Connect with us


Delta Guber: Omo-Agege, Keyamo, Ogboru Battle For Soul Of APC



The Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has been in the news for the wrong reasons over the last couple of months.

As late as February, 2021, supporters of party leaders were at each other’s throats over preparations to hold the ongoing nationwide APC Membership Registration/ Revalidation exercise.

A huge fight broke out between supporters of the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo- Agege, and those of Great Ogboru, at a stakeholders’ meeting.

During the fracas, Omo-Agege’s loyalists including his Deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Onwuadimu; the caretaker Chairman of the APC in Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state, Ben Onwuka; and nine others escaped with injuries after they were manhandled by suspected thugs.

Other party leaders had to run for their dear lives after a few of them were ferried out of the meeting venue by heavily armed security operatives.

To make the matters worse, the Secretary of Delta State APC Registration/Revalidation Committee, Sanusi Musa, suddenly resigned from the position. The party was therefore left with no option but to temporarily halt the entire exercise.

ALSO READ: DELBAG Commends FG, UK For repatriating Ibori’s Loot, Say 60% Of Funds Be Used For Development In Delta

At the centre of the dispute was the allegation by some party leaders that Omo-Agege and some persons acting on his behalf had hijacked the entire revalidation exercise.

Based on the allegation, an obviously aggrieved party leader, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, wrote a strongly worded petition to the APC National Secretariat, Abuja, warning of dire consequences if the situation was not quickly addressed.

Keyamo, in his petition, cautioned the chairman of the revalidation team sent to the state against pandering to the whims of an unnamed party leader.

This followed a set of allegations that the state APC Caretaker Chairman, Jones Erue, a known acolyte of the Deputy Senate President, had replaced the names of some nominees with those of Omo-Agege’s sympathisers.

In his petition, the junior Labour minister, wrote, “As you are set to distribute your materials to the local government area coordinators, on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, you must bear in mind the need to balance all the delicate interests within the APC in Delta State in such a way that you don’t put the entire materials meant for any LGA in the hands of two coordinators solely nominated by a particular political leader in the state, including myself.

“That will be unfair, unjust and unacceptable and will be a recipe for chaos in the state. My sources tell me that this is exactly what you plan to do. You need to stop. The evolution of the APC in Delta State is unique to the extent that a clear party leader has not emerged under whom everyone has agreed to congregate. At least, no such decision has been taken by stakeholders in Delta State. I can say this confidently because I am a founding member and a leader of the party in the state.

“The fact that the stakeholders have not been able to do this is a testament to the different tendencies that exist within the party in the state.

“Whilst we all respect and defer to positions of authority that some of us have been privileged to assume at the national level, political leadership back home is a different ball game.”

Omo-Agege, Ogboru and Keyamo are believed to be nursing ambition to contest the state governorship on the platform of the APC.

Already, party insiders have predicted that the contest among Omo-Agege, Ogboru and Keyamo, will be the fiercest because of the permutation that the APC governorship ticket would be zoned to the Delta Central Senatorial District where they all hail from.

This feeling is being given currency by the fact that by the time the current governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is from the Ika North-East Local Government Area of the state, concludes his second term by 2023, all the three zones would have had sons who have held the governor office for two consecutive terms.

With this, the cycle is expected to start again with a candidate from the central zone.

Of the three contenders, Ogboru, holds the record for the highest number of times he took a shot at the governorship race.

He ran for the office of governor on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy and the Democratic Peoples Party, at various times, to contest against former Governor James Ibori in 1999 and 2009. He also contested against Ibori’s successor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and current Governor Ifianyi Okowa in 2015 and 2019 respectively. He lost on all occasions. In 2019, he was the APC candidate for the election.

As the 2023 governorship elections draw near, close associates have started spreading the news that he has revived his political machinery and is prepared to wage another political battle.

Unlike in 2019, when he easily knocked off Prof. Pat Utomi to pick the APC ticket, he now has to contend with the interests of Omo-Agege, his former ally, and Keyamo, who many say is equally interested in the race.

Political pundits have traced the origin of the ongoing crisis in the state chapter of the APC to the battle for the control of the party structure ahead of the 2023 governorship election.

Notably, several political stakeholders have said the way the party handles the contest among the three gladiators will determine whether or not the party will make an impact in the state in 2023.

Attempts are still being made by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker/ Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, to broker lasting peace in the state chapter of the party.

A meeting convened at the instance of the Buni committee was attended by all others except Omo-Agege, who it was learnt neither attended nor sent a representative to the Abuja meeting.

One of the founding fathers of the party and its major financier in the state, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, who incidentally was instrumental to Omo-Agege and Ogboru’s defection to the APC, is watching the game from the sidelines.

Like Ogboru, Omo- Agege is also a veteran of political contests. He was elected the Senator representing Delta Central on the platform of the Labour Party in 2015, before defecting to the APC and contesting for the same seat in 2019.

Omo-Agege has in a series of write-ups by his close aides accused Ogboru of sponsoring attacks on party leaders and supporters who don’t agree with him, an allegation Ogboru has consistently denied.

A prominent supporter of the deputy senate president, Mr Robinson Eregare, expressed sadness that party leaders were at loggerheads at a time they were required to close ranks to rebuild the party.

Eregare said, “I left the APC to go to the Labour Party, because of the crisis. As I speak now, I’m back to the APC, and the crisis is still there. The division in the party in the state is still very entrenched because of the three prominent characters in the party; Ogboru, Emerhor, Senator Omo-Agege and now Keyamo.”

He appealed to the other leaders to sheath their swords and support Omo-Agege as he moves to provide leadership for the party ahead of the 2023 election. He noted that the people of the Delta Central Senatorial District were made to suffer amidst plenty, a trend he said Omo-Agege is equipped to stop for the benefit of the citizens and residents of the entire state.

However, one of Ogboru’s supporters, Mr Efe Ukpede, expressed the opinion that it would be unjust to continue to deprive Ogboru of an opportunity to lead the state towards prosperity.

Ukpede said, “Ogboru has been in the race for a very long time, now that the governorship slot is coming to Delta Central, Ogboru stands a better chance being the most acceptable candidate.

“He contested against Ibori, who is from Delta Central; Uduaghan, who is from Delta South; and Okowa who is from Delta North. Now that it is coming back to Delta Central, who are the persons likely to contest in the APC? The most likely contestants for the ticket are: Ogboru, Omo-Agege and Keyamo.

“Among the three persons, Great Ogboru will be the most accepted to the people especially Delta Central and Ugheli North in particular where Omo-Agege comes from.

“In a genuine election, it will be difficult for Omo-Agege who hails from Ugheli to beat Ogboru who hails from Abraka.

“Omo-Agege is just smart politically. At a point, the Urhobo nation was not comfortable with him. It is because of his position as Deputy Senate President that makes it look as if the Urhobos have changed their minds.”

On his part, one of Keyamo’s supporters, Mr Collins Tejiri expressed the opinion that “accurate” political calculations were in Keyamo’s favour.

He said, “Keyamo, who hails from the Uvwie, Local Government Area of the state, is believed to be a clean politician and has a clean slip and his position as a minister will give him a better chance to contest the governorship.

“Let there be a level-playing ground for all the candidates come 2023. What you see happening now is a battle for the control of the party structure.”

Commenting on the issue, a political analyst, Mr Nnamdi Ofonye, said although permutation remained in the speculative realm, the body language of the three gladiators pointed to the fact that they were interested in becoming the standard bearer for the APC in 2023.

He, however, noted that they must be made to be aware of the fact that there must be an APC platform for them to seek to contest on. As such, it behoves each of them to work towards the survival of the party first.

The state APC Caretaker Publicity Secretary, Sylvester Imonina, expressed the confidence that all outstanding issues would soon be resolved.

According to him, the registration exercise has since resumed after the initial hitches.

He said, “What happened initially was just an unnecessary alarm raised by some people. The truth is that, as for those who intend to contest, no one has told the party yet. Whether it is the Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege; the minister, Keyamo; or Chief Ogboru.”

He urged all party leaders and members to concentrate on strengthening the party before anything else.




Trending News