By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South and Festus Ahon, Asaba
ALL Progressives Congress, APC, gubernatorial aspirant in last weekend’s Governorship Primaries in Delta State, Rt. Hon Victor Ochei has said that he would not work with the declared winner, Chief Great Ogboru, because no election was held in Asaba and the party undermined the justifiable feelings of the people of Delta North Senatorial District (Anioma ethnic nationality).
Minister for Niger Delta Development, Pastor Usein Uguru (r) exchanging greetings with a delegate from Kogi State, Mr. Frank Nneke while the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Prof. Steve Ocheni (2l) and another delegate looked on at the 2018 All Progressives Congress National Convention at the Eagle Square, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida
Another governorship aspirant, Prof Pat Utomi, who corroborated Ochei’s that there was no election, said he would send a formal petition to the national leadership of the party to do the right thing, but if it opts to uphold the illegality, “I will quietly resign my membership of the party.”
He dissociated himself from the parallel primaries by the Olorogun O’tega Emerhor/Cyril Ogodo faction of the party, which proclaimed him the party’s governorship standard-bearer for the 2019 general elections, saying: “I was not in the place; I did not even know there was such until Monday morning when I was told the outcome.”
However, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, also a governorship aspirant from Delta North, who equally faulted the process and declared it as a travesty told Vanguard that the party was supreme and he would abide by its decision on Ogboru’s candidacy.
Ochei told Vanguard on the phone that I would certainly not work with Ogboru, adding: “everybody saw it, I will not, because an election was not held. If an election was held and after the election, a winner emerges from the process, it is fine, but you do not coerce people to work for you.”
He asserted: “This is an intra-party election; therefore, everybody ought to be carried along. I have my right as a party member and if you trample on that right, how do you expect me to come and work for you tomorrow.”
On his likely defection from the party, he said: “I remain a member of the party, and I hope that the party will address the issue. You do not undermine the feelings of an ethnic nationality, not in a state like Delta, I am sure the party will pay dearly for it.”
Prof Utomi, who raised the alarm about the primaries beforehand, said that he had up till press time yesterday not set his eyes on the delegates’ list despite repeated requests from the party.
“Returning Officer, Major Gen Lawrence Onoja ( retd) spoke about peace, that and that, after which I raised a question that I have been asking for delegates’ list for some time and demanded that we should be given the list right away. Onoja looked to his left and right and said, we are a family, why not we go the field and act like a family. As we speak, I have not set my eyes on the delegates’ list.”
On his response, he said:
“I will petition the appropriate organ of the party, if I go through due process and they fail to do the right thing, if they decide that this is okay by them, then I will quietly resign my membership of the party, become non partisan, but never give up on the fight against obnoxious coup plotters, who plotted against the military, against civilians and against the constitution of the country. This cannot be the legacy we will leave for our children.”
On his part, Dr. Ojougboh told Vanguard: “We thank the leadership of the party at the national and state levels and my supporters, but I want to state categorically that I did not participate in any of the primaries, both O’tega faction and APC primary by General Onoja (retd) and Jones.”
“Nonetheless, the party is supreme, and we believe in party supremacy, I, therefore, urge my supporters to accept the wish of the party, and I accept it. Moving forward, we will work for the party. In spite of the underlying circumstances towards and during the primaries, we accept the result,” he stated.