By Martins Egharevwa
With a strong first term performance, there is no question that Omo-Agege is the only viable choice of the All Progressives Congress ,APC, in Delta Central senatorial race.
And as the only elected official in Delta APC, and a vocal and unapologetic supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Senate, Omo-Agege deserves an automatic ticket.
It appeared the senator would run unopposed in the APC primary for the ticket of Delta Central until Olorogun Otega Emerhor joined the race.
Omo-Agege’s popularity and acceptability within the party are obvious. He has also built a national profile for himself in part because of his relentless support for President Muhammadu Buhari and his fight to bolster the rule of law in the Senate at huge personal cost. He has focused on the issues that matter most to Nigerians, such as sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, electoral reforms, and empowerment among others. That record is quite strong. Yet Emerhor chose to enter the race.
Emerhor’s aspiration isn’t for the progress of Urhobo nation. It isn’t about his love for party, neither is it about winning. We all know that his ego is his motivation for the APC senate ticket. Having lost control of Delta APC at the last congresses to the incumbent senator, Emerhor, the self-acclaimed leader of APC, is behaving like a bad loser, pretending to be the savior of Urhobo Nation from bad representation at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, when in fact he is on ego trip.
After losing in the congress, his followers are in a feisty and confrontational mood, and they want to see their leader show some energy and fight. That is why they allegedly bought him a form to embark on this ridiculous mission that is destined to fail.
Emerhor’ late bid for the senate ticket comes as no surprise. For many months he had tried to recruit a challenger to Omo-Agege, even with promises of funding in some cases to no avail. Everyone he approached turned him down. The former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon.Austin Ogbaburhon, former member of Federal House of Representatives and the 2015 senatorial candidate of APC, Hon. Halims Agoda, and former senatorial candidate, Chief Ede Dafinone were among those who declined to challenge Omo-Agege for the ticket
That these noble men declined to challenge Omo-Agege for the APC ticket is a testament to how futile this Emerhor’s aspiration is. In fact, that Emerhor had such difficulty finding a person willing to challenge Omo-Agege for the APC ticket even with guaranteed funding, shows how ridiculous Emerhor’s bid is.
Emerhor is banking on the the assumption that he would out-spend Omo-Agege and there would be enough anti-party activities against Omo-Agege on account of the mace incident at the Senate in April.
The good news for Omo-Agege is that contrary to the longings of the members of the Cyril Ogodo-led group who are challenging Prophet Jones leadership of Delta APC, there is no groundswell of support among the rank and file of the party for a challenger to the incumbent senator.
The Urhobo people, the largest ethnic group in Delta State and fifth in Nigeria populate Delta Central Senatorial District are pleased with Omo-Agege. Prior to Omo-Agege’s coming to the Senate, Urhobo nation was relegated.
But in less than three years of Omo-Agege at the centre, it is clear that Urhobo is making a comeback to the top of Nigeria politics where it rightly belongs.
Omo-Agege is probably the most effective senator in Urhobo’s history. He has done an enormous amount of work to advance Delta Central’s interest.
Right now he is adored by the base of APC as demonstrated during his consultative visits to the eight local government areas in Delta Central Senatorial District. What was planned as visits to the rxecutive of the party at ward and local government levels turned out to be rallies and carnivals to celebrate a very successful first term and a clamor for his return to the Senate in 2019.
On the other hand, Emerhor’s focus is on dividing the party and frustrating the progress Urhobo nation has made with Omo-Agege at the senate. Not only is he supporting and leading an illegal faction in Delta APC by recogniising the Ogodo led executive, he is sponsoring as much as eight or more frivolous cases against the National Chairman of APC, the National Working Committee, Delta State Chairman, Prophet Jones Erue and the party in a vain attempt to wear Omo- Agege down financially.
If primaries were designed to elect candidates for the party who can win the general election, against Omo-Agege, Emerhor has no chance.
So why would APC risk the only seat they have in Delta State by fielding Emerhor?
Emerhor’s challenge would have no effect whatsoever, except adding the title of failed senatorial aspirant to his unenviable record of failed gubernatorial candidate.
*Egharevwa writes from Warri