Uncertainty trails the touted suspension of Kassim Afegbua, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former commissioner for information in Edo State, by his party. Afegbua, who is a leader of the party in his Okpella village in Etsako East local government area of the state, had been campaigning for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu. Afegbua, on Saturday, addressed a well-attended rally at Okpella where he defiantly canvassed support for Ize-Iyamu.
Recall that Afegbua had both in main stream and social media vowed not to campaign for Governor Godwin Obaseki, the PDP candidate in the September 19 governorship election in the state. And following the backlash that followed, with a barrage of criticisms and verbal assaults on his person, Afegbua had expected that he would be hounded. He had in a statement titled “OBASEKI REMAINS A BAD OMEN FOR PDP—-AFEGBUA”, said defiantly that “Directing my Chairman, ward 5, Okpella to suspend me, or scouting for my polling scores in the 2019 election would not suffice because my votes and those of my supporters cannot be suspended”.
A seemingly unrepentant Afegbua insisted that “For Edo’s combustible politics of late, occasioned by the intemperate response by Governor Obaseki, it is only human to have a man with subliminal humility and peace to assume the leadership of governance in the state. This is why Osagie Ize-Iyamu fits my endorsement. The man for whom Oshiomhole went above board to call Ize-Iyamu unprintable names has since shown his true colours. Pretenders cannot hide their traits for too long, something must betray their real self”.
The report of his alleged suspension on Sunday may therefore not have come to him as a surprise. Earlier in the day, the social media was awash with reports that he had been suspended by his ward. Reports of the alleged suspension cited an unsigned letter. As controversy trailed the source and authenticity of the said letter, the state chapter of the PDP issued a statement Sunday evening announcing Afegbua’s suspension.
The statement, titled “Public Service Announcement …Prince Kassim Afegbua suspended” was signed by the state publicity secretary of the party, Chris Osa Nehukhare. In the terse statement, Nehikhare said “This is to inform the members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it’s supporters and the general public that Prince Kassim Afegbua of ward 5, Etsako East Local government area of Edo State has been suspended for a period of one month with effect from August 2, 2020 by the ward executive after being found guilty of anti-party activities.
“The State Chairman, Hon. Tony Aziegbemi has directed the local government chairman to set up a disciplinary committee to investigate the allegations of anti-party activities leveled against him. The composition of the disciplinary committee will be announced in due course”.
Afegbua would however not immediately react to his reported suspension, stating that he would make an appropriate response on Monday. Sources close to him however pooh-poohed his suspension. According to a close associate, “Chris Nehikhare, the publicity secretary does not belong to his ward, so he has no power to suspend Kassim. The press statement that he issued was based on an unsigned letter of suspension. The letter we saw on social media was unsigned.
“And if his ward executive truly suspended him, they should have reached him. So, as far as we are concerned, there is nothing like suspension. They are just keeping themselves busy. Instead of them to go and start campaigning and marketing their candidate, they are talking of suspending somebody. Like he said before, if they suspend him, can they suspend his vote?”
The source hinted how the ward secretary called Afegbua to disown the suspension letter trending on social media, which he noted was unsigned and that it did not emanate from them. “And Afegbua told him to go and put it into writing and disclaim it. I think he would do so by tomorrow; that is if he is not harassed or threatened by those who are stoking the fire”.