By Perez Brisibe
THOUGH the 2019 governorship election is 18 months away, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State has started putting structures in place to forestall a re-occurrence of the loss it suffered during the 2015 general elections to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate and current Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Okowa was declared winner to emerge as governor of the state having polled 724, 680 votes to defeat his closest contenders, Chief Great Ovadje Ogboru of the Labour Party, LP, and Olorogun O’tega Emerhor of the APC both of whom polled 130,028 and 67, 825 votes respectively.
In what analysts described as building a strong opposition and a major break for the party, the APC in the state, early last year, wooed some aggrieved chieftains of the PDP, LP, Accord Partyand AD, including Chief Ogboru and former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Victor Ochie, who also gave Okowa a run for his money during the PDP governorship primary.
Leading the defectors to the APC national secretariat where they were received by the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee, the leader of the party in the state, Emerhor, explained that they had resolved to sink their differences and work together to defeat the PDP administration which they accused of bad governance.
Before the defection of the duo, they had worked on the platforms of different political parties to sabotage the political ambitions of one another, with Ochie, who later emerged as the senatorial candidate of AD for Delta North in the 2015 general elections, working against the governorship ambition of Ogboru and Emerhor.
Though the Delta State APC has had its challenges with pockets of differences among its members, the party has started putting structures in place towards achieving its dream ahead of the 2019 governorship election in the state.
The structures include the birth of pressure groups such as Mainstream Delta APC, Light of APC, Delta APC Unity Group, Consolidated Dynamic APC, as well as the defections into the party from other political parties.
One of such defections is the entrance of a former Vice Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who led thousands of PDP members to the APC.
Cairo and his group, including a former member, representing Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives and factional chairman of the PDP in the state, Mr. Austin Ogbaburhon, were received by the National Vice Chairman of APC, Mr. Hilliard Eta; Emerhor; the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, among others.
Speaking at the event, Eta said the new members had further brightened the party’s chances to wrestle power from the PDP in the state in 2019.
Meanwhile, Cairo, in a bid to further pledge his loyalty to the leader of the party in Delta, paid a courtesy visit to Emerhor at his Evwerni country home.
Emerhor had a fortnight ago, during the inauguration of executives of Mainstream Delta APC, MDA, said the group was formed solely to ensure the takeover of power from the PDP in 2019.
Those inaugurated as executives are: Coordinator, Chief Fred Oloko; Deputy Coordinator, Chief Michael Johnny and Secretary General/Director of Secretariat, Research and Strategy, Dr. Iyke Odikpo.
Others are: Director of Finance, Chief Ferguson Onwo; Director of Welfare and Mobilization, Chief Felix Anirah; Director of Media and Publicity, Chief Wilson Omene; Director, Contact and Mobilization, Chief Terry Otuya; Director, Women Affairs, Barr. Omasan Agbajoh and Director, Youths Affairs, Hon. Moses Kamaya.