans in our quest for our rightful place in the scheme of things.
“My position remains unshaken irrespective of the manipulative conduct that has exposed the rotten underbelly of a party that is steeped in tax collection from would-be aspirants. My cause is simple: to place Okpella above self in our quest for our deserved place in the affairs of the state. I have made the point so eloquently loud and clear, and any Governor would not neglect us based on the pedestal we presently occupy.
“I do not really need any political party to exhibit my political choices and persuasions. I am neither a government contractor nor one who hussles (sic) for the perks of office. My interest is predominantly anchored on the future of Okpella and its place in the scheme of things as the politics of the state structures its own compass.
“I am aware, thus far, that no elected Governor would dare take us for granted again. The elections are by the corner and we as Okpellans, are resolute to deliver the four Wards for Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu. That position is not negotiable, and we would religiously guide our loins to ensure we deliver our votes without equivocation.
“I do not intend to appear before any tax collectors in the name of disciplinary committee. To me, that is even an affront to say the least. How can new comers into a party be deciding who is to be suspended or retained as members. That is the power of illicit money being deployed arbitrarily to compel everyone to submission.
“I am not going to be Governor Obaseki’s fan or supporter. I am driven by my conviction and conscience, and no amount of inducement can alter that reality. Those ‘tax collectors’ who have found a new mine field to butter their bread, can have a field day, but the victory of evil over good can only be temporary.
“I remain unequivocal about my support for Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and will ensure that I mobilise enough votes for him in the four Wards of Okpella. Having earlier described me as ‘inconsequential’, I am wondering why they now suddenly remember I am relevant to warrant suspension. I am actually waiting for their expulsion in good time. My votes cannot be suspended or expelled. My thumb is my power.”
Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu will slug it out with 12 other candidates in the September 19, 2020, governorship election.