By Julius Oweh
The great Chinese leader and political revolutionary, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung once made an eternal line about the run of politics when he postulated that war is politics with blood while politics is war without blood.
This apt quote could be used to describe what is happening in the All Progressives Congress, Delta State chapter. Since the June conduct of ward, local and state congresses, the state of the party is riddled with crisis, acrimony, division and infighting.
These have made many informed political commentators that the dream of APC getting the Government House will really turn out to be a nightmare. And this nightmarish prospect is fuelled by many factors and these hurdles may not easily go away. They could pave the way for PDP to easily coast to victory come 2019.
Fighting in Abuja National Convention
The Delta State APC advertised itself as unruly and a house divided against itself when the members threw caution to the wind and right in the Eagle Square as President Muhammadu Buhari was making his speech, the two factions –Emerhor faction and Ogboru/Agege faction were busy throwing plastic chairs. It will be a near miracle for the party to wash away this political stigma of shame and infamy. Speaking about the Abuja show of shame, Olorogun O‘Tega Emerhor said that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege tried to doctor the lists of delegates and that resulted in the fracas.
This is how Emerhor described what happened :‘The delegates here are the authentic ones and they were sent to the accreditation committee but unfortunately, the secretary to the accreditation committee is from Delta, Senator Omo-Agege, you will remember him from the mace incident at the National Assembly. He carried the same attitude to this place.
He went and ensured that his people, who are not qualified to be delegates, are the people he put on the list. When it came to accreditation, he made sure that the materials did not get to us. He did something we didnt understand and get these people to occupy Delta authentic delegate stand‘.
However, the media aide to Senator Omo-Agege, Mr Efe Duke denied that those responsible for throwing of chairs were the supporters of his principal. Efe Duke defended his principal from the Abuja fracas : ‘How can it be true? Senator Omo-Agege and Chief Great Ogboru and other APC leaders were seated when all of a sudden Honourable Emerhor and other persons came in and some persons started picking plastic chairs. They were taken unawares.
And it was within the precinct of Eagles Square. Who would have thought that anybody would beat security to that extent? And it happened when the president was making a speech. For us, it is unthinkable that any reasonable leader would lead a group of persons who would undertake such a breach of security around the president. He (Omo-Agege) did not and he could not (be behind the incident) because he was seated like other persons and they were taken unawares‘. Despite the claims and counter claims of the two groups, the harm has been done.
The Oshiomhole Burden
It is a political reality that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has not hidden his desire for the APC to win the governorship polls in Delta State.
Before his election as the national chairman of APC, he once boasted that APC would capture Delta State. The PDP stakeholders then reminded Oshiomhole that Delta state was not Edo State and that Oshiomhole voter card power is only practicable in Edo State. Since becoming chairman of APC, his activities and utterances are only adding more fuel to the political inferno in Delta State. His recent recognition of Prophet Jones Ode Erue of the Ogboru/Agege faction as the authentic state chairman of the APC could further widen the fault lines of the party. Relying on a court ruling, Oshiomhole developed disdain for the chairmanship of Chief Cyril Ogodo who was sworn in by the former chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun.
The Chief Cyril Ogodo faction does not see it that way and issued a press statement to that effect, affirming that Ogodo remained the authentic chairman of APC, Delta State. Part of that statement of repudiation reads thus: ‘We are not bound by the consent judgement obtained by Agege/Ogboru group without our consent.
It has come to our notice that on June 28, 2018, a consent judgement in respect of a suit filed by Odjebobo Desire and Lyndon L.O.I Ugbome against the APC national chairman and the APC national working committee with suit No.FHC/ABJ/C8/509/8 was secured by the Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Chief Great Ogboru led group of APC members in Delta State.
The purport of the consent judgement is to accord legitimacy in the wards and LGA executives elected at the parallel congresses conducted by the Agege/Ogboru group, which were earlier adjudged illegal by the Chief John Odigie Oyegun led NWC, who actually conducted, supervised and approved the outcome of the recently conducted congresses of the APC nationwide… We the Chief Cyril Ogodo led executive in Delta State that were duly elected and inaugurated by the erstwhile NWC were never party to the above suit and by law are not bound by the outcome of the said consent judgement nor can our positions taken away or de-legitimise by a court judgement entered into by two parties without our knowledge, directive, consent or approval‘. The fact of the matter is that APC in Delta State is like two headed snake and this division permeates all the local governments and wards. When this reporter visited the state secretariat in Asaba, the Chief Cyril Ogodo group were in charge but the same cannot be said of the local council headquarters.
The Zoning Formula
Another major hurdle for the APC in its bid to capture Government House, Asaba is the political zoning of the PDP. The general political sentiment in the state is that the Delta North senatorial district should be allowed to complete its eight years after the eight year tenure of Delta Central under Chief James Ibori and eight years of Delta South under Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan. But investigation carried out by this reporter revealed that the camp of Prophet James Ode Erue is not disposed to this idea because of the governorship ambition of Chief Great Ogboru. Currently there are about three Urhobo sons in the race for Government House, Asaba on the platform of APC and the aspirants have shown their clear disdain for the zoning formula.
In Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North local government area, last week, one of the governorship aspirants flagged off his campaign with some Europeans in his entourage. The question is do these white men have voting powers? When has it become fashionable to bring foreigners into the political campaigns of a nation?
However, Chief O‘Tega Emerhor is of the strong belief that the contest for the governorship position should not be restricted to the prism of Urhobo affairs as presently canvassed by Chief Great Ogboru and Senator Omo-Agege. Emerhor has a more liberal attitude towards 2019 governorship election. Listen to his sentiments: ‘Ogboru has been playing politics and has been failing for the past four or five times, only Urhobo cannot produce a governor.
We need the three senatorial districts to win. Turner Ogboru went on live television to say I am supporting an Anioma agenda, how does that make Anioma people feel. Doesn‘t he need Anioma people to win. Ogboru cannot continue to spoil the chances of APC winning the governorship by making it Urhobo party, and we need the Anioma, Ijaw, Isoko, Urhobo and Itsekiri. Unless we do not want to win which Ogboru doesn‘t want to do‘. As it stands today, with some Urhobos trying to clinch the governorship ticket of APC, getting the governorship position shall remain a stillbirth.
The rampaging Fulani Herdsmen
Despite the best efforts of the presidency and the leadership of APC in distancing themselves from the murderous Fulani herdsmen, a lot of Nigerians harbour the thought that APC as a party is treating the security issue with kids’ glove. Here in Delta State, the Fulani herdsmen trail of death and destruction left visible scares in Ossissa in Ndokwa East and Abraka in Ethiope East local government, to mention but a few. And many Deltans are wondering aloud why they should give their electoral support to a party that tacitly supports the decimation of the state by herdsmen. The leadership of APC in the state must wear their strategic thinking cap to divorce themselves from the menace
The hurdles before the APC are many and varied and the above mentioned few are just tips of the iceberg against the overwhelming presence of PDP in all nooks and crannies of the state. Wearing the label of a born again prophet, this writer believes that APC winning the 2019 governorship race is akin to trying to know the sex of an angel.