Sir Olisaemeka Akamukale is the immediate past Acting National Chairman of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP. In this interview, Akamukale now National Auditor of the APC spoke on the seeming crisis in DPP, the rift between late Senator Ewherido and Chief Great Ogboru, the merger and other issues of interest. Excerpts:
By Festus Ahon
There is this rumour that DPP never had a convention or a meeting where it was resolved that the party should join the merger. What is your reaction to this?
The likes of Chief Great Ogboru, General Jeremaiah Useni, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) have one thing in common; they are coupists. These people decided to go contrary to the decision of the party and they decided to hold their own convention. But unfortunately for them, they were stopped from holding the convention; therefore the only valid special convention that was held by the DPP is that which I held.
And my very good brother and friend, late Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido was there; the convention met all the criteria set by our constitution and INEC; it was even observed by INEC. Yes along the line, the issue of the authentic chairman of the party came up and it is now an issue before a Federal High Court in Abuja. How did we arrive at this problem? When Jeremiah Useni resigned in 2011 to contest the Senate election in Plateau South Senatorial District; I was his deputy national chairman; I don’t deny that.
Since he resigned to go for the Senate, the relevant section of the party constitution says in the absence of the national chairman, the deputy national chairman takes over. Jeremiah Useni handed over to me and I took over the realm of the party. And in my capacity then as acting national chairman, I handed over the party flag to Chief Great Ogboru and all the candidates of the party in 2011. I acted as thus until these people brought one Magashi, who is not even a NEC member.
The highest that Magashi was, was that he contested the governorship election under the platform of the party in 2007 in Kano State and had 6,732 votes; he does not even have a councilor. Magashi is politically insignificant and he is a just political lollipop; he can’t even deliver his family. He was totally rejected by his own people. In a whole Kano that has the highest population in this country, he had less than 7,000 votes.
Today, I am the National Auditor of the All Progressives Congress, APC. I am the only person from Delta State that is in the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee of APC, therefore, I have the authority to speak on behalf of APC. And I want to tell you that contrary to insinuations by some persons who are ignorant, APC shall be presenting a candidate for the Delta Central bye-election.
We are only waiting for INEC to come up with its guideline. APC is not a new party that is registered; it is a merger, therefore that issue of 90 days is neither here nor there. It is very simple; ‘I formerly known as Dr John now wishes to be known as Dr Paul’. It does not mean that those certificates you had as Dr John are now invalid.
Even if DPP as a party did not meet the requirement because we have not formally submitted the certificate of the party; the other parties have met the requirement; there is ACN; there is CPC. So we will be contesting the election under APC. Therefore, the issue of my other brothers who want to contest under DPP I sympathize with them because; “he who buys a property in dispute buys nothing’. The case of the ownership of DPP is still in dispute; so under what circumstances; under what platform will they be contesting?
This group of people who didn’t even mourn the dead; Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido, the man they are now hustling to replace, was the man they suspended, a man they expelled from their party; was a man they never recognized when he was alive. People’ while the man was still in the mortuary, started collecting nomination form! Even the pagans mourn the dead. Pius’ enemies will not replace him; even the Urhobos will not allow it. We know those that will not replace Pius; not those who were not part of him. Pius by the time he was dying, was a full fledged member of the APC; he never hid it. Therefore Pius must be represented by an APC candidate.
What will you say is actually responsible for this sudden crack in DPP?
In 2015, Great Ogboru wants to be governor at all costs. Great was with us in the NEC meeting of the then DPP and in the NEC meeting, I don’t want to call other people; I want to concern myself with Delta. I was in the NEC meeting; late Senator Pius Ewherido was in the meeting; Honourable Austin Ogbaburhon was in the NEC meeting; Honourable Julius Okpoko was in the meeting; Chief Tony Ezeagu was in the meeting; Chief Frank Kokori was in the meeting; I think we were about seven or eight from Delta State that were in that meeting. And in that meeting, it was agreed that DPP should merge with APC; the only person who had a different voice was General Useni that he wanted to go to PDP but at the end, the majority carried the day.
We were now asked to draft a letter to APC and to ask APC for admission. We drafted this letter; had a committee of 12 people; Great opposed Senator Ewherido being a member of the committee; I overruled him. That was where our problem started. The letter of the committee that was submitted to Dr Lami; the secretary of the merger committee then, was handed over to Lami by Great Ogboru and Ned Nwoko from Delta North. So the bottom line is that Great Ogboru thinks he is the only person that is qualified in the whole of Delta State to be governor. His fight with Senator Pius Ewherido is that he thinks that Pius wanted to be Governor while he is the de facto professional governorship candidate.
Do you regret leaving DPP?
Laughs…somebody leaves Ajegunle and suddenly he finds himself in Buckingham Palace and you are asking the person if he regrets? DPP was a sinking Ship. I told them; I have the soul of DPP, they can go with their carcass. DPP was a sinking Ship; our members were leaving us. DPP was only alive in Delta State. We had our presence only in Delta State; it is only in Plateau that we had one member in Federal House.
My dear brother, what we thought; what we analyzed with Chief Frank Kokori, he is a living man; go and ask him. We sat and said let us take the people of Delta to mainstream politics. At the end of this year, there will only be two parties; it is either you are in APC or PDP. We said we are tired of this district party; do you know I am the National Auditor of the main opposition party in this country; it is better than National Chairman of DPP. DPP is sunk; dead and buried.