* No quarrel, my only interest is on candidates who can win elections –Omo-Agege
While the drums of the 2019 general elections sound louder, ardent supporters of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for Governorship and Delta Central Senatorial District respectively, in Delta State, are allegedly caught in a web of uncertainty as to whether the existing political romance between their principals is still as cordial as it was perceived before the APC primaries in Delta State.
Despite the fact that both Chief Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege have at separate times dismissed the echoing whisper amongst their supporters of an existing silent discord between them, strong revelations from close allies of the two APC grassroots gladiators appear weighty enough to affirm the people’s doubt and fear.
It will be recalled that a story anchored by Emma Amaize, regional editor, South South, of the Vanguard newspaper, a month ago, expressed that Great Ogboru and Ovie Omo-Agege denied the allegations flying about their existing political romance.
Ogboru was quoted to have said that there is no misunderstanding whatsoever between him and Omo-Agege.
His quoted words are: “There was no issue, there was never an issue and there is no issue at all. People are just raising emphasis on some issues which they believe or think will divide us, but we are strong and invincible.
According to the same report, Senator Omo-Agege was also quoted to have debunked the same allegations that Great Ogboru had dismissed. Omo-Agege said, “There is no truth in the allegations that Ogboru and I are having issues. I do not have any quarrel or difference with Ogboru who is our candidate.
It is true that we had primaries and of course, as you would imagine, there are different interests by several candidates. Some lost out and some won, and it is only natural within a political family for those who lost out to be unhappy.
But no, I did not seek to impose anybody, I have no interest in imposing anybody. My only interest is to have candidates who can win elections and those who went through a process and they emerged. The job we have at hand is to assuage those who could not make it”.
However, some feelers are of the consideration that the reactions elicited by Ogboru and Omo-Agege are only typical of circumspectious political brothers who will never want to wash their dirty linen outside no matter how incisive their grievances might be. Those who share this reason have given facts that are tangible proving that the romance between Chief Ogboru and Senator Omo-Agege prior to the APC primaries has dwindled since after the exercise was concluded.
A close source to Ogboru who pleaded anonymity told Urhobo Vanguard that “if Ogboru denies that he has not been uncomfortable recently with the conduct of Omo-Agege before and after the primary elections, then he is only displaying some kind of political maturity.
Ogboru had invested so much confidence in Omo-Agege since the beginning of the run-up to the 2019 elections, but I must tell you now without mincing words that confidence has been whittled down by what Ogboru has perceived as an outrageous behaviour on the part of the Senator over the primaries”, the source revealed.
Going by the revelation from the source quoted, it seems that there is something that Great Ogboru and Ovie Omo-Agege are not telling their people, perhaps because they don’t want anything that will create unhealthy biases and sentiments in the minds of their supporters in the party.
But it is only unfortunate that what both of them might be trying to avoid from their supporters is already rearing its ugly head as many APC faithfuls have been expressing their distaste and anxiety with the trend of events between Ogboru and Omo-Agege recently while the 2019 elections are barely three months away.
Speaking to our reporter, an APC faithful from Agbarho in Ughelli North, Mr. John Okotie, said “I am most disappointed that anything could come between Ogboru and Omo-Agege at this time.
How could they be fighting a cold war now over who to pick a ticket or not when there is a big fight is ahead?
We thought they should have had a blueprint for this whole thing long before now. Some of us expected that in kindred spirit both of them would have been able to come into harmony on their preferred candidates before now if truly they ever nursed such interests in their minds.
I think both of them hid their preferences from each other for too long, hence the clash of interests. Now, many of us supporters of these two big candidates are confused and uncertain”, Okotie grieved.
Okotie’s opinion raises some salient questions which corroborate what we gathered from our earlier sources. Should it be that Great Ogboru and Omo-Agege both had their separate aspirants in mind for the tickets to both the House of Assembly and House of Representatives?
Is it that those Great Ogboru wanted to pick the tickets to various offices were at variance with those Omo-Agege had in mind? Is there any special interest or disinterest between the two over who emerges at the end of the day? These questions have been giving some logical answers by some of our reliable sources.
According to one of our earlier sources, Ogboru has always had a strong penchant for those contestants who have followed him unwaveringly from the AD through DPP to the Labour Party and ultimately, the APC.
The source revealed that such loyalists are considered by Great Ogboru as political kinsmen whose loyalty has never been in doubt. The source averred that anybody outside this circle is more or less a stranger to Ogboru’s heart.
This view could be relevant if one retrospectively consider the alleged betrayal exhibited by most of his political adherents in the Democratic People’s Party, DPP, who purportedly polled to victory on the crested wave of Ogboru’s popularity in the 2011 general elections.
It was gathered, that Ogboru, so hopeful of his victory in the 2019 governorship election, is very wary of making another mistake of raising dubious elements around his government whose loyalty will be in doubt as experience has taught him.
The source alleged that though Ogboru wanted primaries for all of his preferred aspirants, it was his greatest desire to help pull them through the primary elections.
Apparently, if the opinion above is anything to go by, then the clash of interest between Ogboru and Omo-Agege was inevitable as close allies of the Senator have also confirmed that he too has his loyalists whom he had courted overtime since he came into the Labour Party in 2014 and eventually the APC in 2017, and was also determined to scheme them in as candidates.
To buttress this view, facts have been adduced by some of Ogboru’s henchmen revealing that Omo-Agege was really much concerned about the candidacy of some men who are very dear to his heart. A source told Urhobo Vanguard last weekend that there were some local government areas, especially in the Delta Central, that Omo-Agege personally had interest to produce his loyalists at the Delta State House of Assembly and the House of Representatives.
It was revealed that Ogboru did not have any suspicion on this initially until very close to the primaries when some of his sidekicks jerked him to reality over the Senator’s alleged gimmicks. From that standpoint, Ogboru was said to have expressed dismay and suspicion on the Senators moves.
The Senator was alleged to have been accused of trying to impose candidates on some of the constituencies where he has his preferred loyalists which are at variance with Ogboru’s own preferred choices.
Following the foregoing, Great Ogboru, according to a source very close to him, was not comfortable with the prevailing circumstance and allegedly moved against it vehemently for reasons best known to him. Speculations are rife that most of the preferred choices of the Senator were the main targets of Ogboru’s dissension.
This allegation may have some bearing to the bitterness expressed recently by one of the House of Assembly aspirants from Delta Central who claimed that his relationship with Ovie Omo-Agege became his albatross as his clear chances to win the primaries was thwarted by the ill-advised suspicion from Ogboru.
According to him, his relationship with Omo-Agege has nothing to do with his ambition as they are two different affairs. Incidentally, some aspirants from other constituencies who are allegedly close to the Senator and lost out in the primaries also sympathise with this opinion.
However, reliable sources close to Omo-Agege have asserted that the Senator has no sinister intention in expressing his preference for any aspirant of his choice, and that if he ever preferred one aspirant to the other, it was strictly on the basis of who is most popular and capable to defeat APC opponents in the field.
This view seems to corroborate the Senator’s claim in the Vanguard when he said that “my only interest is to have candidates who can win elections”. This point by Omo-Agege might not be out of place as some APC faithfuls have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the emergence of some candidates who do not suit their taste in the final outcome of the primaries. Their major complain borders on the impression that such candidates have no political value to fight and defeat the PDP candidates in their respective constituencies.
It is however confirmed to Urhobo Vanguard that stalwarts of the party both at the state and federal levels have waded into the matter to harmonise whatever interests there are and allay whatever fear that is being entertained between Omo-Agege and Ogboru for fear that the PDPs might take advantage of the crack on the wall of their political relationship to mar the APC chances especially for the governorship race come 2019.
Supporters of the two principals who were already exuding some bitter feelings are also said to be reconciling their differences in order to pose a formidable force for the task ahead, our source revealed.
The conviction on this is the reality of the fact that both Chief Ogboru and Senator Omo-Agege have canvassed and advocated each other’s candidacy in the public as they had always done before the primaries and have never voiced it out that they have any issue politically until now.
Meanwhile, a prominent APC leader in Delta Central tried to allay the fear of the Ogboru, Omo-Agege followers when he told Urhobo Vanguard recently that both Ogboru and Omo-Agege need each other to win their respective elections.
“Both of them are strong grassroots politicians of immense electoral value and they must depend on each other’s strength to win their contests.
It will be very detrimental to the party for them to nurse grudges against each other when they have a big task that is already close.
They understand that their followers have always seen them as one, so when they are divided at this stage they are only dividing those who will vote them in at the polls, and that is very dangerous. And that is why I doubt if these two leaders are holding anything against each other.
But if there is any that existed on the inside of their hearts, their sense of responsibility and political party must have helped to wipe it off in the interest of the party, their teeming followers and the huge task ahead”, the leader cleared.