Delta 2019: Ogboru And Delta North Guber Agenda | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Delta 2019: Ogboru And Delta North Guber Agenda

Posted: Jun 11, 2016 at 3:16 am   /   by   /   comments (0)



‘’Any party Ogboru goes ends when he lives, because he kills the party. But lam saying he cannot kill Labour Party (LP). If you remember we were in Alliance for Democracy (AD), do you hear of AD in Delta State again? We were in Democratic People’s Party (DPP), do you hear of DPP in Delta State again? Ogboru will kill All Progressive Party (APC), in Delta State,’’ Chief Tony Ezeagwu, chairman of LP, Delta State warned.

There is no doubt that many Urhobo people are still struggling to get over the outcome of the December 8, 2014 Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial primaries in Delta State and the subsequent emergence of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the Governor.

If there is any lesson to learn from this, it is the apparent lack of capacity and latitude to work towards a common purpose and goal, the expectation of Urhobo emerging as the Governor from the leading political parties in the state behooves on Delta Central to go back to the trenches to reorganise and strategise for the 2019 general elections.

Since last year when Governor Okowa emerged, the ideological inclination of many among the Urhobos has tilted towards the idea of the Urhobo nation pursuing its aspiration under the platform of alternative political party apart from PDP. They see APC, and the LP, which command huge followership as a destination. In the 2015 Governorship election, Chiefs Great Ogboru and O’tega Emerhor were the gubernatorial candidates of LP and APC respectively but lost to Senator Okowa of PDP.

It is apparently against this backdrop that there has been a sustained clamour among the Urhobos to project a single candidate for the 2019 added with the behavioral pattern of the electorates in the state which shows that they are swayed more by the personality and antecedents of aspirants rather than the political parties they represent.

Ogboru who has been the umbrella of the 2019 Urhobo agenda has again defected from LP to APC. Though the electorates see him as a serial loser, in 2011, the DPP which gave Ogboru the governorship ticket won 12 out f the 25 Local Government Areas. They include a Senatorial and Federal House of Representatives seats as well as 11 Delta State House of Assembly seats that cut across the three senatorial districts.

Another plus for him was that in the past, he has the proclivity of pursuing his aspiration under the platform of political parties that are not popular and apparently without national spread, contact and influence. But this time around Ogboru must have discovered his mistake, informing why he discovered APC as the option party.

Ogboru’s motivation must have been reinforced by the recent comment of Chief Gabriel Ofotokun, interim president general, Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) that the best way to go in 2019 was to pursue an Urhobo Governorship agenda, by ‘’who ever that is going to take over from Governor Okowa must be an Urhobo.”

Crack in the Merger

A week ago, Ogboru, O’tega and Ochei met where they agreed to merge. O’tega after the reconciliation meeting regretted that they do not want to make the same mistake that made them to lose the Governorship in 2015 when there was division among them. He posited that collective ambition this time around would override personal ambition in order to take over power from PDP in the state.

But the merger of LP with APC and departure of Ogboru to APC has not been easy as crisis has continued to trail his resignation from LP, in the state. It would be recalled that Ogboru had written a letter of resignation from the party apparently to prepare ground for the merger talks with APC in the state.

Ogboru, Senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege who won on the platform of LP and Hon Victor Ochei, Accord Party, AP, are at the forefront of the merger talks. The merger talks between the opposition political parties were said to be on-going with Mr. Richard Odibo leading the negotiation committee from LP while Mr. Alfred Oloko is leading the APC committee.

But state chairman of LP, Chief Tony Ezeagwu has dissociated his party from the merger talks, saying that the party has never been in negotiation with any political party for fusion to form a formidable opposition. He lamented that he has been sidelined in the developments over the merger, saying that as the Chairman of the party he could no longer swallow the insults he gets on a daily basis from the so called and self assumed Elders Council of LP and APC.

“I think it is all story as far as I am concerned, I am the state chairman of Labour Party, so if there is any such thing and I am not aware, then  it is not real. Labour Party remains Labor Party in Delta State. The leadership of the party led by me as the state chairman is not part of any merger talks. So LP remains LP, I am the final arbiter of the party in Delta State. Except that Great Ogboru in his usual manner always want to have his ways, decided to gather people and give them money and ask them to pass a Vote of no confidence on me,’’ Ezeagwu posited.

Ezeagwu equally see the moves by Ogboru to create an impression that there is crisis in the party which warrant his crossing to APC. ‘’If they want to create that kind of friction to defect that is not possible. You cannot create any division in the state you can only do that at the national that can make you defect to any political party. So eventually what they are doing is nullity, it does not have any effect’’.

The National leadership of the LP again compounded Ogboru’s woos as it placed a suspension on him and 13 others. He was suspended over alleged anti-party activities, gross misconduct and conspiracy.

National Chairman of Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Salam said, based on the provision of the LP constitution and the national directives, appraised the “anti-party activities, infamous conduct, insolent, rebellion and eventual conspiracy exhibited against the party” by the suspended members.

Reading the letter of suspension dated May 3, 2016 and signed by him, Alhaji Salam while rubbishing the resignation of Ogboru from the party, he claimed that Ogboru resigned to an “unfounded and unknown chairman created by him.”

Salam maintained that Chief Tony Ezeagwu apart from being the authentic chairman of the party in the state recognised by the National Secretariat did not receive any resignation letter from Ogboru but got to know about it on the pages of newspapers. “Consequently, Ogboru with his anti-party activities resigned to an unfounded and unknown chairman created by him, but not the pragmatic, amiable and prestigious LP chairman, Tony Ezeagwu who did not receive any resignation letter from Ogboru but in the pages of the national dailies,” he stated.

But a school of thought sees Ezeagwu acting a script of PDP to scatter opposition parties and members in the state. He is seen as a Delta North politician who would want the incumbent Governor to finish his two terms. Ezeagwu however debunked the insinuation that he is being sponsored.

Okowa’s Second Term Agenda

The school referred to the Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon Monday Igbuya who has warned the new leaders of UPU to resist the temptation of endorsing an Urhobo man for the position of Delta State Governor comes 2019. Igbuya said unequivocally, ‘’we have come thus far, we have endorsed Governor Okowa for 2019, we need your prayers to achieve that agenda’’

Igbuya has said severally that his blanket endorsement of Governor Okowa for the 2019 governorship election was in line with the principles of equity, justice and fairness. Preaching unity and peace in the state, Igbuya said Okowa should be given the opportunity in 2019.

He believes some Urhobos were doing all sorts of trading before the 2015 election. ‘’the UPU became factionalised after collecting millions from Abuja. A faction endorsed APC candidate while another faction endorsed the LP candidate.

He condemned the plot to stop the Governor of Anioma extraction in 2019 and blamed the past executives of UPU for the dismal performance of the Urhobo nation in the 2015 governorship polls.

But why is the Speaker foreclosing 2019 and eyeing 2023? Even if he has described as an act of mischief, media reports that he is planning to run for the governorship position in 2023, he has been calling on Urhobo leaders at home and abroad to close ranks and work in one accord to reposition Delta Central for greater political relevance.

“I did not say I will be Governor in 2023. I don’t have the finance, he urged Deltans at home and abroad to treat the rumour as baseless and false.” Igbuya, however said he owe nobody any explanation for booth licking over his stance that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa must rule till 2023. Maintaining that it is his right and for them it is Okowa 2019 or nothing else.

Corroborating, Bar Kingsley Esiso, PDP Chairman, Delta State in his acceptance ?speech, said the State PDP governorship ticket would remain in the Delta North Senatorial district till 2023, saying that; “I will respect the zoning formula of the party. We don’t need to change a winning team; Governor Okowa is performing”. The prominent Urhobo man stated that zoning formula has been established in the party and in the state, vowing to subscribe to it that Governor Okowa should lead the state for eight years.

Giving strong backing to the speaker and party chairman, prominent Urhobo political leaders under the aegis of Delta Central Good Governance Forum, DCGGF equally described as laughable claims that some Urhobo sons in the PDP are interested in the governorship seat in 2019. They stated that the matter should not even be discussed.

Rising from an emergency meeting in Sapele, the leaders advised critics of the Okowa administration and paid writers to contextualise their statements before rushing to the press. In a statement issued by the Spokesperson of DCGGF, Chief Maxwell Agofure, the leaders said the clamour or rumour of Urhobo interest in the governorship position in 2019 are the handiwork of detractors bent on creating crisis in the state.

Despite the desperation by Ogboru, there are even strong indications that political power may elude the Urhobo people particularly Ogboru as the arrowhead of the agenda. Plans are being perfected to prepare an Ijaw man as a possible Okowa successor. But with the likes of Chiefs Omo Agege, David Edebvie, O’tega Emerhor and host of other ambitious politicians  who have been championing the overall well-being of the Urhobo people and with the full backing from UPU, the 2019 Governorship race will be the onerous task and definitely tough.