…As Party Focuses On Complete Reconciliation
By John Oghojafor
If anything, the influx of political heavyweights from other parties into the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in recent months should be a pointer to the party’s preparedness to take on the ruling party and give it a run for its money in the coming local government election and, of course, the 2019 governorship election in the state.
The New Diplomat’s investigation reveals that, across the state, the ruling party (PDP) has lost some of its fine commanders and foot soldiers to the APC in the last few months, a situation, it was gathered, is presently giving the governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the State PDP, sleepless night. Only recently, former South South chairman of the PDP and Deputy national chairman of the Modu Sheriff PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and his followers, including a former state chairman of the PDP, Chief Austin Ogbaburhon, joined the APC.
Political analysts believe that with the caliber of seasoned politicians presently on parade in the APC camp in the state, it may not be business as usual for the PDP in terms of winning election, particularly when it is viewed against the background that some of the defectors to the APC were actually former commanders and foot soldiers with which the PDP had won all previous elections. The New Diplomat however gathered that since the defeat of the 2015 election in the state, APC has not been able to find its feet as an active opposition party. A source confirmed that throwing its doors opened has resulted in the influx of politicians with different political interests. And unless these conflicting interests are streamlined into the party’s vision of kicking the ruling party out, it may just be a social association with different tendencies and divisions.
Talking about divisions within the APC in the state, it has been held by analysts to be responsible for the dwindling fortune of the party and many believed that the PDP has so far capitalized on it to kick the party about. So, when it was envisioned that the coming of the likes of Chief Great Ogboru, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, and lately, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Austin Ogbaburhon and thousands of their followers into the APC train would have posed a serious threat to the PDP, this has not been proved as the divisions among the gladiators appear more entrenched than ever. This position was confirmed with the recent formation of different pressure groups within the APC by some of the key leaders of the party in the state. Olorogun O’tega Emerhor who has been single-handedly steering the course of the party in the state for nearly two years, inaugurated the Mainstream Delta APC (MDA) while an elder statesman from Delta North, Chief Engr. Hyacinth Enuha formed the Consolidated Delta APC (CDA). Chief Great Ogboru and his group formed the Light of APC. Other interest groups include Chief Solomon Edojah’s Delta Unity group, the Adolor Okotie-Eboh group, the Victor Ochei group and the Prof. Pat Utomi’s group among others.
From a vantage position, one could see that the different pressure groups were already engaged in an unhealthy competition among themselves with each struggling to swell the army of their supporters ostensibly to out-wit the other. The resultant disunity among the groups could be summarized by what some described as an APC House of Confusion in Delta.
The New Diplomat gathered that at that point, some of the leaders, championed by Chief Engr. Enuha took up the gauntlet and reached to other major stakeholders on how to forge a united APC that could inflict maximum damage on the ruling party in 2019 and took over Dennis Osadebe Govt. House, Asaba. The move by the elder statesman led to the hosting of the meeting of the various groups by Olorogun O’tega Emerhor in his country home, Evwreni in Ughelli North LGA, on Saturday October 21, 2017.
Except for the duo of Chief Great Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and a few others, every leader and stakeholder of the party in the state were present at the Evwreni Unity meeting. Leader after leader delivered goodwill message which dwelt on the need for all stakeholders to key into the unity train of the party was emphasized and there seemed to be a consensus that if the interest of the party is to take over the governance of the state in 2019, all the pressure groups must see themselves as one and key into the new Unity mantra.
The issue of empowerment of party members was also emphasized at the Unity meeting. The Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Kachiukwu, called for the total eradication of poverty among grassroot party members, adding that if the party must take over power from the PDP-led government in the state, the issues of empowerment of members of the party at the grassroots must be taken seriously adding that they will not take likely the issue of empowerment. And while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the ceremony, he explained that although it has not gone round everybody yet, a lot of empowerment has started trickling down, saying that child school feeding and micro credit scheme were ongoing.
Said he: “A lot of empowerment is going on already. The school child feeding is going on, the micro credit scheme is going on already. It may not have reached everybody as you would want but again this is a very strict regime in terms of fiscal disposition.”
Kachiukwu also disclosed that efforts were on to bring in Chief Great Ogboru and others into the unity programme of the party in the state.
Addressing the press shortly after the occasion, the chief host of the meeting, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, reiterated the importance of unity, stressing that without it the party cannot win election in the state.
He noted that the APC was on a rescue mission to free the state from the stranglehold of the ruling party, adding that it was the reason why the leaders and stakeholders have come together to demonstrate that the party was on his to rescue the state.
He said: “For a party that is not in government it takes a lot to bring everybody together. This is why we have organized ourselves to come together to show to Delta State that APC is on its way to rescue the state.
“And you can see that the whole of APC leaders are present, they are working together and all the story you hear about disunity and division we want to put them to an end today.”
On the sustenance of the unity move, Emerhor assured that it will not only be sustained but expanded, adding that those who were not present in the meeting would be reached.
“We are expanding it, not just sustaining it. You may have noticed that one or two leaders were not present today. We are working, we are talking and they will all join us. And we will all march together. We will not allow anything to divide us because we know that with unity and fairness we are going to get somebody that will win election for the party”, he said.
Earlier, the State chairman of the APC, Prophet Jones Erue had commended the conveners of the unity meeting, noting that it marks the beginning of the serious journey to Government House in Asaba. He called on all members to reinvigorate their commitment, adding that the party is one and with the renewed unity, victory is assured.
While fielding questions from newsmen, the Coordinator of the Mainstream Delta APC (MDA), Chief Alfred Olokor, the meeting was a huge milestone in the history of the party in the state, stressing that for a long time, the party leaders have been trying to pull the different interest groups together.
“Our leaders have been meeting to try to pull the party together in preparation for the 2019 election. And today was the first outing of the coming together of all the groups within the APC to form a formidable party to ensure we chase out PDP from Government House in 2019”, he said.
Commenting on the forthcoming local government election, the Director of Media and Publicity of the MDA, Dr. Wilson Omene, said that the meeting was a strong signal to the PDP to prepare their load and leave Government House, Asaba.
He said: “We are advising Deltans that APC is here to rescue the state. We want to rescue Deltans from the whims and caprices of the undemocratic PDP. The local government election is to prove to the PDP that there is no more rigging. The machinery of rigging in the PDP has been curtailed. The beginning of the freedom of Deltans to have their votes counted has just begun.”
Earlier in his goodwill message, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei reiterated the importance of unity if the party must win election in the state, recalling the lyrics of the late reggae legend, Bob Marley on unity. He demonstrated that the strength in a broom is in its bundle, pointing out that as a single broom stick, there exists no strength. He therefore called for peace and unity so that 2019 will be a reality for the APC.
Present at the occasion was the State chairman of the APC, Prophet Jones Erue and his executive members, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, Chief Hyacinth Enuha, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachiukwu, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Mr. Ede Dafinone, Chief Austin Ogbaburhon, Temi Harriman, Dr. Mrs. Veronica Ogbuagu, Prof. Pat Utomi, Chief Osiobe Okotie, Chief Adolor Okotie-Eboh, Chief Alfred Olokor, Olorogun Ominimini Obiuwevbi, Dr. Wilson Omene and P.Z. Aghinighan.tOthershe Director of Projects in NDDC, Engr. Sam Ajogbe, the Commissioner for NDDC in Delta State, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Engr. Tuoyo, Hon. Masa Agbajo, Hon. Misa Kubeinje, among others. Thousands of members of the party representatives from all the 25 Local Government Areas of the state were present.
Others include the Director of Projects in NDDC, Engr. Sam Ajogbe, the Commissioner for NDDC in Delta State, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Engr. Tuoyo, Hon. Masa Agbajo, Hon. Misa Kubeinje, and several others. Thousands of members of the party representatives from all the 25 Local Government Areas of the state were present.