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Published On: Sat, Dec 15th, 2018

How Osinbajo Settles Rift Within Delta APC

(l-r) Delta State APC Leader, Olorogun Ortegar Emeror; Former APC Chairman, Chief John Oyegun; Former Delta State Governor, Chief Emmanuel Uduaghan and Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong during the APC Caucus meeting where Former Delta State Governor, Chief Emmanuel Udughan was presented to the leaders of the party at the State House Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

LAGOS DECEMBER 15TH (URHOBOTODAY)-For most All Progressives Party, APC, faithful in Delta State, the recent intervention of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, in the crisis that rocked the party for more than a year was nothing short of a life booster.
Indeed, some party men had almost lost hope and nervy that they would go into the governorship elections, less than three months away, in an incoherent manner, especially as the sharp contentions remained even after the mediation of the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, some few months back.
However, Osinbajo, who came with a masterstroke incubated with President Muhammadu Buhari, pulled the party from threatening catastrophe, and as it stands, APC, outside some common pockets of disagreements, is bubbling with a newfound unity.
A clear indication of the new order was the pronouncement, few days ago, by the leader of one of the two main factions, actually the founder of the party in the state, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, edged out in the scheme of affairs before now, that the two parallel executives were going to unite ahead of the 2019 elections.
Until lately, APC has two splinters- the Jones Erue-led executive devoted to the governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege representing Delta Central senatorial district in the National Assembly and Chief Cyril Ogodo executive, loyal to Olorogun Emerhor.
Emerhor was in-charge of the party until Ogboru and Senator Omo-Agege came in. It created a challenge, which eventually saw Ogboru and Omo-Agege gaining upper hand with Oshiomhole’s emergence as national chairman. Their Erue leadership was recognized.
When the former governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, joined the party, he tried to resolve the impasse, but also found it difficult as leaders of both factions took extreme positions because of their current and future ambitions.
Several efforts of Comrade Oshiomhole to forge peace failed, as the Emerhor faction saw him as the person that gave the rival faction oxygen to operate and that was the status quo until the party went for primaries, which exacerbated the imbroglio.
The factions have been at each other’s throat since then and not even the arbitration of the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, could sway frayed nerves.
Enter Osinbajo with magic wand
Saturday Vanguard learned that the Vice President held about four different long-winded meetings with the parties, separately and collectively with the command of President Buhari to broker peace.
An APC leader in the state disclosed, “He told as that from his experience as a professor of law and pastor, the best way to keep a party together is to discuss the issues and people should be willing to give and take, which is making compromise.”
“He made it clear that some people went to court and it is their right to do so. However, he was quick to add that dragging a party to court and security victory does not really create the needed peace, adding that the best way is engagement.
“Osinbajo also stated as the President and Vice President, Buhari and him have things to offer, while restating that they cannot change candidates, but what the leaders and their members in the state should do is to work towards the victory of the party in the 2019 elections at both national and state levels. For that is the sure way to accommodate the interests of everybody.
“He assured that if the party wins, Delta will surely have positions allocated to it and the Emerhor group, which is seemingly shortchanged at the moment, will get priority treatment in appointments into Boards and Committees.
“Osinbajo directed that the governorship candidate of the party, Chief Great Ogboru should be ready to share the state leadership of the party on 50-50 basis with Emerhor after his election,” the source hinted.
“Stakeholders deemed resolutions at the meeting as consent agreements, but the Vice President urged those with cased in court to withdraw them to pave way for total reconciliation,” he stated.
Uduaghan, Kachikwu new roles Our source said that when he was sure that the parties have agreed, Osinbajo announced Dr. Uduaghan as the Head of the Delta APC Election and Campaign Council, while Dr. Kachikwu is to head the Presidential Campaign Council in the state.
What we discussed with Osinbajo- Emerhor
Speaking on the jaw-jaw with the Vice President, Olorogun Emerhor, who spoke to Saturday Vanguard, said, “I believe that the discussions are going well and a joint position will be released soon from the office of the convener, the Vice President.”
He confirmed that he, chair of his faction (Ogodo), the four aspirants on their side, who bought the governorship forms, namely Prof Pat Utomi, Hon Victor Ochei, Dr Cairo Ojougboh and Chief Osiobe Okotie had an opportunity to meet separately with the Vice President.
He explained that Osinbajo’ s efforts were geared towards uniting the party in Delta as a necessary step towards the common objective of leaders of both sides to deliver President Buhari and APC in Delta State in the 2019 elections.
“The discussions/negotiations centred on the recognition that outside court judgment/order, the issues of candidates have been overtaken by time and/or INEC timetable.
“The attempt, therefore, is to find ways to compensate the side that may lose out on issues of candidates with appointments and share in government to engender some sense of a win- win because there are individuals involved that have particularly individual high stakes.
“For example, Prof Utomi, who is a parallel governorship candidate or Hon Ochei, who has a court case asking for cancellations of the Ogboru primary. It is important that they also key into the direction of the discussions if we will be able to make progress, which is why they too had the audience with the Vice President as critical stakeholders,” he said.
Written agreement on resolutions Another leader of the party hinted, “One of the highpoints of the meeting was that all the candidates who emerged from the Ogodo-led faction would give way for those from the Erue-led faction, but they would be compensated with appointments come 2019 when Buhari is reelected.”
His words, “There would be a written agreement on this after which all cases in the court would be withdrawn.”
I see genuineness in Osinbajo- Ogodo Confirming the claim by the party leader, Chief Ogodo said, “In our last meeting with the Vice President, I see a lot of sincerity on his part to see that issues within the APC in the state are amicably resolved but whether the other side would agree for the matter to be resolved is what we are waiting for.”
“Because even on that very day, they (Erue- led faction) was making insinuations that everything should wait after the elections, but nobody will take that and with the sincerity from the Vice President, we are good to go.”
Commenting on Utomi’s hard stance, he said, “Utomi has a right to ventilate his grievances, he is a man who is the candidate of the party and if you are telling the man to drop his ambition without anything, I think it is left for him to do whatever he wants to do with mandate. Our group gave him the mandate and it is left for him to utilize the mandate to the benefit of all Deltans.”
“The position of the Vice President is that the executive, which is the first issue that brought about the illegal delegates that were used, be shared 50/50 with us who have not gotten anything on this candidate arrangement.
“This means that I as the duly elected chairman even though he did not make that statement, that is our own stand on the matter. I would take the chairmanship, and then any other position can be shared 50/50,” Ogodo said.
Uduaghan plans meeting with Ochei, Utomi, others
A party source said that Dr. Uduaghan saddled with the task of delivering not just Ogboru in the 2019 election, but other candidates, has initiated some further peace moves to cement the commendable efforts of the Vice President.
“There is no trick the PDP is going to apply today to rig the elections that he does not know about. He was with them before, so whatever they want to do; the APC is ready for them. It is only disunity that will rob us of victory in 2019 and he is meeting with Ochei, Utomi and others soon to additionally mollify them,” our source stated.
A leader of the party added, “We know that the former Speaker, Hon Ochei is still in court, you do not expect him to withdraw the case the very next day, there are procedures of doing things in court. He has to follow due process too and we are going to talk to him.”
“We are also going to Prof Utomi, never mind his utterance that Osinbajo’s intervention is a waste time. We are going to harmonize all these; the Vice President has removed the obstacles.
“If you observe, Emerhor is already working on the agreements reached with Osinbajo, he is the leader of the other faction, which Ochei and Utomi belong to. Even one of the governorship aspirants, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, had since keyed in. Uduaghan as a former governor knows what to do, which is why he was given the assignment in the first instance,” he added.
We‘ll reconcile all aggrieved members- Reconciliation Committee
A member of the state APC Reconciliation Committee, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, said peace was the utmost in the party and the committee was not resting on its oars. His words, “If there is no reconciliation and the party did not win because of grievances, it will affect the party and the members, and now that we are trying to rescue Delta state from the misrule of PDP, we need to reconcile.
“We will try our best to make sure the party reconcile with members of the party aggrieved because of the party primaries, in one way or the other because winning the forthcoming election is the main thing.
“Surely, we will try to come up with a very good recommendation that will be accepted by the aggrieved members of the party for unity and harmony, and my appeal to all members of the party they should agree to work together and rescue Delta state from the hand of PDP that has squandered the state resources,” he said.
They cannot rig Ogboru out again On the contention that APC betrayed North senatorial district (Anioma) by picking Ogboru as its governorship candidate, a top leader of the party, asserted, “APC has no problem with Delta North; the party is not against the senatorial district. The thing is that by the party’s calculations, Ogboru is the hammer required to nail PDP to the coffin. He had won previous elections in the state, but they rigged him out. We want to believe that they cannot rig him out this time around.”

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