Relatives of Okowa loyalist, Askia, dump PDP for APC, as gale of defections hit party in Delta
A gale of defections has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta state, as the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) campaign trail hits critical strongholds of the ruling party in the oil-rich state.
During the week, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s former commissioner for urban renewal, Dr. Karo Ilolo, and two time chairman of Ethiope East LGA, Faith Majemite, dumped the PDP for the APC.
Speaking yesterday, during the APC ward-to-ward campaign at Uzere, the hometown of Okowa strongman, Askia Ogieh, Ilolo said: “The PDP umbrella is torn. We are totally committed to the cause of the APC, and we shall win”
Askia is the Managing Director of Delta Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), which is considered as Governor Okowa’s financial war chest for the prosecution of the 2023 election.
Also at Uzere, Majemite dismissed the PDP as a party of “thieves.” She said that in seven and a half years, the PDP, under Governor Okowa, has received N4.2 trillion, but the state is still undeveloped and poor.
“They are all thieves. If PDP comes here to campaign, ask them, where’s our money? Until they answer your question, don’t listen to them,” she said.
Goodluck Obrogor, the brother of Askia, was the cynosure of all eyes, when he led 177 defectors to denounce the PDP and pledge loyalty to the APC.
In his defection speech, Obrogor said the Uzere people are in the throes of oppression and intimidation and pleaded with Deputy Senate President, and Delta State governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, to help them.
“Obarisi, please see this place as your own home and come and set us free from the shackles of slavery imposed on us by the PDP,” he said, referring to Omo-Agege.
Others who decamped were James Miller, former personal assistant to the majority leader of the Delta State House of Assembly; Olotu Ode, Uzere community youth leader; Fred Uye, Edafe Agbaka, and other members of the Uzere youth movement.
Others included Okpokoro Precious, Azinoh Urieh, Adaka Frank, Ewomazino Ojabekie, Obi Endurance, Endurance Oluku and Ezekiel Urete.
James Igbi, the former Deputy governorship candidate of the ADC, led a cross section of party leaders and elders in Uzere to decamp to the APC.
In Aviara, former members of the PDP led by Ureghe John-Mark, an Aviara ward executive member, tore PDP cards and also decamped to the APC.
Speaking, John-Mark said Aviara people have been used and dumped, and that they are fed up with PDP and have decided to pitch tent with APC.
Reacting to the gale of defections, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said by the sincere decision of former leaders and supporters of PDP to dump the party and embrace APC, Bahorun Askia and Okowa have passed judgement on themselves.
“They should know that the time of politics of intimidation is over. They know me and I know them. I can’t be intimidated.”
He lamented that Uzere, the second place after Oloibiri where oil was discovered in Nigeria still looks decrepit after over N4.3 trillion oil revenues generated from Uzere and other oil producing communities in Delta, accrued to the state.
“Is this Uzere, the oil rich producing community? Did you offend Okowa? How could Askia be so comfortable with making Uzere people Internally Displaced Persons during floods? With the resources from Uzere you are not supposed to have problems with flooding. Instead of Askia to use his office to help his people he choses to intimidate them.
“Uzere does not look like an oil producing Community. By God’s grace, when I become governor I will consult with illustrious indigenes to ask them what the incoming government should do for Uzere.”
At Aviara, he told the people that that Okowa is deceiving himself, but he will not be vice president. Our next president, he said, is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and our Vice President will be Senator Kassim Shettima, both of the APC.
He urged the people of Aviara to come out on election day, stare down PDP and Okowa and vote all APC candidates. He assured supporters of adequate security on election day, and urged them not to fear intimidation by the opposition.
At the palace of the traditional ruler of Aviara, HRH, Efadue Imo, Ebobo 1, the Ovie of Aviara, he assured that he would ensure that Aviara community is fully linked to the national grid. He also promised to consult with the traditional ruler to address other challenges of the community.
The defectors were received by the Delta State APC Chairman, Elder Omeni Sobotie, who described the younger brother of Chief Askia Ogieh as the biblical Jacobian twin that has seen the light and prayed that Uzere never experience bad leadership and darkness again.
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