Otunba Princewill Ejogharado is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State. In this interview with OKUNGBOWA AIWERIE, he speaks on the post-primary crisis and how to end the strife and rancour.
The Delta APC is in crisis but the national leadership of the party has set up a reconciliation committee headed by former Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola. What is your reaction?
You see some of the approaches to the resolution of this near intractable problem in the APC are mostly exercises in self-deception. You see it isvery obvious that we don’t seem to be ready with the way we are going and it is very unfortunate. We read it on paper that there were some reconciliation committee and from the composition of the reconciliation committee those guys were not really ready for reconciliation so it’s an exercise in self deception, so there is nothing on ground now that can sincerely show that we are ready to reconcile with each other as it is, it is very very hard on the Fortune of the party APC in Delta State.
Don’t you think that this crisis will impact negatively on your party during the poll?
The truth of the matter is I will say it is rather most unfortunate the way Adams Oshiomhole handled the Delta State issue, Delta State.This was a state that was prepared for a take over, just go to Asaba the state capital and do a covert investigation and talk with people along the streets including civil servants and all of them if they know that you are an APC member they will remonstrate with you angrily asking why we behaving like this? Asking, “Do you want to allow this people to continue for another four years”? You can see the anger in them, you can even see now that the electorates are more bothered than the stakeholders in APC, they want a change, a change that is very very clear and possible but here we are. Sometimes, I take my analysis from the local government elections, when the last Local Government election that took place on the 5th of January there was this divide between Omo Agege/ Ogboru vs Emerhor but it was very evident that APC was ready to take over, the difference was not a problem at the local polls. We are all aware of the flaws the local government electoral law but we came together and we made the sitting government to take note, but at the APC national convention we expected that as a party chairman , Oshiomhole should have done some intelligence gathering about the peculiarities of Delta State, whether you like it or not Delta State is a very peculiar state in Nigeria. I will find it very funny if there is a any government in power at the centre who ignores Delta State and doesn’t pull Delta State along, so with this we were very ready, some of us left the PDP with high hopes and we felt the APC was an alternative for us to achieve our purposes, actually when we came in we were really ready to provide the politics that will help us take over but alas when we got there we saw something different especially the handling of the congress issue. Oshiomhole messed everything up so that even now you can see that the PDP in the state are quietly walking into success because we are more engaged with ourselves in the APC and nobody is even talking about the PDP and the election we are talking about how I will outdo you and how you will outdo me. You can see that we are having factions on the eve of an election. O’tega Emerhor who was the original leader of the party in the state has been shoved aside. Suddenly Ogboru came and I can’t understand what is happening. I wouldn’t say that the O’tega is a perfect person but this man is the man who has been holding the party together you cannot just come and push him away like that but Oshiomhole for God knows why just came and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with Otega, if the truth must be said I have always said that Oshiomhole took personal vendetta into human administration and it is very very wrong that is the problem in Delta state, Oshiomhole brought in personal vendetta to bear on the problem of Delta State if not Oshiomhole knows very well that Cyril Ogodo is the Chairman of the party but for the singular mistake he made, there . We were made to understand that in the countdown to the National Convention , Oshiomhole called a meeting to the Government House in Edo State and Prophet Jones Erue , unilaterally , attended but Cyril challenged Jones for attending Oshiomhole’s campaign meeting, that is what has brought problem to the Delta State APC,but you don’t carry your personal vendetta to party administrstion so it has helped in no small way to reduce the party’s chances at the gubernatorial polls in 2019 to the barest minimum, PDP is coasting to victory quietly with no stress.
You have just said that Oshiomhole brought personal vendetta into the party. Can you really substantiate that because it appears Prophet Jones Erue emerged from a parallel congress conducted by another faction?
You see, let us take it from this angle there was a national chairman Oyegun who conducted all the congresses from the ward to the national level.It was Oyegun that produced Oshiomhole, if the making of Ogodo that Oyegun made is not good, then Oshiomhole is not good too.Oshiomhole will always say that we are all Bendelites, we are all Bendelites so he sees Delta State as his own. The Oyegun that conducted the elections that was transparent. Oyegun and his National Working Committee to send the Electoral panel to all the states which they did ,but along the line I think we were made to understand that there was some compromise somewhere there, it remains the right of Oyegun the national chairman and his Excos to correct the anomalies if there was any and that he did immediately, it is not the right of Oshiomhole to correct that because he was not the Chairman then, he came out with the mindset that he was coming to deal with the O’tega tendencies and that is what he has embarked on not minding the negative impact it will have to bear on the party in the state, that is where we are now.
The national leadership of APC has urged aggrieved party men to withdraw their cases from the court but gubernatorial aspirants Victor Ochie and Prof Pat Utomi have gone ahead. Why?
Like I told you I was a party Chairman and I was a Local Government Chairman and if you critically look at the constitution of the party structure they all have the same function whether as State Chairman, National Chairman and Local Government Chairman and even the ward Chairman our functions are almost duplicated. So you see sometimes you take some decisions that are belated, you can do the right thing in the wrong way, trying to tell those who are already in court to withdraw their cases is doing the right thing in the wrong way and at the wrong time. It’s belated. Everybody knows that Oshiomhole has taken sides how would I know that and still come to him for justice. In Delta State Oshiomhole has clearly taken sides with Omo-Agege/Ogboru. It is very clear the extent of damage that Oshiomhole has caused our party that was already prepared to take over. I was thinking that Oshiomhole was going to look beyond his personal vendetta and look at the party and the fortune of the party but this he hasn’t done,but he has allowed his personal vendetta to becloud his sense of judgement, that is the problem we are having in Delta state. How can Rt Hon.Victor Ochei whom I see as the only candidate that the PDP doesn’t want at all because they know that he is a candidate that will give victory to the APC, be treated with disdain? I am personally thinking that whatever Ochei is going through today is being sponsored by the opposition party because they know his emergence as the candidate of the party will throw them off balance. If Ochei had emerged as the candidate the party I am telling you that there would have been a tsunami in Delta state and lots of high ranking persons in the PDP will have decamped from the PDP. Some times I wonder if our National Chairman is consciously or unconsciously trading off the state from the APC because he is too close to Delta not to know. That is why every reasonable member of APC in Delta State should support Victor Ochei, we know where Utomi belongs to and I like him as a person, he is very intelligent man but politically he cannot give APC victory in Delta state, but Ochei has the name he belongs to them, he knows them, he was the speaker of the state, he was a member of Delta state caucus and not just being a member he has a very influential personality he usually dominates every environment, there is no way Ogboru can win this state for APC so we need a candidate that will win this state, whether you like it or not, we have a unwritten political agreement in Delta state, in 1999 the PDP did their 8 years through James Ibori and Delta South through Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan comprising Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko did their 8 years and now it is the turn of Delta North. The candidacy of Ogboru is unnecessary troubleshooting we the practical politicians solved this problem and we started seeking for somebody who we know and we can use to deal with the PDP and get our victory that is why some of us who knows the potency of Ochei’s candidacy aligned ourselves with Ochei , Ochei is the former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly had a legacy that had not been matched since he left there, go there you can see the tenure of Ochei as the speaker should he be the Governor of this state Asaba will become a different story, Delta State the richest state with one of the poorest and dirtiest state capital.