By Gabriel Enogholase
Of recent there have been divergent calls by followers of Gen. Sam Ogbemudia (rtd) that he should step aside from the leadership of Edo South PDP. First to fire this salvo was Lt. Col. Paul Ogbebor who wants the retired General to step aside for a younger person.
However, Hon. Sunny Uyigue, a political associate of Dr. Ogbemudia, told Vanguard why he (Ogbemudia) should not step aside; and how the retired General was deceived into calling the September 5 reconciliation meeting of the zone. He also spoke on how the crisis in Edo PDP has unleashed two campaign offices on President Goodluck Jonathan. Excerpts:
How do you react to the assertion by rtd Lieut Col. Paul Ogbebor that Dr. Ogbemudia promised to step aside at a stakeholders’ meeting of Edo South Senatorial District of the PDP on September 5?
That is the greatest lie of the year. Ogbemudia never said so, and he is not having that plan or the intention to step aside whatsoever. Ogbemudia is a leader as of right in Edo South PDP and he is also a national leader of the party. He is a member of PDP Board of Trustees. He has never told any person and he never said so in that meeting of September 5 that he will step aside or he was going to hand over to somebody. It’s a lie and a pity. To refer to elders as political rascals is most unfortunate for somebody of Ogbebor’s standing.
The outcome of that meeting was glaring. Ogbemudia later discovered he was set up by Mr.‘Fix it.’ He was deceived. They deceived the poor man, that such a meeting would take place in the three senatorial districts. Ogbemudia being a gentleman who likes to keep to his promises organized that of Edo South on the 5th September and then the usual people who have hidden agenda said they would do a similar thing in Edo Central and Edo North. That of Edo Central was called, Solomon Aguele who is our group leader in Edo Central, went to that meeting with his supporters. To his greatest surprise, when he got there, they said Aguele and many other people should not enter. But Ogbemudia acted well by allowing every “Dick and Harry” to enter.
In Edo North, it was a different “ball_game.” Instead of Adml Mike Akhigb (rtd), who ought to have organized the meeting, they instigated somebody who is supposed to be a subordinate of Akhigbe to organize the Edo North meeting. Then the whole thing became glaring to Ogbemudia that he was deceived.
You were a member of a committee set up by Gen. Ogbemudia to work out modalities for the emergence of a new leader in the senatorial district. Isn’t that correct?
It is a “blatant” lie. Ogbemudia never set up a committee that I am a member to look for a new leader for Edo South. Thank God, Ogbemudia is alive, you can verify this from Ogbemudia.
How do you react to the furnishing of a new secretariat against the spirit of the September 5 meeting?
Lt, Col. Ogbebor is not conversant with PDP politics. If he had remained constant with PDP without leaving and coming back, he should have been aware of what is happening in PDP since the inception of the party in1998. In 2004 a precedent was set. There was a permanent office of PDP along Uselu Road while another PDP office was at Urubi. This is not the first time. If Ogbebor was constant with PDP without leaving and coming back, he would have remembered that this is not a new thing.
From the hired crowd that day, the hand writings are clear on the wall of what is awaiting these so called political travelers.
Are you saying that there was no accord on September 5, when you said Ogbemudia was deceived into convening that meeting? What is the true position of Edo South PDP today within the PDP in Edo State?
The truth yesterday, today and tomorrow is that PDP Edo South must be autonomous. We are not subscribed to be led or subservient to any other group in Edo State outside Edo South. That is the problem we are having. Those people who believe that their salvation lie outside Edo South should go ahead, we are in a free world. How can Edo South people go to another village to continuously take instructions and dictations? It has come to an end; nobody will take it any longer. And it’s a pity we are making the party to suffer for it. Politics is never played in the parlour or bedroom but on the field.
Thank God three by-elections took place in Edo State and the results are all known to every person. They were beating their chests that they can do it. Were they able to do it alone? The result is all clear now, whereas if Ogbemudia’s group had joined them the reverse could have been the result. They thought they would be able to do it alone, they boasted in Abuja, boasted to everybody.
But what can be done to resolve the crises. It is alleged that PDP has given automatic tickets to all federal legislators?
That one will not work in Edo South; automatic ticket will never work in Edo South. And unfortunately, we have only one person who is seeking re-nomination in Edo South. I wish that gentleman best of luck. Therefore, automatic ticket does not apply to Edo South and in the other senatorial districts, anyone given automatic ticket is doomed, he will never win.
What is the way out of the PDP crisis in Edo State, with the election around the corner?
The way out is for a genuine settlement between the two factions on equal basis. The matter of servant settlement will never work.
In other words, the A group and O group is not dead as alleged by Ogbebor?
As far as I am concerned, the Ogbemudia group is intact and then Lieut Col. Ogbebor did not know the origin of the so-called O and A groups. There was a meeting in Prof Oserheimen Osunbor’s house as a governor, three days to the congress of the PDP. The people who attended that meeting were three representatives from the senatorial districts. Dr. Ogbemudia, myself and the then deputy governor, Lucky Imasuen.
It was Anenih who christened it ‘A’ and ‘O’, then we asked him what is A and O? and he said he just want to separate the two factions. The A and O is a creation of Tony Anenih, he distributed the document to us at Governor Osunbor’s house. I still have my copy.