The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party took a fresh dimension on Saturday as the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction announced the suspension of the Edo State Executive Committee.

A statement which was signed by Sheriff and the former National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, said the party’s National Working Committee; took the decision in line with the provisions of section 31 (2) (e) of the PDP constitution.

The PDP faction also announced the appointment of a new caretaker committee to oversee the party’s affairs until the inauguration of a new executive committee.

It said the suspension, being part of the decision taken at the NWC meeting of June 21, 2016, was sequel to various petitions arising from allegations of irregularities from the last state congresses to elect state executive committee for the chapter.

The statement partly read, “The National Working Committee decided to suspend the committee, instead of outright dissolution to enable it to investigate the allegations and come out with a fair and just decision.

“Consequently, the National Working Committee has approved the appointment of the following persons as Caretaker Committee to manage the affairs of Edo State PDP for the constitutional stipulated period of three months.

“The committee has Chief Ebenezer Alabi as Chairman and Zealiwe Edmund as Secretary. Other members are Ehimekpen Okharedia, Mrs. Melody Osagie, Blessing Agbabaku, Negerese Berry, Daniel Asekhame and Mr. Dan Omozokpai.”

Reacting to the suspension, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the PDP dismissed the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led group, describing them as desperate.

It urged the general public and party loyalists in Edo State to ignore Sheriff and his group, saying it lacked the authority to act on behalf of the party.

The committee, whose statement was signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, noted that the statement issued by the Sheriff-led group neither had basis nor authority.

Adeyeye said, “It is no longer news that the Ali Modu Sheriff-led National Working Committee and all national officers were removed by the party’s convention, which is the highest decision-making organ of the party. Senator Sheriff and his cohorts therefore lack the locus to take any decision on behalf of the party.

“This purported suspension is clearly part of the desperation of Senator Sheriff and his paymasters to orchestrate confusion that would lead to the failure of the party in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State; an election that the party is otherwise very well placed to win.”

On its part, the state chapter of the PDP rejected the suspension of its State Executive Committee by the Sheriff faction, describing it as “laughable.”

Its spokesperson, Chris Nehikhare, told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Saturday that the Sheriff faction had no constitutional right to suspend the state’s leadership of the party.

Nehikhare added that the state of the party would remain indivisible.

He said, “He has no right to do what he is doing. It is laughable. But we know he is being sponsored by the All Progressives Congress. The most interesting part of it is that even those he picked as members of his caretaker committee are all flying documents of the illegal kangaroo committee.’’