OSHIOMHOLE: “COWARDS DIE MANY TIMES BEFORE THEIR DEATH, THE VALIANT NEVER TASTE OF DEATH BUT ONCE. OF ALL WONDERS I YET HAVE HEARD, IT SEEMS MOST STRANGE TO ME THAT MEN SHOULD FEAR, KNOWING THAT DEATH, A NECESSARY END, WILL COME WHEN IT WILL COME” — WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
Shakespeare is indeed despising the phenomenon of true death here, saying that of what essence should man fear to die when death’s inevitability is irreversible.
In the context of this reaction, I refer to death as expounded by Shakespeare to mean ‘electoral failure’. Why should the PDPs fear to fail in Delta State come 2019 if it must fail? Isn’t every battle subject to either success or failure?
One begins to wonder, how a mere political statement made out of the usual vaunted claims by politicians can become a terrible nightmare that is now haunting the ‘almighty’ PDP Delta State.
And Comr. Adams Oshiomhole said: “I have said it before that I have interest in Delta State because Edo and Delta are one. And we must ensure that Delta joins Edo State in APC through democratic means”.
These words came out of the mouth of Oshiomhole during the meeting to put to rest the internal imbroglio in the APC between the Emerhor/Ogodo faction and the Ogboru-Omo Agege/Erue faction in Abuja on August 23, 2018.
After advancing and adopting the terms of settlement which bordered mainly on harmonisation of what should be the ultimate structure of the APC Delta State, Oshiomhole ended his speech with the statement quoted above to reassure the party of his personal affection for Delta State and why it must join the retinue of the APC family.
On the surface, such statement should pass on as a mere political statement that any partisan politician in the globe could make.
The PDP Delta is known to have swum in the ocean of such political braggadocio both in the past and currently. Ordinarily, every political party in Nigeria labours to conquer at least 80 percent, if not all, of the states that make the federal republic of Nigeria. Thus, if a politician or a party says it is interested in winning a particular state over to its fold, what is the brouhaha about that?
However, it is becoming evident by the day that PDP Delta State does not accept that statement by the APC Chairman as an ordinary vaunted political statement. In fact, they have read the statement between the lines. The big question then is, why should they take Oshiomhole so seriously on this? May be there is more to it that meet the eyes!
I only smiled when I read on the Vanguard of August 20, 2019, an advertorial published by a groupwho identified themselves as Anioma Media Professional, AMP, from Asaba, Delta State. The group which claimed to be non-partisan non-political in the introduction of the advertorial took me aback when in the middle of their diatribe I began to see the slant of their message.
The group turned out to be protecting the political interest of PDP in Delta State, and by extension, some other states in the South South, by casting aspersions on Adams Oshiomhole’s show of bravado inventing the APC determination to wrest power from the former. And they wrote: “We want to state without prejudice, that it is not our place to hold brief for the ruling parties and government in the three listed states, namely: Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers States, all in the Niger Delta region.
We are however peeved by the haughty and arrogant disposition and statements of Mr. Oshiomhole in respect of the governance, democratic contests and sovereignty of voters in the three states”.
It is no longer a debate that since Oshiomhole mounted the number one position of the APC, he has become more vociferous than ever, even more than when he was the leader of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, years back. But there are indeed cogent reasons why Oshiomhole has suddenly worn the toga of an impetuous party leader.
Beneath the brash exterior of the APC chairman is the sterling quirk of a democrat who strongly believes that the best thing that will ever happen to Nigeria is when every PDP government in the country is toppled at the polls and replaced by the progressives which parades the agenda of ‘total change’ for the nation.
Oshiomhole is known to have displayed his passion and solidarity for the wellbeing of Nigerians through his stern doggedness in fighting against obnoxious policies of the PDP regimes while he was a labour leader. His goodwill for Nigerians at the time were too true to be doubted.
He was applauded all through his tenure in office during those years of controversies with the PDP governments. His modus operandi which was very strange and striking was powered by the grimness of his hardihood in ensuring that the scale of justice is always in the balance. The Nigerian governments, both in the past and present, can attestate to the fact that in matters that concern the wellbeing of the nation, Oshiomhole has never been an easy-going man.
He is a man who is always firm in purpose and not amenable to ideas that are anti-people. And as one who was so impervious to obnoxious policies of government during his days in Labour, Oshiomhole became so endeared to many Nigerians both highly and lowly placed. It is on this crested wave that the Etsako born leader has ridden to the apogee of his career in Nigerian politics.
Oshiomhole is one of those few who have painstakingly studied the gimmicks and strategies of the PDP’s desperation to stay longer in power and has understood all of the machinations they have always employed to get cheap ‘victory’ at the polls. One aspect of his findings was that if PDP government in any of the states where it still thrives is not exterminated, the vicious cycle of democratic decadence that has bedevilled Nigeria’s development since 1999 would continue to hold sway.
Known for his characteristic brashness in executing his leadership tasks, findings of Oshiomhole’s research tacitly began to convince the high and mighty of his party that he could be the pathfinder that would show the right direction to follow.
This conviction did not only permeate the hearts of many APC stalwarts across the country but also greatly impinged on the decision of the Presidency to influence the chairmanship candidacy of Oshiomhole unopposed at the May 23 APC Convention in Abuja. And as one who does not know how to conceal his intentions and determination for anything, Oshiomhole has never taken it cool in roaring out how prepared the APC is to wrest power from the PDP in states where it has maintained stronghold since 1999.
The focus of this agenda is heavily on the oil producing states of the South South, which have been reputed to be the treasure trove of corrupt politicians from that region.
Oshiomhole had guided the APC with all dexterity and wit to test his mapped out strategies against the PDP on the recent Ekiti State election and it paid off. Governor Ayodele Fayose, the crowing peacock of Ekiti State politics, was stripped of his gloated feathers when PDP fell to APC on June 16, 2018.
If Oshiomhole had not been taken seriously before, the Ekiti State election automatically marked a watershed in that direction. Since then, every statement from the APC Chairman about the resolution of the party to oust the PDP out of power has not been taken with a pinch of salt or accepted as a mere vaunted political statement but as a threat to the PDP hegemony in such states. One state in the South South where there is a palpable fear and anxiety amongst the PDPs over Oshiomhole’s political statements is Delta State.
Recently, this fear came to a crescendo when Oshiomhole voiced out his concerns saying that he has personal “interest in Delta State because Edo and Delta States are one”.
The concluding line of the statement which says, “And we MUST ensure that Delta joins Edo State in APC through democratic means”, sounds not only as a confounding paradox but also as cannonballs which have created an atmosphere of anxiety and trepidation in the PDP family of Delta State. The emphasis here is on the use of the word MUST.
The paradox in the statement is being evaluated by the PDP Delta State to mean that even if the 2019 elections in Delta State will go “through a democratic means”, as Oshiomhole put it, why the use of the word, MUST, which portends an incontestable victory for the APC?
To the PDP Delta, it is only a grim desperation for power in an undemocratic way that could induce the APC Chairman to say that “We MUST ensure that Delta joins Edo State in APC”. These same words were also used by Oshiomhole during the run-up to the Ekiti State election and what played out for the PDP was awry.
To affirm the above postulation, reference can be made to the advertorial by the Anioma Media Professionals who wrote:
“As Deltans and as Anioma Media Professionals, we have every reason to voice out our concern over these fascistic tendencies being displayed by Mr. Oshiomhole who, as Governor of Edo State, employed and deployed all manner of political brutality, intimidation of voters, and sundry acts of malfeasance, to ensure ‘victory’ of his successor.
The same template of intimidation was successfully used in the recent Ekiti State election. We say NO to such template in Delta State”.
However, we may look at the whole matter, it is very obvious that the AMP, an acclaimed nonpartisan group in Delta State, is standing in for the PDP and emiting the pall of apprehension which has wrapped Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent Governor of Delta State, and his men in power.
A chieftain of the PDP opened up recently under anonymity, that the PDP is very convinced that it won the elections in Edo and Ekiti States but everything was manipulated through the use of ‘Federal Might’ in favour of the APC. Going by that assumption, it is pertinent for one to begin to understand the perception of the PDP in Delta State and why it is so bothered about mere political statements by sponsoring publications and speeches to conquer its fears, instead of concentrating on preparation to slug it out with the opposition at the polls come 2019.
It is a pervasive rumour that Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was one of the lead sponsors of the Edo State gubernatorial election for the PDP in 2017. And according to some popular opinions, if not for the tactical postponement of the election, the monetary investment of the likes of Okowa would have dealt a big blow to the APC.
Oshiomhole, it was said, followed up the escapade of Okowa in the Edo State election, and since then, has been contriving means on how to help dethrone him as the Governor in Delta State come 2019.
Could this position explain why the AMP again quoted Oshiomhole as having said thus: “We are going to confront an incumbent who is desperate to return but we will mobilise Delta people to stop Ifeanyi Okowa”.
Okowa on his part has maintained a strong taciturnity on the ranting from the APC national Chairman for reasons best known to him. If the allegations about his financial role in Edo and Ekiti States governorship elections are anything to go by, then he has not only suffered two great losses at the expense of his political calculations, but might also have unwittingly attracted fiercer electoral battle to his 2nd term chances come 2019.
If not so, why the flay over some common political statements by APC members as reflected in sponsored publications and speeches from various groups in the PDP Delta.
The PDP that many of us know has never been so ruffled over political statements, no matter how incisive they might be, that seem to threaten its seats of power. And in Delta State, where it looks like power is the birthright of the PDP, one could not but wonder why the pervading anxiety.
Meanwhile, some political pundits have postulated that the jitters in the Delta State PDP is not only in the fear of Federal Might which is recently being harped on as the most powerful tool the APC uses to win election, but also in the quality of leaders around the new APC structure in Delta State.
Those who share this opinion strongly believe that the former leadership of the APC and the structure that was in place from 2014 till when it was recently restructured, was not only too weak but also too malleable to resist external influences. That the PDP would not have been losing any sleep by now if the cataclysmic change in the APC structure recently did not occur. Methinks there is some value in this line of reasoning.
Recently, at his country home at Orogun, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, while addressing the mammoth crowd of APC faithfuls who came to welcome him after three months of not coming home since his controversial suspension at the Senate House, remarked that APC Delta will not tolerate any plot to “use the party’s tickets for business”.
What the Senator means here is that the old APC leadership was poised to exploit the party’s old structure for monetary gains in 2019 rather than in the best interest of the party. This could be the reason why a strong machinery was put in place from the central to the state levels of the party to ensure that the APC structure was removed from the control of some of those dubious elements who were perceived to have designed the original Delta APC structure as a machandise enterprise awaiting the electoral business in 2019.
Going by the ripples that have recently torn through the Delta APC since the Congresses and National Convention, putting the APC structure in a perfect perspective wasn’t easy but was worth the travails. Sterling revelations have emerged of how the former APC leadership and structure had already been infiltrated by elements from the PDP who were planted to weaken the strength of the APC in Delta State towards the 2019 elections.
This situation may have caused the real progressives in the party to be very wary of a sabotage in the offing and in response, raised a tactical force spearheaded by Senator Omo-Agege which became so determined to overhaul the leadership and structure of the Delta APC from the ward level to the state level.
In another sense, this same school of thought also strongly believes that the greatest tension in the PDP Delta State is the ultimate contrivance to give the governorship ticket to Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, a man they (the PDP) have dreaded since 2003 till this moment for the ferocious battles he has staged with them even while in parties with little or no national stronghold.
Although he has been terribly vilified and betrayed by political detractors, Great Ogboru remains a great bugbear to the PDP camp in Delta State. This opinion holds that it is the calculation of Adams Oshiomhole and Ovie Omo-Agege to ensure that APC presents a saleable candidate with lofty visions for Delta State.
Chief Great Ogboru was adjudged to be the most suitable and eligible person with such intimidating credential owing to the bogus outcome of the series of elections he has contended for in the past.
The above fact count for the reason why during the heated crisis in the Delta APC, Dr. Kachikwu Ibe, current leader of the party in Delta State, averred that having a good structure is not the ultimate. That of what potency is the party’s structure if the persons to run are not popular amongst the electorate?
Kachikwu stresses that every good party structure must be matched with a popular candidate that will ensure victory for the party. Kachikwu, a member of the APC national caucus, could be speaking the minds of Oshiomhole and Omo-Agege on why Great Ogboru should get the ticket for the 2019 governorship race.
Whether we agree or not, all indicators point to the fact that the restructuring that took place just now in the Delta APC is to ensure that Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, a man with a stunning followership since 2003, emerges to deliver Delta State for the APC. If some people in the APC cannot read the handwriting on the wall, the PDPs have read it for long, and since then, like Shakespeare’s cowards in Julius Caesar, have died many times before their death.
But methinks that if they know by now that nothing can be avoided whose end is purposed by the mighty hands of fate, while so fretful, knowing that ‘death’, a necessary end, will come when it will come.
And if at this stage mere political statements from Oshiomhole can fan the PDP so cold, how frosted have they become now that Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, a two terms ex-Governor of Delta State under the PDP, has defected to the APC with his retinue of followers? I see a political future hanging thick with gloom for the PDP Delta State, for in 2019, The People’s General is a step on which they (PDP) must fall down, or else overleap.
By Solomon Avwioroko