Written by Ambrose IMOBHIO

Delta 2019: PDP, APC battle of the titans

As the race to 2019 elections gathers momentum, the two dominant political parties in Delta State, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, are currently a beehive of activities as aspirants have been thronging the various state party secretariats to tidy up loopholes or lobby officials.






The interesting thing is that the state parades an array of political gladiators in large numbers, setting the stage for the herculean task ahead.

Though the PDP has governed the state for 19 uninterrupted years, this contest appears a testy one for Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, incumbent governor and possibly candidate of the PDP as the APC has grown in stature over the years.

For the APC, 2019 is a year which they intend to prove that there have come of age and demonstrate to the PDP that it has grown in terms of popularity, grassroots control and acceptance by the electorate.

But the PDP believes that the state remains in its firm control with the number of elective offices: governorship, highest number of senatorial seats, reps and assembly seats in Delta state.

This time around, the APC with its change mantra is of the opinion that it is fully prepared to match power for power, energy for energy and popularity for popularity.

No wonder the number of aspirants jostling for various positions under the platform of APC is on the rise on a daily basis. So far about 120 House of Assembly aspirants from the twenty five local government councils have collected their expression of interest/nomination forms.

Just as the political parties are trying to confine themselves to the timetable by INEC for political activities, preparation to 2019 elections, PDP and APC have been playing host to so many aspirants who want to vie for one position or the other.

Deltans in their normal intellectual expositions are watching the political gladiators and see the outcome.

At present, one can rightly say that the stage for the battle politically in 2019 is primarily between PDP and APC, though other political parties exist, the strength and weight of the PDP and APC are intimidating.

At the PDP secretariat in Asaba, Senator James Manager, told journalists that he is running again for the senate to represent Delta South, saying that the insinuations by some persons that the position should be zoned to another ethnic tribe is completely off the mark.

He said, “we need to sit down properly and discuss these things, instead of insinuation here, and there, in any case, I want to once again contest and impact my experience to bring more development to Delta South Senatorial District.”

Also, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, a strong contender for the state governorship under the APC told his supporters that he is the right person for the 2019 governorship.

He stated that if he picks the party’s ticket, Deltans will reap more benefit of democracy and urged his party members to support him.

For instance, the two political bigwigs who have been battling for control and supremacy in the All Progressives Congress in the state are set to once again test each other’s might in the forthcoming primaries.

Chief Otega Emerhor from Evwreni, and his opponent, current senator representing Delta Central at the National Assembly, Ovie Omo-Agege from Orogun, both from Ughelli North Local Government Area, are set to contest for the senate primaries, a contest many see, will really determine who is in charge of the party in the state.

Chief Ogboru and Senator Omo-Agege-supported the current state APC chairman, Prophet Jones Erhue, while Chief Otega Emehor was on the side of Dr. Cyril Abeye Ogodo, where two congresses were held to elect the state exco.

At first, former APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, swore in Dr. Abeye’s executive, and when Oshiomhole emerged national chairman, he reversed it and swore in Prophet Jones Erhue-led executive with a charge on them to go and reconcile.

At Evwreni, the country home of Chief Emerehor, his supporters urged him to contest for Senate in 2019 to represent Delta Central. While commending them for their clamour, he assured them that he will consult with his family and associates and return to them.

According to him, the present senator is known only for rascality, no diplomacy leading to poor representation of Delta Central, a claim Mr. Efe Duku, special assistant to Senator Omo-Agege rubbished. Duku said his boss has performed very well, therefore, he will be returned to the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly by the people.

With the intense bickering in the APC amongst the major stakeholders, the boast of Oshiomhole to wrestle the state from the PDP some observers have said, is an exercise in daydreaming.

According to those who spoke, concerted efforts need to be made to unite all aggrieved persons under the party’s fold if it is to make inroads in 2019 in Delta.

Another contentious issue that is equally threatening the strength of the party is the mode of primaries whether direct or indirect primaries for electing party delegates and candidates.

At a stakeholders’ meeting in Asaba, Professor Pat Utomi, a governorship aspirant, said he is in support of direct primaries, but the APC executive have settled for indirect primaries. At the meeting, Utomi staged a walkout, saying that the Prophet Erhue-led has a hidden Agenda, an allegation that was dismissed as mischievous and untrue.

As the APC bicker, the PDP for now seems to be enjoying the best of oneness, peace and harmony, though there might be some pocket of issues but not too significant. Pundits are of the opinion that if APC must rival PDP for victory, unity is very essential.

Fearing of what this portends, aspirants after aspirants have turned their arsenal on the PDP accusing it of underperformance. One of such persons is Hon. Jonatus Ogbobiri, who is vying for the Burutu 1 constituency in the state assembly. According to him, the PDP representatives from the constituency have performed below zero, lamenting the poor state of infrastructure in Burutu 1 and promised that if he wins he will enhance the living condition of the people.

From Uvwie, Hon. Herbert Majemite running for Assembly seat regretted that for long the Uvwie constituency has been robbed of effective representation saying that if he had been allowed in the past to represent the people, by now the constituency would have been better than what it is today.

While both sides continue to throw barbs at each other, the electorate holds the key in determining which of the parties will hold centre stage 






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