Photo: Chukwudi Abiandu
Indications that the intra-party face-off and disenchantment in the Delta State All Progressives Congress (APC) was far from being over was clearly seen today, January 11, 2019 at the Orchid Hotel, Asaba venue of the inauguration of the party’s campaign organization with the visible boycott and absence of very influential chieftains and governorship aspirants of the party from the event.
APC bigwigs like the one clearly described as the leader of the party in the state, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor from Delta Central, governorship aspirants Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, renown political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, and Chief Hyacinth Enuha were clearly missing from the very important event.
It was an absence that set tongues wagging and got observers to reason that the absence of the political leaders underscores their disagreement and disenchantment with the party’s handling of their grievances against the emergence of the Prophet Jones Erue’s executive council of the party and Chief Great Ogboru as the party’s governorship candidate.
The Emerhor faction of the party led by Chief Ogodo went to court to reverse the recognition given to the Erue faction as the authentic executive council, as well as the Victor Ochei case still has a case instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja challenging the declaration of Ogoru as the party’s governorship candidate in Delta state.
But at today’s inauguration, there were many other leaders and candidates of the party, including the former governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who emerged as the Chairman of the APC Campaign Organization, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Dr. Alex Iden, Rt. Hon. Temi Harriman, Rt. Hon. Cairo Ojougbo, Mr. George Timinimi, Chief Charles Uwechue, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Fred Obeh, Gideon Nwamu, Dr. Veronica Ogbuagu, Mr. Paul Adingwupu, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Barrister Turner Ogboru, Yemi Emiko, and Mrs. Betty Efekhoda among many others.
Inaugurating the campaign organizations, the party’s governorship Candidate, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, with whom was his wife, observed that the APC in the state has had it challenges, but thanked God for Dr. Cairo Ojougbo and Dr. Kachikwu who, he said decided that inspite of all the challenges that Delta State shall move forward.
He announced that Dr. Kachikwu will lead the presidential campaign in Delta State, that Dr. Uduaghan will lead the state campaign organization as chairman, and that “I (Chief Ogboru) will be the presidential campaign co-ordinator, Temi Harriman is the director General of the presidential campaign, to be assisted by Dr. Odibo, while George Timinimi is the Director General of the state campaign organization.
Urging the party faithful to work hard for the return of President Muhammadu Buhari for second term, Chief Ogboru recalled what Dr. Uduaghan said sometime that “ he (Uduaghan) said he was the chief obstacle to my being the governor. And that he has thought otherwise and has deemed it necessary to come on board and remove that obstacle and pave the way me and Mr. President.”
Speaking, Dr. Uduaghan said: “I have been accused of not making my brother (Chief Ogboru) to be governor since. So, I wan come hold im hand make I show am road. So for me to hold im hand to be governor, I must come into APC. Now you will be governor.
Dr. Ojougbo said: “I am very proud to be here today. But I must tell you that the work at hand is not going to be a walk in the pie. For those of us from Delta North, it has not been easy convincing our people. In APC there is no zoning, and we assured them that what the state is looking for is competition, and that competition is good for the grassroots.
He continued: “Zoning was a PDP arrangement, and APC has its own arrangement. We are very, very sure that the President will win because of what he has done. But we must work; nobody in APC will rest until we have won.”
Speaking earlier, APC state Chairman, Jones Erue said the gathering is not about Chief Great Ogboru, but it is the party members and faithful. He said not working to return president Buhari and getting Ogboru in as Governor of Delta State will make us IDPs, Internally Displaced Politicians. And I don’t want to be an IDP.
“Our gathering here is about me and you, it is about liberating Delta State from the shackles of oppression and poverty. It is to take over; if you are ready to go to Government House, Asaba, wave bye-bye to PDP from Government House. We are campaigning door-to-door. Let us campaign in the units. This is not time for peace; its time to put on your gloves,” Erue said.
Senator Omo-Agege said: “ As you step out to carry out this assignment, do so with pride. Nigerians have resolved that we are not going back to Egypt. These people were the ones who sold the nation in the name of privatization. Anybody who says that PDP should come to continue the pillage of this country, Holy Ghost fire. Did you see them during their campaign in Warri? And did you see the Warri stadium? Buhari will be re-elected, he has been re-elected. But you should go out and vote for Buhari, but whether you vote or not Buhari has already won.”
Barrister Ben Okonkwo who spoke at length, told Ogboru to go privately to Uduaghan for heart –to-heart talk on how to win the election. Pointing out that Buhari will win with some lengthy analysis that he made, he said the task before APC is to go to the units and campaign. “The civil servants who are not being paid are waiting for Ogboru,” Ben Okonkwo said.
Chief Fred Obeh said: “Isoko is going to be the beautiful bride. That is why Okowa has been sleeping in Isoko land, gathering the traditional rulers together to endorse him. But In tell you that I am the chief field marshal of the masses in Isoko land.”