By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
It was fitting for Major General Nick Agbogun at the end of 35 years of military service in defence of the fatherland to seek other avenues to serve his community. The first opportunity was to serve as president-general of the Agbor Community, the umbrella body of the many clans that make up Agbor kingdom in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State. It may have been a challenging task, but it was a rewarding time for the Agbor community as his time in office helped to reenergize the community’s sense of self-worth and purposefulness.
Following that, the sense of duty directed him towards partisan politics and like a soldier trained to fight, he pitched his tent in the opposition camp in Delta State, that is the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Challenged on why he decided to enter the political fray after such a rewarding experience as president-general of the Agbor Community, he said:
“I discovered that politics provides a better platform for more sustainable community development programmes. No matter how rich an individual may be, political participation remains the surest vehicle to attract projects.
“It will be unfair for me to remain in my comfort zone, blaming political actors for their inability to perform up to minimum expectations. We need to make contributions from within. I joined partisan politics for these objectives without necessarily being choosy of a particular political party.”
Why then did he choose the opposition party, that is APC?
“You will agree with me that opposition, if properly articulated, has a role to play in a democracy. A strong opposition is an imperative to a stable and effective democracy for it puts the government in power on its toes; just as it also provides alternate views.
“In Delta State, the APC is the opposition party. Notwithstanding the heavy presence and excellent performance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, I thought that the APC would best facilitate the realisation of my quest. Unfortunately, I was proved wrong.”
Asked how the APC disappointed him, he said:
“As things are today, the APC has turned to be a big disappointment to Nigerians who truly believed in the change mantra offered them by the APC in the build up to the 2015 general elections. There is no argument that in terms of party organisation, discipline and internal democracy, the PDP of today is not only better than the PDP of yesterday but it is by far better than the APC of today. The APC is relishing in impunity. The Delta State Chapter of the APC is a disjointed house of confusion. And this is as the PDP in Delta State, a defending champion, is working hard and consolidating for 2019 general elections.”
His assertion was against the background of the multiple crises in the APC especially in Delta State that has seen scores of party members filing court actions following perceived injustice during the party congresses and the primaries for the selection of candidates for party offices.
However, given insinuations that impunity is still replete in the PDP, he said:
“The PDP has thus far shown capacity to resolve issues. The party has a transparent internal dispute resolution mechanism. This is not the case with the APC, especially in Delta State. The Delta State APC is a disjointed house where many occupants are charlatans. The party has parallel leaders, parallel followers, and parallel executive committees at the ward, local government area and state levels arising from parallel congresses recognised by parallel national chairmen. There are parallel candidates for all the elective positions arising from parallel imposition of candidates. There are parallel court orders, injunctions and judgments alluring to the parallel structures and candidates. Members of the APC are in a state of confusion while the leaders have no idea of what to do.”
Another beef General Agbogun had with the APC was its decision to jettison what he claimed was an arrangement for Delta North to produce the 2019 governorship candidate.
“The leadership of the APC in Delta State has shown enormous disrespect for Delta North. We had at various fora and meetings agreed that in the spirit of equity, fairness and unity, the party would ensure that her gubernatorial candidate will emerge from the Delta North. It is sad that a few inordinate leaders truncated that equitable arrangement. If the emergence of the candidate was transparent, it would have been easier to reconcile aggrieved members.
“The aspirants from the Delta North were locked out from the process. In any case, those the gods want to kill are first made mad. I think the APC in Delta State will soon announce burial plans. It might interest you to know that her dead-end will be before the general elections,” Agbogun said in a tone reflective of a soldier with his sights set on the victory parade after a major battle.
As a former chieftain of the APC, Gen. Agbogun still had friends he related with in the PDP. How did he do it, he was asked?
“My understanding was that despite our divergent political leanings, our intention remains to deliver on the expectations of our people. Sadly, I found out that the APC has no platform to deliver on promises. The leadership has no moral burden in failing to deliver on electoral promises.
“My joining the PDP is a big relief. First, the PDP is the platform that friends and family members have found peace and relevance. Meanwhile, the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa government in Delta State is performing excellently very well in all fronts. To enable me actualise my aim of paying back to my community and the society at large, it is obvious that the PDP provides that platform for me, free of charge.
In any case, I am joining the PDP to add value and contribute in baking more cake and my generalship will add colour.”
On a final note he was asked the purpose of his recent visit to Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Did he go to receive political endorsement from the former president? He replied to the negative, saying that Obasanjo is a member and patron of the Nigerian Chapter of the Alumni Association of the Royal College of Defence Studies(RCDS), one of the many colleges of Oxford University, London.
“At the meeting of the Nigerian alumni of RCDS, at Abeokuta, sometime ago, General Obasanjo, in his usual counselling sessions, encouraged us to be active in the development of our immediate community, even if it is through partisan politics.”