Atiku cannot save Okowa says APC
*APC will reconcile aggrieved members
By Jon Egie
The emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as PDP presidential candidate for the 2019 election cannot stop the resolve of the people of Delta state and the APC from defeating the incumbent governor of Delta state, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa at the polls next year.
Publicity Secretary of the APC in Delta state, Mr Imonina Sylvester made the assertion in a telephone interview while reacting to the outcome of the PDP Convention in Port Harcourt, Sunday, October 7.
The Delta state APC spokesman said Atiku’s victory is pyrrhic and has no sustainable and significant impact on the fortunes of the APC in Nigeria and Delta state in particular.
He described Atiku’s victory as commercial when the PDP delegates sold the ticket to the highest bidder and as such, it has no foundation and cannot stand the test of time.
“The fact that Atiku won is not a threat to the APC in Nigeria and Delta state in particular. We in the APC do not believe in money politics. What Atiku did by allegedly doling out 5,000 USD to each delegate was just like an individual going to the market to buy a commodity; it was a trade of the highest bidder and we condemn it.
“APC is masses driven, we do not share money. You will agree that Ogboru and Omo-Agege won their primary elections not because they have money to throw around but because they are loved by the people and are close to the grassroots.
“We concede to the fact that Atiku has a significant number of followers but he is not like Buhari who has always been defeating Atiku because the name of Buhari is like a Movement and therefore, the victory of Atiku will not make the APC lose sleep and especially in Delta state, Atiku cannot stop Deltans from voting out Okowa next year.”
Commenting on the trending gist that the victory of Atiku may elevate Gov Okowa to a national office, possibly as running mate to Atiku, Mr Imonina said it was in the public domain that Okowa was positioning himself as running mate to any of the presidential aspirants but said the APC was not bothered by such ambition.
“Okowa’s interest in being a running mate to Atiku is not an issue to the APC. Maybe, he has seen that his re-election as governor of Delta state is not going to be possible and that is why he is positioning himself for Vice President but he will still fail.”
Speaking further on the outcome of the APC primaries as they affect the governorship, House of Reps and House of Assembly seats, Mr Imonina called the bluff on the threat of Rt Hon Victor Ochei saying that the party will activate its machinery to reconcile with all persons who are aggrieved with the outcome of the primaries.
He described Rt Hon Victor Ochei as a brother, a party man and a Democrat who should understand that in a political contest such as they just had, only one person would win at a time.
“There are bound to be losers but we do not see Ochei as a loser, he is part of us”.
According to him, the process that led to the emergence of Chief Great Ogboru as the guber candidate of the APC for the governorship election in Delta state did not shortchange any of the governorship aspirants including Victor Ochei as claimed, pointing out that the list of delegates for the governorship primary election of Delta state was in the public domain before the exercise held and therefore, Ochei’s allegation that he and other aspirants who did not emerge victorious were shortchanged is an afterthought.
“We are trying to reach out to all aggrieved persons especially as the emergence of Great Ogboru has been approved by the APC National Working Committee.
“Ochei’s position on the outcome of the primary is not wise. He should have borrowed a leaf from the mature and wise reaction of Dr Cairo Ojougboh who accepted the result in good faith and submitted to the decision of the NWC.
“We will get across to anyone who is not happy with the emergence of Great Ogboru as the candidate of the party for the governorship election and in due time, we will use all machinery of the party to reconcile with them. And for Ochei particularly, he knows the consequence of playing anti-party so he will be persuaded to reason with the party.”
On the wave of expulsion and counter expulsion that trailed the party in the week past, by the Prophet Jones Erue led exco and the faction led by Chief Cyril Ogodo, Mr Imonina said “ so long the national leadership of the APC recognizes Prophet Jones Erue as the authentic APC chairman of Delta state, every action taken by the APC under the leadership of Erue is genuine and enforceable and as such, the pronouncement made on Olorogun Emerhor O’tega and his cohorts stays.”
He noted that on the eve of the Delta Central senatorial primary election, Olorogun Emerhor O’tega conducted a parallel primary election in which he declared himself winner against the directive of the NWC and consequently, the party expelled him and his collaborators with a view to prosecuting them for criminal charges.
So, for an update, he said: “Emerhor O‘tega has been expelled by the State Working Committee because he organized a parallel primary. The position of the party is that he remains expelled but this is subject to the ratification of the NWC.” Imonina said.