By Festus Ahon
CHIEF Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza is the Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Delta State. He was a Commissioner in the State under the immediate past administration of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan. He has also held other positions in Government and in the PDP.
In this interview with Sunday Vanguard, Osuoza speaks on why Dr Cairo Ojougboh left the party for the All Progressives Congress, APC, chances of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in 2019 and other issues of interest.
Can you tell us why one of your own, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, who was South-South Chairman of PDP left the party?
Dr. Cairo Ojougboh was once our Chairman in the South-South. Before the convention that was held in Port-Harcourt all stakeholders within the South-South met and agreed that they would have to zone some of the offices, and then the zoning arrangement did not favour him.
Let me put it in proper perspective, Dr Cairo Ojougboh was the one that presided over the zonal meeting that we held in Port-Harcourt but prior to that meeting, Dr Cairo Ojougboh and other stakeholders met, where they agreed that the position of the South-South Chairman should be given to another person.
Even at that Dr Cairo Ojougboh himself did not raise any eyebrow because he presided over the meeting proper but being the kind of person he is, possibly he believed that he would pull a fast one on every person during the zonal meeting thereby nullifying everything they said the previous day. But when it was mentioned, the nominations came overwhelmingly, majority wanted the change in leadership of the South-South.
Dr Cairo Ojougboh played his role, but for him to want to hold on tenaciously to power was his biggest undoing. He is not a team player if you would ask me. If he was a team player he would have listened to the admonitions of other stakeholders, so he felt that if not the South-South Chairman he cannot stay on with the PDP and he left, he didn’t just leave the PDP, he left to form a parallel PDP exco.
But at the end of the day the Supreme Court judgment favoured the authentic PDP so the place became too uncomfortable for him and he left PDP for the APC.
We have a constitution which is a binding document for any party man, you must be ready to respect the constitution but people like Dr Cairo Ojougboh who are not interested in respecting the constitution, they just feel that it is going to be business as usual. PDP has transformed and reformed and we are following the democratic tenets to the fullest
Dr Cairo Ojougboh and Victor Ochei, the former Speaker of the State Assembly are now Governorship aspirants under APC and they are teaming up to ensure Governor Ifeanyi Okowa does not come back in 2019. What do think are their chances?
I would like to tell you that the APC would remain in disarray and the 2019 election would come and go and Governor Okowa would be the governor of Delta State. They have not been able to get their acts together, so forming all that kind of clique to stop Okowa will fail. Okowa is unstoppable.
In 2019, Okowa would be the governor of Delta State because he has so many things to show Deltans. Verifiable projects are on ground, so many things that Deltans want, Governor Okowa is doing them. The groundswell of support and endorsement he is having across the state is a clear testimony to that fact. Most recently, the Delta Northerners’ hosted him and they declared that there is no stopping Okowa and there is no vacancy come 2019, that Senator Okowa is the only candidate come 2019 that would come from Anioma extraction and they mean it.
Just recently, the traditional rulers in Delta Central, that is the Urhobo nation endorsed Dr Okowa for second term by passing implicit vote of confidence on the him. Go to Delta South, the Isoko’s have passed a vote of confidence on him. So I wonder where they would get people for that kind of vote that they will use to unseat Okowa. If it is the people who are resident in Delta State then there is no stopping Okowa unless they want to bring people from outer space to come and cast the votes but for registered voters in Delta State, they are all comfortable with Governor Okowa and his style of leadership, he is such a wonderful person for Delta State.
Let’s take a look at the recession, when we had the recession if not for the fact that God blessed Delta with the person of Dr Okowa as Governor, so many states suffered untold hardship but the Governor was able to manage the scarce resources quite effectively to seeing us out of the recession. He is working and everything he is doing will be what Deltans would judge him with. So people should disregard whatever Dr Cairo Ojougboh and Chief Victor Ochei are saying. They are in disarray and they will remain in disarray till 2019 and after . Delta State is PDP and PDP is Delta State, we don’t have any opposition in Delta State.
At the last ward and local government congress held by the APC, there was division in the party. What does this potend for the PDP especially in Delta State?
Well, it still boils down to the same thing we are talking about that the APC is a conglomeration of strange bed fellows, every person is doing one or two things to undo the other person and it would continue like that.
For us in PDP, we are harvesting several of them back into our fold, the ones that are disgruntled as a result of the last APC congress, a lot of them have started moving to PDP and the grassroots is with the PDP in Delta State. So, we are harvesting seriously APC members back to PDP and our doors are wide open and at the end of the day if not for shame or whatever I know that people like Dr Cairo Ojougboh are even fed up with APC and if given the opportunity they will like to grab it and come back to PDP because there is no future in APC.
There are so many aspirants coming up to contest for positions in the party and the Governor at a point said there would not be imposition. But during the last Local Government election there were outcry of imposition by members of PDP. How will the party organize itself to ensure this does not happen in 2019 and everybody given a level playing ground?
No, what played out in the last Local Government election was no imposition. We allowed the leadership of every ward to do their mock primaries so to speak. What we think was that if in their fold there was any person that they felt was qualified to hold that position. We did not experience backlash, like people complaining or disgruntled as a result of the kind of selection processes that took place. Any place where we noticed there was serious division or people were not happy with the candidate they brought out we organized our own primaries for them and it was transparent. I went to supervise one of the primaries in Aniocha-North and it was a free primary for every person. The person that won was the person that was declared as the winner.
We are not going to impose, come 2019 any person that feels because he has one Godfather or whatever, that he would use to win our primaries such a person is joking. There is going to be serious primaries in PDP, there is no election we are not going to do primaries, the only election we are not going to do primaries because we don’t have so many persons apart from one person contesting is the position of the Governor.
Every other position where they have more than one aspirant, there is definitely going to be primaries. So do not let anyone deceive you, there is going to be primaries and for our Governor to have gone to Ekiti State and prove it to the whole world that primaries can take place, definitely primaries would take place in Delta State in all our processes.
What message do you have for Deltans?
I would like to appeal to Deltans to still have faith in PDP and this is the only party that is closer to them, the only party that would remember them. This is a party that knows our problem as a nation and this is the party that can deliver to Nigerians not only Deltans the dividends of democracy as against what we are witnessing now from the APC led Government at the center.
It is just suffering; hardship that they have brought to Nigerians. PDP is ready to push APC out in 2019 at the federal level and we need the support of all Nigerians to do that. Nigerians should have faith in us to do just that. For Deltans, still have faith in Governor Okowa, he means well for Delta and he is the best hand that would handle situations for us and give us the dividends of democracy. He is transparent honest and God-fearing.