By Perez Brisibe
DESPITE claims by the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress that the party is united ahead of the 2019 general elections, the May 5 Ward Congress held in the State has exposed deepening divide in the party.
This was further reflected in the conduct of parallel congress held in parts of the state during last Saturday’s council congress with the state chairman of the party, Jones Erue, senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege, Chief Ovadje Ogboru and a host of others holding sway on one side while leader of the party in the state, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, Chief Hyacinth Enuha and at least six governorship aspirants leading the pack in the other.
What we have are tendencies — Emerhor
Describing the bickering between both sides as normal even while reiterating that there is no faction in the party, Emerhor had confirmed the existence of two tendencies in the state chapter of the party.
He was, however, quick to assert that contrary to the imagination of many persons, the tendencies do not amount to fractionalisation.
“These tendencies are Ogboru, Ovie Omo-Agege and Light of APC that joined the party on one side and my tendency if you want to call it that which is an aggregation of about six governorship aspirants of the party and other leaders of the party who have come together to work out a unity list of candidates that we want to support.”
However, the bickering between both sides, took a different twist following the disappearance of 100 out of the 270 result sheets for the ward congress.
Condemning the incident, Erue in a statement had explained that “the ward result sheets were stolen or criminally removed from official custody by unknown persons,” arguing that it was an obvious violation of the electoral process.
Police indicts committee secretary, member of complicity
However, the police in its interim investigation report indicted the secretary of the committee, Usman Kutugi and a member of the committee of complicity in compromising the outcome of the congress.
The report which was signed by the state commissioner of police, Muhammed Mustafa, described them as “fugitives from justice,” saying, “A case of conspiracy and stealing of the congress sensitive materials has been established against them and we are searching for the principal suspects in order to bring them all to book.”
While the police was continuing with its investigation, the national secretary of the party, Hon. Mai Malu Buni in a letter to the Delta Police boss, stated that Dododo had been removed as committee chairman and subsequently replaced with Chief Emmanuel Chinda from Rivers State.
The letter dated May 10, 2018 addressed to the Delta State Commissioner of Police and other security agencies in the state, said: “The chairman, Alhaji Sani Dododo, has however been replaced with the new chairman, Chief Emmanuel Chindah.”
Appealing for assistance for the new chairman and his six-man team, the party stated: “We request that you give them maximum support and police security throughout their stay in the state.”
What is playing in Delta is a backdoor script — ERUE
Puncturing the authority of the letter, an infuriated Erue said: “If at all the letter is truly signed by the national secretary, with all due respect to him, I think he is doing a job for someone else and not for the party because what is playing out in Delta is a game and a backdoor script that is backfiring.
“I do not know who appointed Chinda because NWC did not meet to appoint him.
When Dododo was appointed, did National secretary sign a letter to that effect? Why did he not write a letter in the first instance, this is the question that must be asked.
There is a foul play as someone is being paid the work he is doing.”
Ogboru accuses Oyegun of undue interference
Meanwhile, Chief Ogboru has accused the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun of unduly interfering in the congresses in the state against the provisions of the party.
Ogboru who accompanied Dododo and Erue to present the congress report to the party’s NWC, said Chief Oyegun was unduly interfering in the congresses, pointing out that the actions of the chairman run contrary to the party constitution and the guidelines for the congress.
He said “I felt last week that the national chairman of the party interfered unduly, unjustly and unconstitutionally in the conduct of the congress in Delta state but I am not so sure if this is the appropriate place to say it. The minister of state, petroluem, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu it was learnt is trying to make peace between both tendencies in the party.
Hon. Temi Harriman with close allegiance to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is also seen as a strong factor.
Hopes for an amicable resolution of the crisis were yesterday failing after the appeal committee sent from Abuja failed to receive petitions.
The committee Vanguard learned surfaced at the state secretariat on Monday, but subsequently failed to show up on Tuesday leaving party members in confusion.