By Raymond Mordi, Deputy Political Editor
The drama that unfolds in the elections for the Edo state government has undergone a new twist, with the suspension of some councilors, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for refusing to desert with Governor Godwin Obaseki for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).
In preparation for the PDP government primary, Governor Obaseki dismissed the APC after his disqualification from contesting the party primary.
Obaseki made the move with the expectation that other elected party officials, particularly at the base, will join him in his new party to garner support for his second-term offer.
Unfortunately, however, some of them have refused to do so and are being victimized by their position.
In Owan West's local government, for example, three advisers were suspended for waiving the directive. Also affected is a councilor in the local government of Owan East, a vice president and six councilors in the local government of Akoko Edo, six councilors in Etsako West, six in Etsako East and three in Etsako Central.
The suspension was announced by the presidents and the development is considered the work of Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, who is desperate to hand over the zone to the PDP in the September 19 poll.
The local governments above are located in Edo North, the senatorial district of Comrade Former National President Adams Oshiomhole and Shaibu.
Edo State held elections for the local government two years ago and all employees were elected on the APC platform.
Last month, three Uhunmwonde local government councilors, with the tacit support of their president, Napoleon Agbama, removed the leader of the house, Osarobo Ogbegiere, for similar reasons. Ogbegiere was put on hold, ostensibly following a directive from the House of Government of Edo.
Ogbegiere had indicated that the development was an aberration.
He said: "What happened is an aberration, because you don't impeach the leader of the House by three people. We have 10 in number.
I was going through one of our social media platforms and that's when I saw it. I said that the APC crisis was not necessary, and when the governor defected, I insisted on consulting the people in my ward and they said we should stay, which is why me and others who refuse to defect are now being oppressed.
"However, I decided to take my case to court, because that is the common man's last hope."
But the president's press secretary, Osaro Best Idahosa, denied the allegation. “The leader of the house misbehaved and the others found him and removed him. It is not true that it is because he did not desert.
Likewise, three of the 10 local government advisers in southwest Ovia also removed the council's legislative leader, Robert Fiyes. This is because the leader of the household refused to defect from APC to PDP with the president.