By Dr Kingsley Emu.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) rally that took place in Warri has more than anything else spelt the end of the road politically for the APC in Delta State and to a very large extent in Nigeria.
Few days to the rally, there were no telltale signs that such an event would hold. There was no fanfare of any kind and party members were indifferent and those close to the Delta State APC governorship candidate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege were not even sure if the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was going to attend. Even Senator Omo-Agege was also not sure. He painfully remembered how a few weeks ago, he and others waited endlessly for Tinubu who never showed up to their embarrassment.
Agege was distraught and he reportedly confided in a handful of close supporters that should he lose the governorship election, he would return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) his real party. He told his listeners that he was glad that his running mate, Hon. Friday Osanebi was also of the PDP stock. Agege then told them the story of how Tinubu allegedly abandoned him in his earlier quest to be governor of Delta State in 2011.
Having made so much noise abusing Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Delta State Governor and making so much hype about his own political prowess, Agege was now confronted with the reality of failure. Close sources said he lobbied other party leaders nationwide to help prevail on Tinubu to attend the Warri rally. His other headache was how to get Deltans to attend the rally. Information reaching him indicated that the people were not keen on attending .He panicked and in desperation it was allegedly agreed that people should be financially induced for them to attend. That explained why Agege and his followers had to dole out money to ensure that people are mobilized form beyond Delta State in order to give an impression of a well attended rally. Buses and huge amounts of money were sent to every ward in Delta State. They sent words, buses and money to neighbouring states in order for them to hold a rally with the false impression of a big event.
Those who observed what happened at the rally would have seen the many disconnects that showed that the APC has reached a political dead end in Delta State. Party leaders were absent. The only party leader from Delta Central prominent at the rally was Agege. The notable leader from Delta South at the rally was Agege. The political heavyweight of the party from Delta North was Agege. Those who spoke; Tinubu, Agege, Oshiomhole, etc, had nothing new to say other than to abuse Governor Okowa and the PDP. Tinubu who has become a slurring human contraption castigated Governor Okowa and abused Warri. He pointed at Lagos as a place that has benefitted from development. Oshiomhole, expired labour leader, infamous for his controversial stint while serving as APC national chairman as well as humiliated noisy ex-governor of Edo State also took a swipe at Governor Okowa and the PDP. He tried to compare Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to Governor Okowa. Agege also spoke and called Governor Okowa a Judas Iscariot. The three men could only resort to abuse and name calling. They couldn’t tell the people gathered at the stadium what they will do for Delta State.
Now back to what the three men said about Governor Okowa and Delta State. Tinubu making reference to Lagos as an example of development is laughable. The humungous amount of money available to Lagos annually would transform the whole of Nigeria if well managed. And Tinubu should tell the world how much of Lagos money he collects monthly as the godfather. Tinubu’s idea of Lagos is restricted to a few places that the government of Nigeria built up many years ago. Lagos is not only about Ikoyi, Victoria Island and other such lush locations. Tinubu’s Lagos is the world’s dirtiest city. Tinubu’s Lagos is the capital of disorder and crime. Tinubu’s Lagos is home to squalor and over 17 million of the city’s 20 million people live in grinding poverty without portable water to drink. Tinubu’s Lagos is a frustrating city without roads befitting its size and revenue accruing to it. So, who is Tinubu deceiving?
Oshiomhole, faded and down, saw the Warri rally as an opportunity to talk, but he did so without thinking as usual. He compared Rivers State with Delta State pointing at infrastructure. Oshiomhole in his thoughtless ignorance didn’t know that Delta State is a multi-ethnic State with the highest number of urban centers in Nigeria. Delta State has about thirty urban centers where government’s development strides are seen. Unlike other states where governors focus on just the State capital, development is evenly spread in Delta State. Every rural community in Delta State is feeling government presence. Delta State has the highest number of state universities in Nigeria. The State has the highest number of functional hospitals in Nigeria. Delta in the last seven years has constructed about 1900 kilometers of roads the highest by any state government in Nigeria. So, what is Oshiomhole talking about?
Agege couldn’t tell the rally what his agenda is. Rather he took to his all – too familiar jaded hobby of abusing Governor Okowa. He called him a Judas Iscariot and asked him to step down from his vice presidential ticket. Should Agege call somebody a Judas? Agege who betrayed the whole of Souther Nigeria by working and voting for the candidacy of Alhaji Lawan, the Senate President at APC’s Presidential Convention? Agege who betrayed his greatest political benefactor, Great Ogboru? Agege who betrayed his old benefactor James Ibori by leaking sensitive documents? Agege who betrayed his Urhobo people in 2007 when they chose to vote for Ogboru? Agege who betrayed his Orogun people by extorting project contractors and chasing them away? Agege who stalled the execution of forty-eight projects in Orogun? Haba, those who live in glass house should not throw stones.
Agege’s heart is guilt laden. When Tinubu called his name and handed him the flag, he was neither happy nor able to laugh. He smiled weakly and tiredly raised his fists like a beaten boxer. Deep down in him he knew the end of the road is near. The crowd at the rally was also not enthusiastic. They didn’t wholeheartedly applaud Tinubu or Agege. Deltans know that the APC is alien and there is no room for it. They have long resolved that it is PDP, Atiku/Okowa and Oborevwori/Onyeme. When Tinubu said that Delta State was not an ATM for migratory politicians, he was unknowing hitting Agege hard because he is the most migratory of Delta State politicians. From PDP to AC to RPN to ACN to PDP to Labour Party to APC, no other Deltan has this unenviable history of political prostitution. This is the end of the road for him politically.
2023: PDP would win in Delta and beyond Atiku/Okowa Presidential ticket stands unassailable and no crude propaganda can stop the wind of victory for the largest party in Africa.
EMU , an academic is Chief Economic Adviser to Governor Okowa.