•Eta, APC Nat Vice chair, S-South, Ogboru, Sen Omo-Agege back Oshiomhole
•Ogodo, factional state chairman, other party leaders kick
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Festus Ahon (Asaba) and Perez Brisibe (Ughelli)
WHILE he ruled Edo State as Governor some years back, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, now the national chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, did not camouflage his plan to take over the neighboring Delta State from People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which had held sway in the state since 2007.
In fact, part of his anger was that the incumbent governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, though unsubstantiated, deployed the resources of his state to bankroll a PDP governorship candidate in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, against APC candidate in the state, who is presently the governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
As national chairman of APC, Oshiomhole blew the horn again even as national chairman and the recent development in Ekiti state where the incumbent Governor Ayo Fayose’s candidate, Prof Kolapo Eleka lost to APC’s Dr Kayode Fayemi has sent a very strong signal to Gov Okowa and his tacticians on Delta 2019 governorship election.
He was quoted to have declared: “One of my principal reasons for accepting to run for the national chairman of our great party is because I want to pay back Gov. Okowa of Delta State in his own coins. Earlier in 2016, he used Delta State money to fight me in order to install his party in my state, in 2019, I will be fighting, and knocking and even biting him with federal government might to ensure that PDP dies a natural death in Delta State.”
July 16 masterstroke
However, the matter at stake now is that Oshiomhole in pursuit of his plan to sack PDP from Government House, Asaba, had taken apart the Chief Cyril Ogodo state executive inaugurated by his predecessor, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and replaced it with a new state executive, headed by a pioneer chairman, Prophet Jones Erue, on Monday, July 16.
As then national chairman, Oyegun invalidated Erue’s election because the chairman of Ward and Local Government Committee allegedly compromised and announced doctored results; he set up a fresh Committee that produced the Ogodo executive, which Oshiomhole has brushed aside.
By installing Prophet Erue, Oshiomhole has with authorization intensified the division in APC in the state with two parallel executives and with Erue in the saddle, an APC chieftain swore that the national leadership has handed over the party to Chief Great Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege faction of the party against the Olorogun O’tega Emerhor/Ogodo faction, which built the party in the state.
“I can tell you categorically that the Ogboru and his men, who joined the party not too long ago are now rejoicing because Oshiomhole in one snap, crumbled what Oyegun tried to preserve in the state and Ogboru is the battleaxe the APC wants to use to chase Okowa out of Government House, next year, as they did to Fayose,” he said.
The party is torn between its known leader in the state, Olorogun Emerhor and Chief Ogboru, both from the Central senatorial district and the speculation, yesterday, was that Delta Central with the highest voting population in the state was not prepared for a Delta North candidate of the party to run for a term, that is 2019 to 2023 in the event of Okowa losing, but wants to take over power next year and run rule till three terms before conceding to another senatorial district.
PDP studies development
PDP strategists are already working on the feelers from informed APC members, who are unhappy with the turn of things. The party is already restrategizing, aware the strings that were pulled in Ekiti
Nat vice chair, S-South defends Oshiomhole
But the National Vice Chairman, South-South, APC, Ntufam Hilliard Eta, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard on phone, said it was untrue that Oshiomhole was dismantling Oyegun’s structure in Delta state to plant his own formation.
He asserted: “The national chairman of the party, Comrade Oshiomhole, did not swear in Prophet Jones Erue as Delta state chairman of APC unilaterally. Erue was sworn in with the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party in attendance, it was an action that has the imprimatur of NWC. It was an action that has the imprimatur of NWC. We believe that due process was followed in the election of Prophet Erue and his executive.”
Eta declared: “Prophet Erue is our pioneer chairman; it is not an attempt by the party to favour any group in the party. What we have done is to follow the rule of law. “
Nobody has given Ogboru guber ticket
The APC leader added: “It is laughable for any person to say that the inauguration of Erue executive was to hand over governorship ticket to Ogboru when the party had declared few days back that it was going to adopt direct primary option.”
His words: “Even the Delta state leadership of APC cannot determine who is going to be the governorship candidate, the power is with the party faithful, not to talk of the national leaders of the party,who are far –off in Abuja and other places.”
Our action based on rule of law
He insisted: “We have a judgment of the court that has not been appealed and if appealed against, has not been set aside, that is what we acted on. If they are saying that there is anything on a stay of execution, the party has not been served and that does not mean that the party should be at a standstill. So we followed the rule of law in swearing in the Erue executive.”
Ask Oshiomhole or Kachikwu
On why the party did not wait for the Reconciliation Committee, headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, which was yet to complete its assignment before swearing in the Erue executive, he said: “The question will be best answered by the national chairman or Kachikwu himself.”
Asked whether giving Ogboru an edge in the seeming configuration, which he disagreed with in the first instance, was part of Oshiomhole’s grand plan to snatch Delta from PDP, Eta said: “Delta state has suffered for nearly 20 years in the hands of PDP, it is very important that the state gets a progressive governor to bring proper governance to the state.”
I’m the authentic APC, Delta chairman- Ogodo
Speaking to our reporter, Chief Ogodo asserted: “As the chairman of the party, I was not at any meeting where Ogboru was given the nod to become our governorship candidate. But the body language of the national leadership is that they want to give the structure to Ogboru. And that is already clear and Ogboru is beaming with smiles now.”
However, he maintained that it was illegal for the national chairman to swear in Erue as parallel state chairman of the party, adding that APC in the state got a restraining order from the court stopping Oshiomhole and the party from recognizing the Erue executive.
Ogodo, nevertheless, said his group was in control of the state secretariat of the party in Asaba and it held an expanded state executive meeting July 14 in the office.
APC national leadership acted unlawfully- Spokesman
The APC leadership inaugurated by the former national chairman, Oyegun, in its formal reaction to the Oshiomhole template, said in a statement: “It has come to our notice that on Monday, July 16, 2018, HE Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in furtherance of the contentious consent judgment procured by the Ogboru/Agege APC faction in Delta with his obvious assistance, swore in as State Chairman for Delta State, Prophet Jones Ode Erue, the factional Chairman that emerged from the parallel congresses conducted by the Ogboru/Agege group and earlier rejected by the immediate-past Chief John Oyegun led NWC of APC which indeed conducted the affected congresses.”
Publicity Secretary, Moses Kamanya, who signed the statement, claimed: “The duly elected State, LGAs and Wards Executives of Delta State APC already sworn in by the immediate-past Chief John Oyegun led NWC, had earlier protested the inexplicable action of the new National Chairman in aiding the Ogboru/Agege group to procure the contentious consent judgment in spite of the fact that the immediate-past NWC had earlier disowned the attempt to fraudulently procure it by the APC legal department and the fact that the immediate-past National Chairman, a party to the suit, had personally gone to court to disown it as unauthorized.”
“Beyond the protest, affected executives and members of the party in Delta State have not only gone to court but have also obtained subsisting court orders restraining the new National Chairman and NWC from recognizing any other party Executives in Delta State other than the Chief Cyril Abeye Ogodo led executives. Indeed, the latest of these orders emanating from the Kwale High Court in Suit No. HCK/57/2018; Ghaghara Ochuko Wisdom & Ors Vs Adams Oshiomhole, APC & Ors was duly served on all parties on Friday July 13, 2018.
“Another suit at the Federal High Court Abuja, seeking a Stay of Execution of the consent judgment and giving notice of hearing of a motion to that effect for July 25, 2018 was also duly served on all parties on Wednesday July 11, 2018. Yet on Monday July 16, 2018, in clear defiance of the subsisting court order and processes, HE Adams Oshiomhole still proceeded to purport to swear in Prophet Jones Erue as Chairman, giving him illegal recognition in clear contravention of the said subsisting court order,” he said.
Oshiomhole should be celebrated – Ogboru
Reacting to the new development, the “people’s general” as he is fondly called, Chief Ogboru, told Saturday Vanguard: “Taking the matter into consideration, the national leadership of the party took a proactive position and recognized that the right thing to do is to accept Prophet Jones Erue as the chairman of the party in the state and I think the decision is informed by the facts and the law of the matter and I also think that this is one case in which the NWC and its leadership, led by Comrade Oshiomhole should be applauded for the leverage in putting paid to the matter quickly.”
“I think this should pave the way for a proper functioning of an executive and a harmonious relationship between the people in the different tendencies in the party.
“Going forward, we should all be subordinates to the leadership of the party in the state, there should be no quarrel because this is a new leadership that has been established.
“There can only be one executive at a time, the issue of reconciliation is about good working relationship between persons, as party members, we all relate equally or have the same access to the executive of the party. So if there are personal differences between individuals and the executive, they would be reconciled.
…Let’s move APC forward in Delta
“It is their personal relationship between party members, that is a social responsibility and it has nothing to do with the official functioning of the party but for going further sake, we want to crave the indulgence of everybody, we should all see how we can move the party forward as a united body, but of course, this has put paid the issue of tendency, there shall be no tendency in the party anymore.
“If I told you that I am aware of these billboards and how they came up, I would be lying. I did not sponsor any billboard and I am very shy of such things because I feel the timing of some of these things is crucial and do not send a wrong message to the political audience but at the same time, am not in the position to tie the hands of people who are doing this.
“If am under pressure to run, that might not be the right way to put it but people are anxious to get a statement from me on that but am not about to make such statement.
“We can only say that the national executive resolved the issue of Delta State timorously, we have a brand new APC that is proactive and would engage the public in a very positive manner and for that we are very proud.
“ We want to thank Comrade Oshiomhole and members of the working committee. As you know, the issue in Delta State has been lingering for the past 4years but without much ado, we sorted it out within two weeks hence we applaud Oshiomhole for this,” he said.
They treated us as gatecrashers – Senator Omo-Agege
Responding to our inquiry, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central senatorial district, said:”When members of the Labour Party led by Chief Great Ogboru decided to join the APC in 2015, we did so because we believed that if the opposition must win in Delta state, it must united. We joined but the unity did not materialize. Rather than integrate the new members, what we had was politics of exclusion where new members were treated as gatecrashers.”
“The old leadership of the party did not do enough to bridge the divide among members. There was widespread feeling of an oligarchy of exclusion. This created divisions that would have made it impossible to win in 2019.
“That is now over. With the new executive led by Prophet Jones Erue, we now have a party that welcomes everyone – without exception, a more inclusive party in which both old and new members have a seat on the table. A party that is capable of winning the 2019 gubernatorial election.
“The wounds of a bitter and hard-fought congress are still fresh, but we must recognize that Delta APC is now a party for everyone. This radical inclusivity has positioned the party for glory in the 2019 elections,” he asserted.
He, however, noted: “”It will not be easy but I believe we can build a united Delta APC before the election. All that is required is for the new executive to create a level playing for all those who want to contest in 2019. I am sure this would be the case because if you look at the new executive, you will find that it has a good mix of old and new members.”
“In fact, most of the important positions are occupied by old members of the party. The chairman, deputy chairman, secretary, organizing secretary, legal adviser, just to mention a few are all old members of the party. So it is not a take over as many want to propagate. This makes reconciliation possible within a short period of time,” he added.
Why I accepted to lead
Delta APC – Erue
Prophet Erue who Oshiomhole installed as the new state chairman also spoke to Saturday Vangaurd. He said: “The main reason of my wanting to lead APC, I see it as a divine mandate for us to liberate our people from the shackles that we have been subjected to by inhuman, faceless PDP government, which has defaced governance, complicated the road to prosperity of our people and the well-being of the people.”
“I am of the opinion that the primary objective and aim of every political party is to field people to win election, not for the purpose of taking name with it or using it as a bargaining tool by a group of persons to the detriment of the people of Delta State, irrespective of political leaning,” he said.