“You can take a horse to the river, you cannot force it to drink, that is the situation we have in Delta APC. We have done everything to bring everybody together…”
Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Chief Hyacinth Enuha is a foremost leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State. He speaks on the factional crisis rocking the party in the state.
What is the level of harmonisation between the two factions of Delta APC?
Let me be honest with you, when the national chairman called us to Abuja, that is the two tendencies – the Ogboru/Omo-Agege tendency and O’tega/Enuha tendency, we went there, ten from each side and six from the minister being neutral. And after a lot of talk and suggestions, the chairman made a pronouncement that he had sworn-in Prophet Jones as state chairman, and that before he swore-in Jones, he waited for about two weeks during which he was expecting that people from the other tendency will come and meet with him and tell their own side of the story. But they never did, and that he has gone ahead to swear-in Jones and that he will stick with Jones, but that there is no tendency that can win election. His suggestion was that Jones should now integrate and bring everybody together. For the state executive which Jones heads, he can tinker with it and people should be ready to step down to bring in people from the other side.
For the ward and local government executives, there will be harmonisation and that the minister will set up a committee to do the harmonisation. So we came back.
I had expected that as soon as we came back, Jones will swing into action and begin to integrate. But that was not what I saw, instead Jones was going round doing consultation, and I don’t understand what he was consulting on. Instruction has been given for you to carry out an assignment, it is either you carry out the assignment or you go and do jamboree. And he decided to do jamboree. Immediately, I concluded that he was not sincere and I refused to see them because they were not sincere. And I was proved right because after he had done the jamboree, he wrote a report mentioning all the people he visited to consult and gave the impression that they were all happy and that they have all agreed to work together. I was laughing because as far as I am concerned he didn’t say anything. And of course O’tega has come out to refute everything he stated.
As a leader, what effort are you making to reconcile Delta APC?
You can take a horse to the river, you cannot force it to drink, that is the situation we have in Delta APC. We have done everything to bring everybody together, people are ready to come together, and people are ready to make concessions so that we can come together. But the person who should make it work does not want to drink. You can force him to the river but he is not ready to drink. That is why I am looking at alternative which is direct primary.
Can we conclude that political parties have been encouraging vote buying through delegate primary?
When we started this democracy in 1999, the options were there – direct or indirect. Politicians will always go for that which favours them. Of course, naturally they went for indirect because it favours them, and they were enjoying it. It is not that they don’t know the truth but they want to protect self interest. And it continued, and it would have continued but for the intervention of Tinubu and Oshiomhole, we would not be talking about direct primary at all. I think these two people put the interest of the party above their personal interest because let us face it, if we say indirect today these people will be the ones to appoint delegates but they are not saying that, they said let the people decide. These people have been long enough in the system, they have seen it all. They have seen the disadvantage of the delegate system, and they also know the advantage of the direct system. You see, after you have risen to a certain level, you will begin to see the light, and you will begin to do something to leave a legacy. That is the situation I am in now, I am keying passionately into the direct primary because that is the future of democracy in Nigeria. How many years am I going to stay in this world? If we start now by the time my children are ready to join politics it will be real democracy, I would be gone but some people will remember that I was among those who fought for this direct primary.
What do you think former governor Uduaghan will bring into APC now that he has joined the party?
You said it, a former governor, a two term governor in a state. By the time you do two terms that is eight years, do you know the number of people you would have empowered? Do you know the number of people who will benefit from the number of people you have blessed? They will keep blessing others and it will have a multiplier effect. So it is a very big advantage. Why do you think they are jumping up for Akpabio to come into APC? Because he has been a governor two times. Do you know what he has done there? There were lives that they have saved who would just say ‘tell me where to go and I will go.’ As little as I am as a leader of APC in Delta North, I am not running for office either elective or appointive, I spend nothing less than N10 million every month for people with one need or the other. Somebody calls and say ‘he needs N2 million for a job and that if he succeeds, he will not bother you again and that he will assist other people.’ If I am able to give, I give. If you have N10 million, two million goes like that. Before you know it, N10 million will go in two weeks. Somebody that you know is your loyalist has health challenge, and has to carry out surgery and they are saying it will cost N2 million. What will you do? At least you will look for N1 million and give to him and tell him to raise the balance. And you have nine local governments, and not only that, I am leader in the whole of Delta State. People call me from central they call me from South. Somebody wants to wed and want you to be the chairman, and you have made a law that you will not want to be chairman but minimum, you must put N100, 000. Imagine how many people do wedding in Delta in a month. That alone will take up to N2 million every month. The rally we did the other day, the aspirants were supposed to bring money and they are not bringing money. So do you think when I finish talking, I will walk away? How many am I going to count? The people who came here are going to Abuja because the case is coming up, and they want to be sponsored. Initially I resisted but they persisted. I know how much I parted with.
They say politics is a game of interest and you have invested so much in it for a number of years now, what is your interest since you are not taking appointment or standing for election?
Initially when I came into politics, I kept telling them that I was not interested, they didn’t believe me. As a matter of fact, when I started building my house, they went and told Uduaghan that I was going to run for governor, and the house I am building will be the Government House, I am not going to use the one in Asaba. And he believed it. I kept quiet. Eventually, we became friends, and when he find out that I was not running after one, two, three, four, five, six, seven years, everybody said maybe truly he is not running. But my interest is that all my life I have been in business and I have been blessed with money, good children, good wife, good health what else, the only thing I can do is thank God. I am the luckiest person in the world. And you now say God has done all these for you. You look around, many people are not as lucky, and what are you going to do? The Bible said I will bless you, and you will be a blessing unto others. That is exactly what I am trying to do with all these money I spent in millions. I spent over N200 million to install a council chairman because you only change the system when you are inside, you can’t change it from outside. I realised that going into the system is like Carmel passing through the eye of a needle because the people in the system will not allow you, they will push you out. And that is why I tell my friends to come, and join to checkmate them or else no matter the amount of money you have, they will run your life. The riff rafts will control your life because they control power. I believe that the more good people come into the system, we will change the system. This direct primary that Tinubu and Oshiomhole are pushing and I join them, by the time more people join to push, we will overcome the selfish governors who want to maintain status quo. That is why all the good people must come into the system
Has APC in Delta really keyed into the rotational policy?
Even when you say Delta North, it does not mean that you can preclude anybody, everybody is free to run. All we are saying is that we have not said ‘don’t vote for Ogboru. ‘Anybody who wins we will all support.
If we go to the field and we have free and fair primary, and Ogboru wins, we will all back him. I did not support O’tega in 2015 but we later realised that O’tega was ready to go. Omo-Agege who contested against Uduaghan in the re-run, I supported him.
It is a simple thing, we are not quarrelling. When we started we agreed that if rotation is going to happen, we agreed that anybody running from Delta North should agree to do one term to complete the eight years.
The South has just finished, and they know that they just left. The South cannot morally come out and say that they want to do more. That is to tell you that rotation exists. The South is supporting Delta North because they know that after eight years it will go to South. If they don’t wait and central takes it, they will have to wait for like 16 years before it will get to them. I support that the governorship come from Delta North.
All the aspirants from Delta North have given me their word that they will do only one term. I will wait until somebody will say there is no vacancy in Government House, and then Enuha will come out and say there is vacancy. I have put my integrity on the line, nobody can destroy it. I will fight the person till the kingdom come. The elders own the party, they have the moral authority. Don’t fight a man who has nothing to lose, and I have nothing to lose.