- Says Congress is by direct primary
- As Chieftains Urge Omo-Agege To Declare Governorship Intention
Few days to the state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District and Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has advised that the exercise should not be seen as a ‘do-or-die’ affair.
He said unlike in the past where congresses were organized through nomination of delegates for indirect primary, the party’s congress this time around would be conducted in line with direct primary.
Omo-Agege, who was speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of the executives of a new pressure group, Agege United Elders and Leaders Forum, (AGULEF) in Ughelli on Saturday, said that party members should come out to participate as every registered member of the party is entitled to a vote during the primary.
He said: “I want to appeal to you, the congress is about to start. I want us to come out and organize. But please, let us not do this as a do-or-die affair. And there is a reason for that.
“Unlike in the past, nomination will not be decided by indirect primary. They are not going to use delegates to determine who the nominees would be. It is going to be direct primary – meaning everybody who is a regisered member of APC has a vote.
“What that means, in effect, is that we should not kill ourselves over who should become the chairman of the party or who will become the secretary of the party, both at the ward, LGA or State because. At the end of the day, the chairman in your ward has as much power as any other member in that ward. This is because on the day of the direct primary, he is casting his one vote and every other persons are casting their one vote each.
“So, all we are looking for in this Congress is to look for people who can help us mobilize for the general election; not for the primary. Please, look out in the ward for who can mobilize for the general election and not one who will call himself a chairman who will sit in his house to decide who is a member of the party or not. So, come out and mobilize support for those we feel can do the job for us. That way, we will have an effective party and we can go out for war with them.”
Earlier, Senator Omo-Agege had spoken about his efforts at party building in the state, adding that before embarking on the exercise, he reviewed the performances of the party in the 2019 election. He said that every member ought to review the performances of party in their units, wards and Local Government Areas.
He urged members to preach the message of APC to members of other parties in the state, pointing out that the message is already gaining momentum in Delta North where, according to him, many are cross-carpeting from other parties to the APC.
“I have been going round Delta State on party building endeavour. We have been very successful in Delta North. Every day, members of the PDP are joining us APC in droves. They are determined to ensure that come 2023 APC will produce the governor. We shall soon move into Delta South in the continuation of the party building process”, he said.
Speaking on the need for unity among the party leaders, Senator Omo-Agege appealed to those who have the ability and capacity to reach out for the reconciliation of the leaders, adding that it is important to reconcile everybody for the common good of the party.
“I want to appeal to you again using this very platform. Reach out and try as much as possible to reconcile all of us if you are able to. You must try. Even some of us, we keep trying everyday to reach out to those who, hitherto, would not have agreed to look at our faces.
“We have succeeded in some respects. Today, most especially in this Local Government Area (Ughelli North), I can say we are at peace because myself and my brother O’tega Emerhor are together. We keep trying to reach out to the others, but they keep shutting the door against us. I want to appeal to you to keep trying on our behalf. If you are able to bring everybody together, we are grateful”, he said.
Responding to the request by the chairman of the group, AVM Ajobena, for him to declare his intention to contest the 2023 governorship election, Omo-Agege made it clear that he has not yet responded to such request. He however, declared that “Agege is coming”.
“Chairman, I’m not in any way accepting your request for me to declare today. I have not done that. But Agege is coming, Agege is coming. APC is coming”, he said.
He charged the executive of the group to take the message to the unit level at the grassroots, adding that the era of some leaders boasting that they can mobilize their wards or local government areas for their party candidates has gone. According to him, all politics is local, noting that it is only a successful mobilization at the unit level that matters.
While declaring the occasion open earlier, the chairman, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, thanked the organizers of the group as he prayed for more upliftment for the Senator, Ovie Omo-Agege.
“Now Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. Now, the beautiful thing about him is that he is not just a ranking Senator, he is number two, the Deputy President of Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“He is one of the greatest sons of Urhobo. We pray for you, Ovie. Up, up you will go. The Urhobo people are behind you. The South are behind you, the North are behind you”, he said.
In his opening address, the chairman of AGULF, AVM Ajobena said that the leaders and elders deemed it fit to constitute the body with a view to propagating the cause of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, calling on the Senator to declare his interest for the governorship of the State so that the group can commence work earnestly.
He said: “We said that the goodies we are enjoying from the Deputy President of the Senate, we must propagate it beyond the shores of Delta Central. It is consequent upon this reason that we the leaders and elders of the party constitute this body.
“So, the call this afternoon is a call to duty. We are conscripting you to come forward at the appropriate time to indicate your interest so that we can all throw our weight behind you push on. That is the core reason why we are gathered here.”
“I want to in clear terms that we are not actually limiting ourselves to the governorship position of Delta State. If, at the end of the day, some higher positions are zoned to the South South, we will be very glad and willing to project you for such a position. So, the governorship is the minimum we are looking out for from you in 2023.”
“The important thing is that we have our eyes on you and we will do everything possible to promote and propagate you.”
Also, speaking at the occasion, the chairman of APC, Delta Central, Olorogun Barr. Adelabu Ejiroghene Bodjor noted that he was lucky to be the first APC Senatorial chairman to produce a Deputy President of the Senate, adding that he is very confident he will be the first chairman to produce the governor of the State in 2023.
“I’m standing here today and I’m telling you that I’m a very lucky man because in the history of Urhobo nation, I’m the that has produced, as a chairman, the highest ranking officer in the National Assembly.
“And I stand here to tell you today I’m going to produce the next governor from APC for Delta State”, he said.
The Vice chairman of the group, Chief Tuesday Onoge, in his remarks, noted that “Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is not the only Senator from Delta State”, just as he extolled the leadership quality of the Senator as well as the member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal Constituency in House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive, adding that their voices are very loud and clear in the National Assembly.
According to him, any time there is opportunity to select people to represent Urhobos, they should endeavour to select the best available.
“What I’m telling you here today is that when we select people to represent us, we must select the first eleven. We should drop the issue of tribalism and personal relationship in selecting representatives. We should look at the quality and their ability to represent us and pick them. That is what has played out very well in Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Hon. Waive.”
Highpoint of the ceremony was the formal inauguration of AGULF by Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Obarisi of Urhobo land and Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Others present at the ceremony include Hon. Francis Waive, Chief Ede Dafinone, Chief P.D.O Akpeki, Engr. Omeni Sobotie, Arch Bishop Orovwuje, among several chieftains of the party from across the State.