By Emma Amaize & Festus Ahon
UNTIL he decamped from the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last year, Chief Julius Ogboru, the Ekugbere of Abraka Kingdom and elder brother of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, DPP governorship candidate in the last election, was popularly known as the ‘Field Marshal’ of the Ogboru Campaign Organization.
That he was one of the pillars of DPP was not in doubt, but what remained uncertain, even in the last few days, is whether his exit from the party, which his younger brother, and by extension, the Ogborus, have used to gain acceptance and respectability in the state, will affect the fortunes of the DPP in Delta Central in the October 12 bye- election.
His political strength has not been tested since he dumped DPP following some “irreconcilable political differences” with his brother, Great Ovedje. The ruling PDP is maximizing the opportunity that his departure had created to make inroad in Ethiope-East Local Government Area.
Last week at Eku, Chief Ogboru led about 1,500 former DPP members from different parts of the state to declare for the PDP. He said after very wide consultation with his supporters in all the wards in the state, he had to take the decision to cross over to PDP.
His words: “Some of you asked if my crossing over will not amount to a betrayal. I say no because I gave my brother all the support he needed in his political aspiration for 14 years. I think it is time to move on.”
He assured that he would deliver the three wards at Abraka to his new party, even as he thanked the Commissioner for Finance in the state, Chief Ken Okpara, for making the declaration a reality.
Chief Skin Ogboru, a chieftain of PDP in Abraka, said he was happy that his uncle had crossed over to the ruling party.
Delta State Commissioner for Housing, Chief Paulinus Akpeki, and other political leaders, who spoke at the declaration, charged Chief Ogboru to ensure his coming would bring greater success to the PDP.
Like the APC senatorial candidate, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, who also pulled out of DPP, Chief Julius Ogboru, was said to have reasoned that the DPP was not the political party that would take Deltans anywhere but his younger brother, Great, was not in a hurry to buy his idea.
Despite the swagger that Julius Ogboru’s exit did not really matter, a source said the DPP was feeling the impact. But the party’s senatorial candidate, Chief Ede Dafinone, told Vanguard in Sapele that DPP would not be affected by the departure of Julius Ogboru in the bye-election.
Asked if the series of defections in DPP, particularly the recent one by Julius Ogboru, elder brother of Chief Great Ogboru, along with many people, would not affect his chances of winning the election, Dafinone said: “Julius Ogboru has chosen what he feels he wants to do, which he feels is better for him. Let him decamp with any number of people he claims he has decamped with, that is his own business and that will not affect the party at the election.”
Speaking to Vanguard on whether his departure from DPP would affect the fortunes of DPP in Ethiope East, Chief Julius Ogboru said, “It is a nice question, what I will tell you is that you know that when a vehicle is moving, it is moving with four tyres, but if one of the tyres pulls out, will the movement not be affected? I leave you to find out the answer.
Heartbeat and mass following
“I do not want to talk much, the result of the poll will speak for itself. It is then the truth will come to light that it is with people that you win election.”
Great Ogboru does not, however, agree with his brother. He told a tabloid: “I still believe that the bye-election will be won by the DPP. Though, some of our members have gone to the APC and some, who were from the PDP have gone back, but the nucleus, the heartbeat and the mass following or our people and the appeal of the party, have remained undiminished. So I believe that DPP will win.”