The recent defection of former Delta State Governor, Dr, Emmanuel Uduaghan from the People’s democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC has been described as “just another high drama of little actual political significance” by the Delta 2019 Political Credibility Group, a political pressure group in Delta State.
In a statement jointly signed by its facilitators, Onome Erhiyovwe, Tombra Godstime, James Onyekachi, Jolomi Atie, Mamuzo Okoro, and Michael Ediakugbe, and made available to newsmen in Warri, yesterday, the group wrote off the development as “inconsequential to the politics of 2019” while describing what it condemned “insinuations that it is somehow detrimental to the second term ambition of Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa” as “utterly insolent and baseless.”
According to the group “in the very first place, we recall that it was not Governor Okowa that was ever Uduaghan’s candidate of choice as his preferred successor at any point during the former’s tenure as Governor. In fact, there is no manner of subterfuge, machination and indeed political abracadabra that Uduaghan did not deploy for the purpose of derailing Okowa’s gubernatorial aspiration.
First he kept encouraging former Delta Speaker, Engr. Victor Ochei to go for the governorship and created the impression that Ochei was his anointed godson and successor-in-waiting. Precisely when Ochei was flying highest and it appeared the coast was all clear for him to emerge as undisputed successor, Uduaghan suddenly turned full circle, orchestrated an astonishing impeachment move against him, forcing him to beat a hasty retreat by hurriedly resigning.
“But this highly shocking move on the part of Uduaghan was not all that he had in store for Deltans in the buildup to the 2015 elections. With Ochei out of the way, Uduaghan kept encouraging at least three well known people, namely, former Commissioners, Tony Nwaka and Dr. Festus Okubor, as well as, his former Director and Permanent Secretary, Tony Obuh to network and strategise to succeed him as Governor, thereby throwing the political climate in the state into utter confusion.
“Not too long after, he seemed to expose the fact that he had been misleading everyone all along when he finally unveiled Tony Obuh as his preferred successor to the chagrin, consternation and spirited opposition of political stakeholders across the state. Against all advise, entreaties and political permutations in Delta, Uduaghan kept championing Obuh as if to force him down the throat of Deltans until a day or two to the gubernatorial primaries in the state only to switch his support at the eleventh hour to David Edevbie much to the utter distaste of Deltans who by that time had become totally fed up with endless political confusion and unending uncertainty in the state.
“Thankfully, Deltans closed ranks across all three senatorial zones, roundly and soundly rejected Uduaghan’s candidates and politics of false starts and u-turns and delivered Senator Okowa as PDP candidate for the polls. It was only when it had become crystal clear that Okowa was the party’s candidate and there was nothing he could do about it that Uduaghan started supporting him in a manner that was still half-hearted till the very end.”
The group went further to assert that “if anyone attributes Governor Okowa becoming Governor of Delta State to Uduaghan such person is either a barefaced, shameless liar or an political ignoramus of the highest order” insisting that Okowa “is Governor today strictly because God was on his side and if God is on someone’s side then not even all the political abracadabra in the entire universe can stop such person’s destiny.”
It said: “We do not believe that Uduaghan has cross-carpeted to APC for peace to reign in Delta South and indeed, we find such claim to be generally suspicious and particularly bogus. If Uduaghan thinks Deltans are a pack of fools that will fall for a cheap story like that, then we are quite happy to inform him that some of us know him right up to his father’s doorstep and face to face, he can never tell us that he is more intelligent than us.
In the first place, if it is because of Senator James Manager he is claiming that he is decamping in order not to have to struggle for PDP’s Delta South Senatorial ticket with him, we consider this to be a completely laughable reason and a rather condemnable attempt to make allusions to banal ethnic and nativist excuses instead of owning up to the real reason he is leaving the party.
If it is to prevent ethnic tension between Ijaws and Itsekiris, then we wonder how such imaginary tension is now somehow going to be avoided simply by leaving the party to avoid primary contest when the more important and consequential secondary contest in the substantive elections is still looming ahead or is it that by that time, both he and Manager would have lost their respective identities as Itsekiri and Ijaw?
“In any case, the last time we checked, neither Uduaghan was the owner of Itsekiri nor Manager the owner of Ijaw and the notion that either tribe is lining up behind either of them is complete humbug. Many Ijaws actual agree that Manager has already spent more than enough time at the Senate and should give way for an Itsekiri to ensure that Isokos, Ijaws and Itsekiris have all tasted the senate seat since the return to democratic rule post 1999.
“As for the Itsekiris, we cannot find any sizable numbers of Itsekiris apart from his usual hangers-on and sycophantic praise singers who are behind Uduaghan as most Itsekiris we have interacted with feel that he has already shown them what can be expected from him as a Governor and they are not at all interested in experiencing what he might have in store for them as a Senator. So this outlandish idea that Ijaws and Itsekiris are about to quarrel simply because of Manager and Uduaghan is just another cock-and-bull story as far as we are concerned.
“In fact, and on the contrary, we affirm that the peace we have enjoyed in Warri, Delta South and other parts of Delta by extension is not in any way being verifiably threatened and indeed, we go so fr as to affirm that, God forbid, but even if at all tension could ever arise in Delta South between Iijaws and Itsekiris, it certainly cannot be because of Uduaghan and Manager.
The truth is that Uduaghan has decamped most likely because he has seen the handwriting on the wall that he is not in a position to defeat either James Manager or indeed, Mike Diden in any free and fair primaries in Delta State and with the PDP committed to genuine and transparent internal democratic processes in the present dispensation unlike what sometimes obtained in the past, Uduaghan, realising that the party’s ticket will not be handed to him on a platter of gold has decided to vote with his feet and basically flee the battlefield!
“As matter of fact, we strongly suspect that for Uduaghan, his fellow Itsekiri man, Mike Diden, is actually probably more of a threat than even James Manager. Diden, has bluntly refused to step down for Uduaghan and insisted on testing his popularity and political fortunes with the people at the ballot box against all speculations that he had been joking with his senatorial aspiration and would eventually step down for Uduaghan.
So, in what we can only gawk at as a spectacular case of how art the mighty fallen, a former Governor has fled the field of battle before Diden who is just a first time member of the Delta State House of Assembly! But, even if we are to believe that he left PDP because of Manager, it is till a very big shame as far as we are concerned for a former Governor to so weakly admit defeat to a senator!
According to the group, “Uduaghan is a political has-been in the real politik of Delta State. Yet, as is well known to all truly politically savvy Deltans, it is not as if Uduaghan was ever actually a force to be reckoned with in the politics of Delta. Uduaghan cannot deny that he is the product of the single-minded insistence of his younger cousin and former Governor, James Ibori, to be succeeded by his brother.
Without Ibori, not even Uduaghan himself can stand before Deltans to claim that he has ever been on his own merit a politician of any note, pedigree, weight, clout or substance in Delta State. Unlike what Uduaghan’s well-known spin doctors and hack writers have been churning out with the insinuation that his exit from the PDP is a blow to the party, we are immovably confident that it is a case of good riddance to a man who, to all intents and purposes, was no longer adding any value to the party and had become an albatross to its fortunes in the state.”
While accusing Uduaghan of not keeping good faith with the PDP, the group claimed that the former governor had been “an APC mole in PDP for quite some time now” going further to describe the medical doctor turned politician as “a fellow all of whose few supporters had already melted away from the reformed, rebranded and rebooted hands of the PDP into the promise-breaking and broom wielding hands of the APC and who had more or less been.”
According to the group, “we have not lost Uduaghan to APC; we have donated Uduaghan to APC and we wish them good luck with such an interesting fellow of a politician! With an Uduaghan now in the same party with the Ogborus, Omo-Ageges, O’tega Emerhors, Victor Ocheis, Cairo Ojougbohs, and other implacable enemies of his through the years, we are happy to standby as spectators in anticipation of the high political drama about to unfold in Delta APC!”
While addressing speculations about an impending defection of another former governor of the state, James Ibori, to the APC, the group particularly carpeted a statement credited to Uduaghan in which the later had described himself as “John The Baptist.”
It said: “Moreover, instead of being unduly worried or perturbed in any way, we were on the contrary, quite amused to hear that Uduaghan has been describing himself as a political John The Baptist, thereby suggesting that he is a forerunner to some other much bigger political fry still on the way. Since as far as we know, it is only our former amiable Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori that his one and only true political godfather, we actually consider it an intolerable insult for Ibori’s name to be surreptitiously dragged once more into a shenanigan of absolutely no political value to him.”
“While we have no reason at this point in time to believe that Ibori will actually follow his cousin into APC, we must make bold to assure him that should the contrary be the case, then we are quite pleased to remain where we are in PDP, where we belong with our Governor, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa and all our other leaders in the state.
“Ibori should realise that the people cannot keep following him and his brother at the same time and that those who still love him are not necessarily fans of Uduaghan by any stretch of the imagination. As far as we are concerned, he has already tried more than enough for his brother. There are very few younger brothers worldwide who can boast that they are the ones who made their elder brothers just as there are not that many elder brothers who end up wining implacable enemies for their younger ones.
“Ibori would do well at this critical moment in the political history of Delta, to remember that it was in the wake of his insistence on Uduaghan that he ended up making lifelong enemies and ended up in tribulation, travail and turmoil which we are quite thankful God has been faithful enough to rescue him from. He has carried his brother along enough and it is now time for both of them as the adults they are to travel their separate political journeys in other for one man’s problems not to affect his brother’s destiny.
“Some of those who still have issues to join with Ibori till today have no personal angst against him and bear him neither direct animosity nor person to person misgiving of any kind but remain implacably opposed to him strictly on account of Uduaghan. On the other hand, even those of us who still hold Ibori in high esteem, have not forgiven Uduaghan for what we directly suffered at his hands coupled with what we feel he brought upon Ibori. With utmost respect, it is time for Ibori to tow his own path and let Uduaghan carry his own cross, travel his own road and earn his own political fortune as a man.”
While reaffirming its commitment to the second term bid of Okowa, the group insisted that the Okowa administration was unperturbed by Uduaghan’s defection.
It said: “As for those of us without any intention of leaving our party, we are reassured that in our Governor, Senator Okowa, we have a Mr. Projects of a chief executive we can field any day and return delivered safe, sound, hale and hearty to Government House.”
According to the group, “being true believers, we are confident that the same God who against all the odds made Okowa our Governor in 2015, will be faithful to complete the good work he has started in him and return him as our Governor in 2019.”