Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, Delta PDP’s Publicity Secretary.
The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has responded swiftly and comprehensively to the latest press statement by the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, titled “Guber Zoning: Deltans Deserves Apology From Okowa And PDP; Delta APC, Says Deltans Are Wiser Now” signed by Sylvester Imonina, Esq.
Publicity Secretary (Caretaker) APC Delta State, describing the APC as ignorant and wondering what the opposition party’s business is with the internal democracy of PDP.
A Press Release signed by Delta PDP State Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the latest Press Statement by the All Progressives Congress, APC in the State and it is rather unfortunate that whoever is advising the APC is not only ignorant of the Politics of Delta State, but truly lacks the knowledge and understanding of the internal mechanisms of political parties.
“Again, we are amazed that only a couple of days ago, the APC cried and railed to high heavens with the misinformation that Governor Okowa who is a member of PDP wants to impose a Governor on Delta State, even going as far as accusing the Delta Governor of playing God.
“Today, the same APC is now suddenly crying again but this time about the internal zoning arrangement in the PDP and demanding an apology over what is, without doubt, a badly cooked up rumour, which only the APC, as a devious and dubious political party is capable of spreading.
“We note, however, with some satisfaction, that the APC admitted in its own press statement that it was completely against the PDP zoning arrangement when it was mooted years ago, but is now accusing the PDP of trying to deceive Deltans by attempting to abandon the same zoning arrangement it had already criticized vehemently in the past.
Haba! APC. Like our local proverb says: ‘Will you be a witch and a also mad person at the same time?’
“Without wanting to join issues with the APC, let us get immediately to the point by, first of all, repeating verbatim, what Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said in the quarterly meeting with Delta Journalists in Government House, Asaba, that the APC is now attempting to misinterpret.
Governor Okowa said in part: “There was no formal meeting where a gentleman agreement was reached and that is the truth as of today. It means that whatever we are doing or talking about today is about what is fair, what is equitable, and how to define what is fair and what is equitable are hinged on justice.
“It’s only God Almighty that knows who will be governor after me. I cannot pretend to be God, for I am not; I don’t know who God is going to bring and I don’t have the intention of playing the role of God. You will hear a lot more things just as they said I want to handover to an Ijaw man; I don’t think that I have the strength to play God but the issue is when the politics starts, politics will be played and God almighty will take the decision on who will be governor.
“But as I said, at some point in time as a political party, because I can only speak for my party, we will sit down to look at issues to find out what truly will be fair, what truly will be justified, and what should equity really mean.”
The above is very clear and succinctly translatable, even if the APC wants to translate it with vernacular. And since the APC has decided to meddle in the internal affairs of PDP, let us briefly examine the APC itself in Delta State and leave Deltans to conclude for themselves, if indeed this is a political party that has the interest, welfare, and the objectives of ensuring Equity, fairness, and justice for all Deltans who are members of the party, at heart
POSERS FOR APC
1. Does the APC have a zoning arrangement? We have noted with interest that the APC in all its metamorphosis, transformations, and nomenclatures, has consistently and sometimes with autocratic impunity, picked its Governorship candidate from only one Senatorial Zone since 1999.
2. There are three Senatorial zones in Delta State which means that there are eminently qualified Ijaws, Urhobos, Isokos, Itsekiris, and Ndokwas, Ukwuanis, Aniochas, Oshimilis, and Ikas, in APC, who can effectively and proudly fly the Governorship flag of APC. None of the others except one Senatorial zone and one ethnic nationality has been given the ticket in the last 16 years, so, does this, therefore, mean that only one ethnic nationality and one zone make up the APC and should always get the ticket?
3. Is APC a tribal, zonal, or ethnic party? Are there no other Delta Ethnic nationalities in APC or is the APC trying to tell Deltans that one zone is more superior to others in their politics and only one ethnic nation has the most qualified, most intelligent, and most blessed people with electoral value than others?
Indeed we recall with some distaste, that a vibrant, dynamic, and well-organized faction of the APC had produced a brilliant, cerebral, and distinguished Delta North Governorship candidate in its 2018 primaries, held at Federal College (Technical), Asaba, perhaps ostensibly to give the PDP a good fight in Delta North, since we had already endorsed ‘Ekwueme’ as our candidate. But the irredentist, clannish, and bigoted faction of APC had dubiously and quite criminally and deliberately ensured that a candidate from another zone will never emerge, except from its favoured zone.
4. Why is APC so interested in the zoning arrangement of PDP? Does the APC now want to tell PDP how to run its internal affairs? What is APC afraid of that it is now crying wolf and even attempting to forcefully create the impression that some people are already bereaved in PDP and it is now crying even more than its imaginary bereaved?
5. Who is the APC caretaker committee and indeed the State Publicity Secretary of APC, Barr. Sylvester Imonina working for? Are they working in the interest of APC as a whole or serving as a fifth columnist in the PDP?
6. If the APC truly sees itself as a Pan-Deltan party as it claims, then it should concentrate on its own internal affairs and ensure that it also embraces the principle of Equity and then proceed to conduct a satisfactory primary election from which a decent candidate should emerge to contest the 2023 Guber election. Equity demands that having produced a Guber candidate from one zone in five election cycles, it will only be fair and just for the APC to ‘zone’ it to another Senatorial zone.
For example, a distinguished, dynamic, and young former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, from Delta North, is a key chieftain of the party in the State and is eminently qualified and capable to govern Delta State. APC should therefore do the needful, ‘zone’ their Guber ticket away from that particular zone that has always produced their candidate in five elections, and give the young Delta Northerner the ticket, so that Equity will reign in the party. Perhaps they are truly afraid that Delta North will rule again, even if it provides a real possibility as their best chance of winning an election in 2023. But, it is really not our business to tell them how to run their affairs, is it?
7. Must the Governorship candidate of APC come from only ONE Senatorial zone always? Of course, we are very much aware that the APC as a political party in Delta State does not even understand what considerations are critically addressed before zoning is done in a Political party. In fact, there’s nothing like a zoning arrangement in the APC since it has never practiced it as every proper political party should do, in the last 20 years. Isn’t it high time therefore for the APC to start acting like a political party made up of many Delta nationalities from the three Senatorial zones and embrace the tenet of Equity and ‘pick’ its Governorship candidate from another ‘zone’?
“It has even been posited in some discerning quarters that perhaps, one of the reasons why APC has been losing the guber elections woefully in Delta State, is because it has concentrated with impunity on only one zone and refused to give other Senatorial zones and aspirants from other ethnic nationalities a chance, in picking its Governorship candidate.
“APC has refused to democratize or be democratic in its selection of a Governorship candidate and of course, it will lose again in 2023, if it decides to impose a candidate from that same Senatorial zone on its members and the rest of the party. After all, as the saying goes, you cannot keep doing something the same way and expect to get a different result.
“Let us place on record and state categorically that the PDP, a truly democratic party of the people, has successfully accomplished the political power balancing rotation amongst the Three Senatorial zones in the State and full Equity has been achieved with Delta North completing the first cycle of what is now referred to conveniently, as a zoning arrangement.
“It is also important to inform the APC that at no time in its history, did the PDP hand over the Governorship ticket on a platter of Gold to any particular Senatorial zone and then instruct other zones not to contest in the specific election of the time. The predominant concern and consideration that has defined, guided, and ensured that the zoning arrangement in our party has worked so successfully, is the determination and commitment by our leaders to always make sure that the principle of Equity is maintained and the decision of the party is fair and just and everybody is carried along in the power rotation and balancing structure and arrangement.
“Even those zones which were tipped to get the ticket, have had to consult, negotiate and carry all the other zones along in the process of ensuring that Equity, fairness, and justice would reign and be enthroned as a guarantee for the ticket. That is how proper politics is played.
“As for the APC’s puerile and illiterate audacity to mislead Deltans and misinterpret the very clear statements of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and even have the temerity to dare question the workings of PDP’s brilliant internal democracy, which has guaranteed us resounding victory in the polls over the years, a short trip down memory lane will help to educate ignorant publicity secretaries who do not even know the history of their own political parties and also clear the cobwebs from the clogged memories of those who may be pushing the zoning narrative for their own selfish, greedy interests.
“We recall vividly in PDP, as a party with a solid and verifiable history, that after the tenure of our great and unparalleled leader, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, several qualified aspirants from the three Senatorial zones, including Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and, Ovie Omo-Agege, who was from the same Delta Central zone with Chief Ibori and ordinarily shouldn’t have even been eligible to participate in the true spirit of zoning, all picked Governorship forms and were cleared in Port Harcourt, the party’s zonal Headquarters, to participate in the 2006 party primaries.
“However, like a truly democratic party which the PDP is and will always be, the leaders of the Party held several ground-breaking meetings, engaged in comprehensive consultations across all divides, and finally arrived at a functional conclusion, which was what manifested in the Primary elections at Ogwashi Uku where the two ‘eligible’ Senatorial zones at that time, emerged first and second, with Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan from Delta South winning the ticket and Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa emerging second. The rest as they say is history.
“2015 should, therefore, have automatically been the right and privilege of Delta North to produce the Governorship candidate of the PDP, since it was the last amongst the Three, if the zoning formula was actually in force, but to cut a very long story short, aspirants from the three Senatorial zones, including the current Deputy Senate President, DSP Ovie Omo-Agege too, all participated in the PDP Governorship primaries at the Cenotaph, Asaba, in a keenly contested Guber primary that ought to have been handed over automatically to Delta North if the zoning formula that the APC is now crying wolf about, had been implemented to the letter.
“Suffice it to say however that, in the true spirit and practice of a democratic party, the PDP leaders met again, and after several comprehensive consultations and far-reaching political negotiations across all zones, majority of the leaders agreed to allow the principle of Equity, fairness, and justice to triumph and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta North, emerged as the party’s Governorship flag-bearer, in a clear, transparent and very credible delegates election, which left no one in doubt that there was absolutely no zoning at all.
“As usual, the PDP Leaders succeeded in ensuring that Equity, fairness, and Justice were achieved as the ingredients that justified and gave credibility to the zoning arrangement.
“It is, of course, important to mention that Ovie Omo-Agege, has never believed in zoning and subsequently moved over to the Labour Party where he got the Delta Central Senatorial ticket and after emerging via a legal pronouncement, eventually crossed over to the APC, under whose umbrella, he contested, won, and returned to the Senate to become the Deputy Senate President.
“It is also imperative to remind the APC and its illiterate Publicity Secretary, that the PDP is a truly democratic party in name and in action and has never in its history, handed the position or decreed and directed that the Governorship ticket has been reserved for any particular zone.
“As a result of this principle, the PDP has not and will never prevent or deny any of its members from any zone, the right to aspire or contest for the position of Governor in the 2023 PDP Governorship primaries. The truism in Delta politics is that as Deltans, we all need each other and no single zone can single-handedly win any pan-Delta election, without the support and endorsement of the other zones.
“The PDP has however always maintained and upheld the overriding political principle that “Party is Supreme”. Even the Supreme Court has stated unequivocally that it is political parties that contest elections, not individuals. All those who have emerged as Governors in our party, have worked very hard and carried all zones along from Ward to Council to State levels.
“That is why, when the candidate emerges, he becomes a candidate for all Deltans as often witnessed in our political rallies across the State, which are like carnivals, with pomp and celebration.
“The APC, of course, does not believe in the concept of ‘Political Party’ because, if the truth be told, it is not even a grounded political party, in the real sense of the word, but a conglomeration of strange bedfellows, cobbled together to pursue and satisfy their individual political greed and selfish ambitions. The PDP will not foreclose anybody’s ambition or stop anybody from contesting, including those who may even wish to decamp from APC to get shelter under our large PDP Umbrella.
“We do not owe the APC or any other political party or group any explanation on how we run and manage our internal affairs in the PDP, but let us state clearly, with every sense of responsibility, that the PDP as a political party, will always uphold and ensure as much as possible that the principle of Equity is entrenched by the unanimous consent of the leaders and respected by one and all.
“And let us also assure Mr. Imonina that Politics is truly Machiavellian and YES, “the end justifies the means”. If they doubt us, they should use their President Muhammadu Buhari as a clear and shining Machiavellian case study. Nobody goes into a Political contest to lose, except of course Delta APC.
“Equity and fairness are the basis for justice and equality to be achieved and the PDP has been blessed with leaders over the years, who have risen above selfish, greedy, and personal interests to ensure that Equity always triumphs in whatever decisions the party takes.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is no doubt the leader of our great party in Delta State, but he will be the first to confess that he would not have been Governor today if the party leaders had not met and taken a definitive stand and position that Equity must be maintained and enthroned in whatever decisions the PDP takes as a party. This is the long-standing tradition of the party and it is not about to change because the APC is crying crocodile tears, even before the date of the 2023 election has been released.
“APC, please go and remove the log in your own eye first so that you can see very well and know that PDP is not and will never be your mate in the politics of Delta State.
PDP! Power to the people.
Dr. Ifeanyi M. Osuoza
State Publicity Secretary,
PDP, Delta State.