By Julius Oweh
According to political scholars, politics is nothing but the authoritative allocation of resources to people and so the struggle of political power is fierce and laced with intrigues, strategic thinking and planning and in some cases outright betrayal.
As the nation inches towards 2019 elections, there are going to be a lot of political realignment of forces and Delta State cannot be a league of its own. Three main events are likely to influence the position of PDP as the ruling and dominant party in the state.
These are the governor of the state as chairman of PDP national convention committee, the defection of the former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to the PDP and the nomination of two dead people from Delta State by the federal government into the board of government agencies. These events are critical factors that will shape the political terrain, whether the APC which is still in the fringe of Delta State can wrestle power from the PDP.
That Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was appointed the chairman of the recently concluded PDP national convention committee is a vote of confidence not only on the governor but the whole of PDP in the state. Delta state is critical to the PDP, especially in the South/South. Since 1999, the PDP has been in control of power and the more than eighteen years in power can be wished away.
It will be an uphill task for the APC or any other party for that matter to defeat the PDP in next year election. The reality on the ground is that PDP is in every ward and local government area in the state and the members are working round the clock to get victory in the next year election. Some people may not like the sentiment, the reality in Delta State is that APC is more of a media created party and the leadership is not on the ground.
Furthermore, to compound the woes of the APC in Delta State, two dead people from Delta North senatorial district and Delta South senatorial districts were recently appointed by the federal government into the government board.
The message is clear and simple, the federal government and indeed the national executive of the APC do not know what is happening in the state. How can the federal government made such a blunder in the appointment of two dead APC members into government boards?
It is now clear to everybody that the Delta State APC is not working closely with the national APC or that the national body of the party is treating the APC in Delta State as a political postscript. Definitely the PDP in the state shall capitalize on this political error and could affect the performances of APC in 2019 polls.
Another reason in favour of PDP in the state is the defection of Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president to the PDP. Atiku Abubakar is very popular in Delta state and has a considerable followership that could turn the political scales in favour of the party.
The APC supporters of Atiku Abubakar shall follow the footsteps of their mentor and it would not be a funny matter for a political party that is mortally wounded from the intrigues of the various leaders trying to build a fiefdom for themselves without thinking of the interest of the party. It would be an uphill task for the APC to dethrone the PDP in the next year polls.
The APC, the truth must be told is not on ground in Delta State. The party secretariat in Asaba is always empty and the few office hands there are very intolerant of journalists’ inquires about the activities of the party. Most of the time the party activities are either co-ordinated in Warri or Ughelli and this should not be so.
The same is for the various local council secretariat of the party. There are cases where the party has no local council secretariat.
The problem of APC is compounded by the calibre of people claiming to be leaders. It is like a basket of crabs where every crab wants to be at the top.
There are too many leaders and most of the time the chairman of the party is sidelined and this is not good for the growth and grassroots spread of the party. Olorogun O‘tega Emerhor remains a dominant figure of the party and the major financier.
It is not clear whether Emerhor has given up his governorship ambition. There is also Chief Great Ogboru, a serial governorship contender who is still eyeing the party ticket for next year polls. If these two men continue to push their ambitions, the party may be torn apart and it will be for the benefit of the ruling party, the PDP.
Even more problematic for the party is the issue of those angling for the party governorship ticket from Delta North senatorial district. This reporter‘s check revealed that Prof Patrick Utomi, Honourable Victor Ochei and Dr Cairo Ojougboh want to fly the flag of the party in next year polls. In fairness to Utomi, he is an academician of world repute but he is not a politician.
There was a time he nursed the ambition of becoming the president of the nation and it failed woefully. Utomi is from Ibusa in Delta North senatorial district but he is not known in the state. He is always holed in Lagos and comes around few months to elections. This is certainly not the best way to practise grassroots politics.
Honourable Victor Ochei, a former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly is a politician of considerable clout and following. He contested the last national assembly polls on the platform of Accord Party. He is also a former member of PDP. Today he is in APC and it is doubtful if the party will make him the flag bearer. Should the party primaries be held today, it will be a great job for someone to predict whether he could win the primaries.
Facing Ochei‘s ambition is Dr Cairo Ojougboh, a tough politician and a grassroots man from the same federal constituency as the governor of the state. He played a prominent role in the recent crisis of PDP and people are not surprise of his defection to the APC. Ojougboh may say that his numerous followers also moved to the APC but this reporter‘s investigation revealed that PDP is still popular in Ika land and the people are ready to vote for the party and the son of the soil who is the governor of the state.
Dethroning the PDP in the state is going to be a very tough job if not impossible because of the factors enumerated above. Furthermore, the Ibori factor cannot be dismissed by any political observer. Chief James Ibori, the former governor is hugely popular because during his eight years in power, he empowered a lot of people in the three senatorial districts and these people are ready to swim or sink with him in the PDP.
The fortunes of the PDP and Governor Okowa were recently boosted with the endorsement of Okowa for second term by Ibori. Ibori also further dismissed the rumours of his defection to the APC. Another former governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan is still in the party and ready to work for its success.
Coupled with nearly three years of Okowa on the saddle, the APC has battle royale to upstage the PDP. These are the political realities on the ground and not the political conjectures concocted in the media by spin doctors and political propagandists.