DELTA GUBER: APC Soon To Liberate Delta, Rest Of South South – Emerhor
Olorogun O’tega Emerhor is the All Peoples Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Delta State. In this chat with journalists, he explained what went wrong on April 11 and promised to recover the state. OBIRE ONAKEMU reports.
You lost the April gubernatorial election in Delta state, although your party, APC, won at the national level. What is your perspective on the outcome and your plans going forward? WE did not truly lose the guber election in Delta. PDP stole the election.
Elections are only lost if they are conducted according to the rules and a winner emerges. In the election in Delta as was also the case in Rivers and Akwa Ibom, the card readers were discarded; result sheets confiscated and fabricated results announced in connivance with compromised INEC staff.
A smokescreen of violence and intimidation and ballot boxes snatching was unleashed to provide cover for results manipulation. As you may be aware, we have filed our petition at the tribunal to cancel the purported elections. Will you succeed in canceling the election, as it is believed APC is not strong in Delta, coming third behind LP? Again, the PDP always tries to play smart by half.
In allocating the fabricated results, they deliberately and strategically kept APC in third position for the reason that they wanted to send a message to our APC national leaders, in preparation for their eventual defection to APC, that the current APC in Delta is not on ground.
And as I speak they are strenuously working on this scheme. But they failed ab initio when they extended this dubious scheme to Rivers State and others. Can they also claim APC is not on ground in Rivers? In any case, in Delta, look carefully at the presidential results where they allotted 50,000 votes only to APC/Buhari and 1.2m to PDP/Jonathan.
Prior to this election, the projections were such that, Buhari would win Itsekiri/Isoko votes 80 per cent, Urhobo/Anioma votes 40 per cent.
Only the Ijaw areas were projected to give less than 20 per cent. So what happened that Buhari didn’t get even 10per cent from these areas? So you believe APC can win a rerun election? After Buhari won, Delta was set and ready for APC. Delta did not want to remain in opposition.
Even stalwarts of PDP were with us on this and are still are. PDP knew they would not win a proper free and fair election and that was why they did not allow an election on the field but resort to snatching it in the air. Under a Buhari government, a rerun, I believe, will be free and fair and in an environment of neutrality by INEC and the security forces.
If Deltans are truly for once allowed a free hand to choose between the 16 years of PDP misrule and APC wind of positive change, they will definitely choose APC.
What is the position of Great Ogboru and Labour Party in all these; it is believed he is already strongly in touch with your APC leaders? You are aware we had an ugly and rancorous election struggle with Ogboru/Labour. Ogboru invested all his political capital in President Jonathan’s re-election bid, which failed.
He partnered with PDP to try to kill APC in Delta State and was rewarded with a second place position by PDP in the April 11 election.
There exists a bitter and antagonistic divide between APC and Labour faithful in the state. Be that as it may, we must not forget that both parties come mainly from the same stock of opposition that has always before now wanted PDP ousted from the state.
So, Ogboru should be free, if it is now his desire, to join forces with Emerhor: APC will soon liberate Delta and the rest of South South. Does this mean you are ready to work with Ogboru? There is strength in unity of numbers and purpose! But this has to go through a process! For example, after the elections, the first place I ran into Ogboru was at the house of one of my leaders in Abuja.
As I did not know his mission; I didn’t make it my business. Eventually, the said leader Invited both of us to a meeting, which turned out to be a meeting to get both of us to co-operate to cancel the guber election at the tribunal. But I get the impression from Ogboru that he continues to rate himself as the most popular candidate and appears to suggest to our leadership that he/Labour be admitted to supplant the current APC, which some assume not on ground.
In Delta, such approach aimed at going over our heads and discounting us, I can say definitely will be unhelpful. Apart from the fallacy of it, we in APC Delta not only invested in building a strong party, but also took the risk of going against the PDP and a sitting president who is a Niger Delta son.
Ogboru ran from this risk and pitched his tent with Jonathan. He cannot therefore be coming after the failure of Jonathan, with a mindset. So what are your leaders telling him? Like I said, as a common objective, there is sense in cooperating to cancel the rigged election.
The question then is after that, what next? We, as a party, have an objective to regroup, cancel the election and bring Delta into the APC fold.
Any defector that will further this objective is welcomed. Our national leaders share in this objective and would not encourage any group whether Ogboru or PDP to come to supplant the APC in Delta. In fact, they are quite supportive of liberating and bringing into the APC fold, the rest of the South South. Inside the Delta APC, there appears so much rancor after the elections.
Recently, there was a spate of expulsions of certain leaders and counter publications in the print media. So what is going on? There have being and still are some issues as you rightly observed.
But I can tell you this is not anything unusual. Most times, when a party goes into an election in which members invested so much, including hope and do not come out victorious, there is bound to be some recriminations. In fact, I believe in spite of what is going on, the party is in a good position.
See what is going on in the national PDP after the loss by Jonathan, the party is almost falling apart with calls for the sack of the chairman and the NWC. In Delta APC, I believe things would have been different if I had won the guber election. My being the rallying point of the party in the state would have automatically been above challenge. So, because the election was stolen, it is not unexpected that these issues will rear their heads. We are, however, lucky that APC won at the centre, producing the President-Elect.
I believe that it is even this win that has moderated the potential crisis although it has also produced it’s own challenges. We understand that these crises relate more to the struggle for offices to come from the national government.
What is your take on this? This possibility does exist. See, even in the run up to my election, not everyone was on board with me, whether through theirs or fault.
My winning would have helped but not winning meant that some people will naturally go ahead of me to the national in attempt to secure their own interests, which they perceive may not be protected by me as leader of the party in the state.
Is that why such leaders were expelled? I would say that as it relates to leaders that were expelled, it is important to see clearly the two issues that have been raised thereto. One, whether the state chapter has the powers to expel and whether offences were committed to warrant such actions? From my own reading of the issues, it is the party constitution that can answer the issue of who has the power to expel.
Furthermore, the party has a legal adviser as one of it’s executives, which will make me assume that this issue must have received his attention. On the offenses, I believe these were clearly stated, such that I do not believe there were any ambiguities. Offenses do have consequences in order to maintain discipline in the party, but there is also due process to follow in securing discipline.
However, I do know that rapprochement is currently ongoing to douse some of these conflicts. We must unite for the task ahead! It is believed that your ministerial ambition, after your guber loss, is at the heart of the crisis. You have a contrary view? I believe the APC national leadership is putting a special dispensation in place in other to bring the three South South states of Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom into the APC fold.
This is why the three candidates in these states where the outrageous daylight election robbery took place are being encouraged and supported to go and cancel these elections at the tribunal.
Now, it is my belief that apart from competence and other qualifications, the other yardstick that may be applied to these South South states would be how the potential minister can use this position to foster the party’s objective of winning these states to the APC fold.
Don’t forget that the PDP also held on to these states for strategic reasons with a plan to use these resource rich states as a launch pad for their 2019 renaissance. Under these circumstances, not to talk of my sacrifices and contributions in building the APC in Delta State, starting from my senatorial bye-election in 2013 to my Governorship candidacy and elections in 2015, I wonder what disqualifies me from a ministerial appointment, such that it will create a crisis as you alluded.
A few ambitious people who may seek to reap without sowing will always be there, but I do not think I am the source of any crisis.
Is that a confirmation of your interest in the ministerial slot for Delta state? I am confirming my interest to be of continuing service to my party and people of Delta State. Ministerial appointment is the prerogative of the President-elect through the instrumentality of the party.
How do you think the zoning of key positions in the APC will play out? Of course, zoning is designed to ensure a fair and balanced spread of key political offices across the nation, reflecting our federal character. The APC being a party championing change will ensure this is done quite well.
Nonetheless, a few hiccups are visible. As you must now know, because of the massive rigging that took place in the South South and South East by the PDP with the active tolerance of people from these zones, these zones are consequently short of APC NASS members.
This is already reflecting on the zoning of offices. By and large, however, the leadership of APC will in no time resolve on this crucial issue. What should the nation expect from a Buhari government? In the short time since March 28 when he was declared President -elect, Gen. Buhari has been an open book. Is what you see that you get.
He plans to run an open, transparent administration that will stamp out corruption, eliminate insecurity, improve the economy and create a new Nigeria.
You can already glean a lot from his speeches to date, the inauguration and transition committee memberships he has made and actions like going out of his way to provide strategic support to a President Goodluck Jonathan Agriculture Minister nominee for the ADB Managing Director job.
Buhari will work flat out and selflessly to make Nigeria succeed. What is your charge to Deltans and Nigerians following the recent elections? To Deltans, I just want to say persevere a while, your day of liberation from PDP misrule is numbered. To the larger nation, I say congratulations. You chose right by embracing APC and change. APC and Buhari will not fail you.