Delta APC committed to a sincere reconciliation— Izagbo
Asks Members Angling For 2023 To Shelve Dreams, Build Party First
There is so much trouble in APC presently. How do you intend to undertake your assignment to enable you succeed?
First is to face the challenge with honour, courage and commitment to appreciate the confidence reposed in me by the party leadership. I have come into APC as an individual, together with my followers in the state, with no form of alignment whatsoever. In APC, there are tendencies and factions. I have joined APC as a party, and I don’t belong to any of the factions, just like I don’t belong to any of the tendencies.
So, I will do the job, together with my colleagues in the committee, with utmost honour, honesty and integrity. All decisions and suggestions we shall present to the party will be such that can be harnessed and geared towards having a formidable APC.
Do you not see your committee as coming rather late, knowing that politicians have already started preparing for 2023?
There is nothing wrong in having a dream, just like there is nothing wrong in having a wish. There is also nothing wrong in planning for a position. The only thing that is wrong in all of this is to be selfish about it.
When you have a vision to be a leader, you must be able to accommodate others that equally think they have something to offer. But in all of this, your dream of leadership and your vision can only be actualised, if you have a vehicle that is driven with a single purpose and vision.
If you are in a vehicle with an engine that is driving in different directions, you cannot make any progress, as you will be driving in circles. In this kind of situation, whenever you try to move, the enemy pulls you back. It becomes like the proverbial basket of crabs that can never achieve freedom.
My message to everyone that nurses such visions and dreams is that they should put it on hold for now. Let us build this party. This is because it is only when that is done that it is possible to actualise those dreams. However, from my experience in politics, and like the Bible says, ‘The race is not to the fastest, nor to the swiftest, but it is the grace of God that gives you positions.” Leadership evolves. We do not even know whether the person that will eventually occupy Government House in Asaba has shown interest or not.
Even contemporary Nigerian history has shown that it is not those that battle the fiercest that eventually get the coveted laurels. Very few politicians could have undertaken the kind of investment in Pan Nigerian politics as MKO Abiola did. Many voted, even across party lines for him. He came with a Muslim/Muslim ticket and still got the needed votes. But he still didn’t make it.
Another case in point was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was in prison and was brought out to become president; far and above those who for several years toiled day and night for it. There are many such cases.
So, that I say I want to become president doesn’t make me a president. Ambitions are made of good stuff; you dream, plan and work. But people should always accommodate the divine factor, as it is God that decides who leads. If democracy is what we have set out to practise, it matters in numbers and counts in people and following.
So, those angling for position should stay action. When we finish building the party, any of them would be eminently qualified to lead the state with a vehicle in good shape.
But what magic wand are you bringing to bear?
It was the realisation that leakages exist in the party that led to the creation of the peace committee. An Ibusa adage says, ‘if an ailment has a name, it is already half cured.’ But where all efforts to diagnose a sickness failed, then the remedy would become a real problem.
The symbol of the party is the broom. A bunch of brooms cannot be broken, but when they are taken out singly, then it would be easily broken. APC has in its fold strong and eminent Deltans. The party is also strong at the bottom with supporters yearning for a change. It is equally great in the middle with people who are ready to go to heavens to prove a point. The only missing link is cohesion and unity of purpose, and that is my duty in APC. I pray God to give me the grace and support of my committee members to succeed in this task.
With the surprise victory in Bayelsa, Delta is now bordered by two APC States in the South South. How do you see this working in your favour in 2020?
APC in Bayelsa is 90 percent of Ijaw-speaking people, who also constitute an integral part of Delta South and to some extent, the Central senatorial district of the state. APC is in charge in Edo State that shares a common boundary from Koko to Ekpon on the west end. Half of our people in Edo and half our people in Delta share common grounds. What this means is that Delta becomes a low-hanging fruit for APC to harness. It is easier now than ever. This is the time to make a move. If we are united, Delta is there to be picked.
One of the major factors that tore APC apart in the last governorship election was the zoning factor. Is this not rearing its head again, especially now that Ijaws are determined to govern the state?
Political parties are mere vehicles, used to articulate and achieve a given political ambition. Otherwise, the people of Delta are one and same persons. That a man is in APC and another in PDP does not make them enemies. It is just like players in a field looking for ways and means to achieve a given goal. The rotation you talked about was the one articulated by Chief James Ibori-led administration in Delta that worked for the emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, and to Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa that worked for the PDP.
Even at that, there was never a time it was insisted upon that the struggle should be limited to one ethnic group. There will always be differences. Even in a family, when you get your children to agree on a way forward, there will be one that will think differently. But the majority rules. The minority could have their say, while the majority would have their way.
When Okowa emerged from the primary, people from the North and Central contested with him. Also in APC, people from the central and the north senatorial district were in the race with Chief Great Ogboru. So, I am not foreseeing a situation in any of the two dominant parties, where any ethnic nationality will be shut out. I believe that when we get to the bridge, we will cross it. But for now, it is about reconciliation. Peace and harmony is what will drive us through.
Until three months ago, you were a staunch PDP member, but today you are in APC. What caused this change?
God Almighty gives us the good fortune to choose. That is the only thing that differentiates man from other creatures. You are at liberty to choose what works for you. It is the principle of choice that I have exercised. And nobody makes a choice that is not well thought out. I have reviewed my sojourn in PDP, and I have also considered what is playing out in APC. I have looked at what the nation can achieve, and I am convinced that I am better off in APC.
Those who know will remember that I was the convener of ACD that gave birth to ACN in Delta. I was the Director General of Peter Okocha Campaign Organisation. I led the gubernatorial machinery that flew a ticket on the AC platform. The question should be: why did I leave? This is a story for another day. In political party formations and affiliations, you come to a position in a particular place that you go as a collective.
At that point, we were all on the side of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as Peter Okocha is a special friend of Atiku.
But in every relationship, you usually face two things: either you are celebrated where you are or you are tolerated there. I refuse to stay where I am only tolerated. I believe I am celebrated and happy in APC.
Your party lost to the PDP at the Supreme Court. What is your comment on it?
I am a democrat and a firm believer in the rule of law. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter in this matter. My attitude to it is that, ‘he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.’ Defeat or loss in the court is an APC thing. And together, we shall reappraise the situation and take a position for the future. To APC members, I say there is no cause for despair. With the losses at the Tribunal and Appeal Courts, those who are knowledgeable about life’s affairs know that there could be only one of two things— it is either you win or you lose.
I am sure that Great Ogboru would not be biting and gnashing his teeth, as it is a game. He will pick his pieces, reappraise himself and decide on what next to do. This he has to do in conjunction with the party. It was not a solo effort; it was the APC banner that was flown.
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