The duo of Mr Mike Okumagba, the Delta State House of Assembly candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC, Warri South Constituency 2, in the 2019 general election and Edafe Onokpite, Youth Leader of the party in Okpe Local Government Area have risen in defence of Olorogun Benard Okumagba as not only a leader “but strong pillar” of the party in Warri South Local Government Area.
The duo were racting to an advertorial by a group known as Coalition of Delta South APC on page 26 of Vanguard newspaper of Wenesday,11,2019, which the group said Olorogun Okumagba is not an APC member and since he is from Urhobo, seen as miniority in Delta South senatorial district, he ought not to have be appointed Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, since the Isoko, Itsekiri and Ijaw are the dominate groups in the senatorial district.
According to Mike Okumagba,”Chief Benard Okumagba has been a leader of APC since three years ago. He was on ground during the last general elections and contributed financially. He played his role as a leader. which led to my victory, which I’m challenging today in the court.
“It is wicked for some people, who claimed they are APC members in Delta South senatorial district not to acknowledge Olorogun Benard Okumagba, who has spent his resources and time to build the party, because he has been appointed managing director of NDDC”
On the argument that Urhobo have Deputy President of the Senate and Minister of State, he said: “This argument should not have come up in the first place. Some times ago, Uduaghan was a governor; Tuoyor was EDP, NDDC. As it stand, Senator James Manager, an Ijaw man, is representing Delta South. Don’t forget that the immediate past representative of Delta State in the board was Dr Ogaga Ifowodo, an Isoko man. Even now. another Isoko man, Jones Erhue, is in again. So, where is the Urhobo of Delta South?
“Urhobo, who are majority in Warri South Local Government Area, have suffered a lot of marginalisation. If Mr President, who has the power to appoint whoever he wants graciously appointed an an Urhobo man who he believes is qualifies in order to balance the equation and to spread dividends of democracy to the long marginalised Urhobo of Delta South senatorial district, what is wrong with that?”
On his part, Onokpite asked those protesting the appointment of Okumagba to first show the world as ethnic groups the results of their votes cast for President Buhari, adding: “If they cannot do that, they should remain silent forever. Urhobo gave President Buhari the 218,000 votes he got from Delta State. I, therefore, challenge them to show me the prove that they voted for Buhari.”
According to the APC Youth Leader, “if those protesting voted and worked for the party, we would have won the governorship election as well. I know the role people like Olorogun Benard Okumagba played. It is good to reward those who worked for the success of the party without sentiment. If we have two of his type in his area I know what the party would have been by now. He assisted the party a lot during the general election. Olorogun Okumagba is a force to be reckoned with in APC.”
He called on the group to show their contributions to the success of the party in their wards and LGAs, adding: “If they cannot do that,then they should shut up forever, because I don’t think they are APC members in the first place. If they are, they should have known that Olorogun Benard Okumagba is a pillar in APC.
Benard Okumagba is indeed one of the leaders of the party who was nominated as one of the three national delegates with Chief Mary Obruche and Mr Tosan Awani who represented Warri South Local Government Area in Abuja at the APC National Convention in Abuja.
Delta APC Backs Okumagba
Meanwhile, APC in the state has described the said publication “as tissue of lies laced with falsehood, and a figment of their imagination.”
In a release by the state’s Publicity Secretary, Mr Ogheneruemu Imonina, the party said: “In fact, nothing is farther from the truth than that hotchpotch of misrepresentations and seed of disunity by power seekers in and outside the party as a result of political manoevring to create more confusion, which they will not be tolerated at this point in time.
“The group is trying to portray leaders and members of the party as disrespectful, irresponsible and political mongers before Mr President and members of the public by some highly placed personalities who are scheming for political ppointments. Such appointments are the sole perogative of Mr President based on the qualities and credibilities of such persons he wishes to appoint.”
The party condemned in strong terms what it described as “the attempt to rubbish the membership and contributions of Chief Bernard Okumagba, a foremost party member of APC, Delta State, from Warri South Local Government Area in Delta South senatorial district of Delta State.
“First and foremost, the assertion that Chief Bernard Okumagba is not a member of APC flies in the air. It is a lie from the pit of hell. From available information, Chief Bernad Okumagba joined APC on January 6, 2017. His registration number in the party membership’s register is 17949553.
“Also, we want to state that Chief Bernard Okumagba was one of the National Delegates that represented Warri South in two previous National Conventions of our great Party, APC. He has being a source of encouragement to APC in his Ward/immediate environment, Local Government Area and APC, Delta State.”