Published On: Sat, Jul 1st, 2023

Conspiracy As Crisis Rocks Delta APC Over Scramble For Federal Slots


LAGOS JULY 1ST (URHOBOTODAY)-The Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is neck-deep in crisis following the outcome of the February 25 and March 18 general elections and the battle for federal appointments by stakeholders in the state.

Weeks after the 2023 general elections, peace has eluded the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Although the party had an impressive outing in the February 25 National Assembly election by winning two senatorial districts as against one it had, it recorded woeful performances in others.

The party won Delta Central and Delta South, as well as got victory in Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal constituencies.

However, in the presidential election, the APC came a distant third with 90,183 behind the Labour Party and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party also failed to displace the PDP in the governorship election in spite of scores of bigwigs and faithful from the ruling party and other opposition parties that allegedly joined its fold.

The candidate of the PDP, Sheriff Oborevwori, was declared winner of the governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with a total of 360,234 votes to defeat the APC candidate, Ovie Omo-Agege, the immediate past Senate deputy president, who scored 240,229 votes.

However, the APC secured 7 seats in the 29-member state House of assembly while the PDP claimed the rest.

No sooner the elections were decided than the party began to enmesh in a bitter crisis that is yet to be resolved.

A former director of projects in the interim board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Cairo Ojougboh, was expelled from the party over an allegation of anti-party activities. Ojuogboh, a former member of the House of Representatives, was shown the exit via a letter signed by Mr Hilary Fada Ibude, the party chairman in Ika South Local Government Area of the state.

Ibude said the expulsion followed a series of petitions arising from anti-party activities, which according to him, were inimical to the success of the party in the state. According to the letter, “On behalf of the All Progressives Congress, Ika South Local Government chapter, I, Hillary Fada Ibude, based on petitions before me and the various recommendations from different levels of the party on anti-party activities orchestrated by Dr Cairo Ojougboh, I hereby officially announce and approve his expulsion from the APC with immediate effect.”

He was alleged to have worked for the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Ken Pela during the gubernatorial election. But in his reaction, the embattled party chieftain fingered Omo-Agege, the party governorship candidate in the state as behind his ordeal.

The action resulted in a series of suspensions and counter-suspensions from various groups claiming leadership of the party in the state. This did not spare the governorship candidate, Omo-Agege, who was expelled from the party by the Ulebor Isaac-led Delta APC Executive Committee in a letter dated March 31, 2023.

In the letter, Isaac said the executive reached the decision after deliberating on “the Notice of Resolution of Expulsion of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege,” which was submitted “by the executive committee of the Orogun ward and Ughelli North Local Government.

The suspension was, however, countered by the Omeni Sobotie-led leadership of the party in the state. Sobotie and the APC state secretary, Peter Akarogbe, in a joint statement, described signatories to the expulsion letter as reckless.

“We, the legitimate and only recognised State Executive Committee of the party, at the national headquarters, in consultations with all other levels in the chain, hereby disclaim the publication as fraudulent, a ruse and of no consequence.

“Therefore, it should be disregarded and ignored as the handiwork of mischief makers by all party faithful and the general public.

“Security agencies should take note of the wanton rascality and the unscrupulous intent to cause disharmony and a breach of public peace.

“We call on the general public, party faithful and stakeholders to discountenance the said publication and view it as the worthless undertaking of men with crooked intentions,” he said.

Omo-Agege and Ojuogbon were not the only chieftains of the party, either suspended or expelled, the immediate past chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and former media aide of former President Mohammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, was also shown the way out at her Onicha-Olona ward 4 in Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state. She was similarly accused of alleged anti-party activities.

Like Omo-Agege, her purported expulsion was, nonetheless, nullified by the local government party’s leadership. The nullification was contained in a statement signed by Sir Matthew Chinye and Pastor David Onwuamaeze, the party’s local government area chairman and secretary respectively, on behalf of a 17-member executive.

The crisis is also affecting the case of the party at the election petition tribunal in Asaba, where it is challenging the outcome of the governorship poll. The expectation of the party’s faithful is that all hands would be on deck to support the candidate and ensure the petition succeeds. Regrettably, the reverse is the case as a group wrote a petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, stating that the former deputy Senate president worked against him and the party during the presidential elections.

The allegations were made in a letter signed by the state APC secretary, Michael Inana; Delta North chairman, Tom Onah; South chairman, Nelson Ogharama and Central chairman, Michael Orunefe. The signatories alleged that the former deputy Senate president was the brain behind the participation of the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele in the APC presidential primary election.

The letter to the president was titled: “Attempts by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to scuttle presidential ambition of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu through recruitment of Mr Emefiele, anti-Tinubu campaign stance and anti-party activities.

The letter noted, “Your Excellency, you will recall that at a point ahead of the party’s national convention in June 2022, members, especially those of us from Ika South Local Government Area, got information that Omo-Agege had plans to issue party membership card to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele and we objected to his plans.

“We told him it was not morally right for Emefiele to contest and that it would affect your chances to secure the presidential ticket.

“All efforts to make Omo-Agege see reasons fell on deaf ears, but he convinced Emefiele and assured him that he would get the party national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, who he planted as a spy to help get Emefiele the ticket.

“Your Excellency, permit us to refer you to a newspaper of May 9, 2022, which confirmed the story that the APC ward chairman eventually gave Emefiele the membership card in February 2021. The name of the ward chairman is Mr Nduka Erikpume and the Ika South APC Local Government chairman is Hilary Fada Ibude.

“These two were the ones who also signed our state leaders’ expulsion letters on the instructions of Omo-Agege.

“Their offence was that they opposed Omo-Agege’s position to recruit Emefiele to contest the presidential election against you.”

The national publicity secretary, Felix Morka, defended the former deputy Senate president, saying the allegation was spurious. He also disclosed that the claim was probably sponsored by the expelled former APC chieftain and a Delta grassroots politician, Dr Ojougboh.

“I assure you, that’s not the real Delta APC. Those guys are Cairo Ojougboh’s sponsored organisation. Over time, we know Cairo has set his ‘bunch of nobodies’ just to perpetrate this sort of rubbish.

Also reacting, Valentine Onojeghuo, the state publicity secretary, APC Delta State, opined that it was obvious that the signatories of the obnoxious petition in question are not members of the state executive committee of the party as claimed in their letter.

Onojeghuo posited that the signatories were known PDP members in the state who were allegedly recruited by Dr Ojougboh for the purpose of executing his nefarious agenda of cheap blackmail.

He alleged that Ojougboh was disparaging the State Executive Committee led by Elder Omeni Sobotie and Omo-Agege in order to curry favour from the president and secure appointments for himself and his followers, who he alleged neither worked for the party nor deserved any appointment.


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