I am Mudiaga Okorefe – a staunch and long suffering APC faithful who believe that APC must win the governorship of Delta state come 2019. I’m today joining issues with Efe Duku who, in the guise of a constructive intellectual discuss and reasoning initiated a phantom debate on an imagined ‘Anioma Agenda’ with distorted reasoning that is best described, at the minimum, as grotesque and outrageous! The views here are mine and I take full responsibility for them as a whole.
In a rather weird but astonishing tactic designed as a sleight of hand against the unwary reader, Efe Duku first went into invention and fabrication of imaginary and non existing facts cum situation, after which, he developed a most righteous anger that justified him to severely berate the situation and all those who have the temerity to ‘create’ this non existing ‘situation’. Now, the whole four pages of a very long episode full of innuendos, name calling, accusations, threats, arrogance, and wholesale lies and deceits can be summarised and reduced to a one page cry of wailer Efe Duku against a purported conspiracy to deprive the purported Messiah of opposition politics in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, the governorship ticket of APC through the combination of zoning and exclusion from the forthcoming Delta State APC governorship primary.
The evident question that begs for an answer from Efe Duku therefrom is; who in APC Delta from the Chairman of the party Prophet Jones Erue to the SWC of the party to the State Caucus of party to other top leaders of the party such as Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, the Honourable Minister of State Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Chief Hyacinth Enuha to Chief Frank Kokori to other leaders and members of the State Caucus has ever on record or at any fora said there is zoning in Delta State or there is going to be zoning in the State? When, where and at what fora did Efe Duku heard, was told or got the information that a decision has been taken by these leaders or any leader at all that the governorship has or will be zoned to Delta North? At what fora did the decision for such zoning taken or communicated to Efe Duku. Who took the decision and at what fora and time, that Chief Great Ogboru or all other aspirants from Delta Central and South are or will be excluded from the primaries of APC. Does the constitution of APC provide for zoning or exclusion of certain aspirants? So where did Efe Duku get his paranoia from? If it has not being said or actioned, is it that Efe Duku has become a mind reader? Hear him; “Essentially, the proponents and supporters of Anioma Agenda believe that on the chief ground of ‘equity’, the Delta State APC should somehow restrict its forthcoming governorship primary contest to aspirants from Delta North origin. While some of them prefer some form of negotiated or conveniently ‘peaceful’ ban on aspirants from Central and South Senatorial districts from the governorship race, some by their utterances, actions and inactions seem to believe that the exclusion should be merciless or high-handed.”
Who are these people Efe Duku is referring to? At what point and time did these persons commit these actions or inactions? Even if it is imaginable that some persons feel or believe the way Efe Duku portrays them, do they have the power or authority to restrict or ban or exclude aspirants from Central and South from APC primary? So what on earth is Efe Duku wailing about? What kind of over riped and warped imagination can in desperation produce this high octane paranoia? The truth is that no leader or institution of APC has said or alluded to it that the upcoming primary of APC will be solely for aspirants from Delta North and that those from Central and South will be excluded nor do any person or institution has any such powers! So why is wailer Efe Duku crying wolf where there is none?
A further truth is that there is no agreement anywhere to be produced by anyone including the PDP party that started and continue to practice the zoning of the governorship position in Delta State every 8 years of two terms from one zone to another. No physical agreement! Yet in reality all voters in Delta State are aware, know and are affected by the physical existence of zoning, and this includes Efe Duku and his principals. Even beyond Delta State and the national level, everyone knows and are aware that zoning, without a hardcopy agreement, do exist in Delta State and that this undocumented agreement of zoning has allowed the Delta Central and South to complete two terms of 8 years each and that Delta North is currently on the first term of a two term entitlement! For APC in Delta State, a party that did not invent this undocumented yet existing agreement, its focus cannot be on holding on to zoning but on winning the governorship of the state by following a path that assures such win. APC Delta, however, cannot on the other hand ignore the reality of zoning without paying a fatal price for it. What Efe Duku is advocating is for Delta APC to play the ostrich and bury her head in the sand of foolishness. How on earth can any party whether APC or PDP in Delta state today that plans to win the governorship pretends there is no zoning in Delta State, haba? Can we be holier than the Pope? In 2014, the newly formed APC at national level faced this same dilemma. Even though zoning at national level was a PDP invention for 16 years prior, the newly born APC adopted the PDP zoning and picked its candidate the then General Muhammadu Buhari from the north. The inventor of the zoning PDP foolishly ignored its own zoning and picked its candidate from the South. What was the result Mr Efe Duku? APC Muhammadu Buhari that complied with the unwritten and undocumented zoning won and he is today the President of Nigeria! Efe Duku, zoning matters!
If anything at all, the chief person who would want and would be scheming to ensure APC ignores the impact of zoning in 2019 in Delta State, would be Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Okowa understands perfectly the ethnic sentiments that currently overdrives the governorship position in Delta State. His prayer every day must be for APC to violate the zoning the same way PDP violated it at national by picking President Jonathan in 2014! A governorship candidate of APC from central leaves the whole of Delta north to Okowa as his exclusive play ground! In addition, it leaves Delta South concerned that it will never be their turn again to produce the governor, not even in 12 years, if they allow central to disrupt the rotation! In their worry, they aggregate to support Okowa in order to safeguard the zoning. In Delta Central, the PDP faithfuls who are already preparing for zoning to rotate to them in 2023 are all energized and would be ready for a do or die battle to split in half Delta Central votes for Okowa! In all a zoning violating pick of a candidate for APC is an electoral bonus for Okowa, and he knows it. The truth too is that Okowa is investing in this election winning endeavour! While Efe Duku is quick to brand those advocating appreciation of the electoral impact of zoning, as a strategy to winning the 2019 governorship, as PDP lackeys, it may well be that either Efe Duku and his co travellers are naive or that indeed, they are deep in the scheme to surrender the Delta electoral field to Okowa. It is clearly in Okowa’s smart play book to raise APC aspirants in Delta Central. Who knows who there are! The real workers for Okowa!
In all, while zoning and its electoral impact is one thing, I do find something to agreed with in Efe Duku’s episode, which is, even with PDP who originated and operates zoning, no one across all zones is ever restricted or excluded. I therefore wonder how on earth will Efe Duku be so tensed up shouting hoarse that his principal, Chief Great Ogboru is being targeted for exclusion! I also wonder how? APC primary, I agree must and should and would be open to all aspirants from all zones to contest on a level playing field allowing the delegates to choose freely. Fortunately, well informed candidates will usually consider all factors that will impact on the electoral win of the party the vexed issue of zoning inclusive. Should delegates who factored zoning into their voting calculation be branded ethnic jingoist, Mr Efe Duku?
And talking of ethnic jingoism; the whole winning permutations of Efe Duku and his principal is based on ethnicity and ethnicity alone. The whole popularity boast and posing of Efe Duku’s principal is wholly based on being born of Urhobo stock in Delta central with a mother from Ndokwa nation and a wife from Ijaw nation! What is more ethnic jingoistic than that? The calculation is that the Urhobos most vote for its son, the Ndokwas must do the same and the Ijaws must vote for their inlaws, yes? The history of Chief Great Ogboru’s electoral contests are all steep in ethnic manoeuvring. His modus operandi is to by crook or hook secure the ethnic endorsement of the urhobo people either through the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, or otherwise. Playing the ethnic card is always his forte, indeed if there is anyone qualified for master of ethnic champion, he is the one! Even as we gear up for 2019, Efe Duku’s principal is already wearing the garb of the champion of urhobo interest! With UPU divided into two factions, courtsey of his 2015 Labor party endorsement, he has already set his sights on galvanising an Urhobo Elders and Leaders Forum for such endorsement as Urhobo governor! What more, those Efe Duku derisively described as errand boys who are clandestinely working for PDP, his principal also condemns to the Urhobo Elders as those who are standing between Urhobo and its governor in 2019! So in Urhobo land, Efe Duku and co chants urhobo must be Governor! And outside Urhobo land he chants Pan Deltan vision! So who truly is the ethnic jingoist? So which one is Chief Great Ogboru, a Pan Deltan or Urhobo Champion, Mr Efe Duku? The truth is Efe Duku’s principal governorship ambition remains his personal ambition. It cannot and should not be equated to Urhobo or APC governorship champion as he pleases! And it is truly dangerous when Chief Ogboru continue to cloak his personal ambition as a fight to liberate Urhobo from the oppression of the other zones. He must stop pitching Delta Central against others just to be governor. Urhobos are good people to themselves and others, they are also wise and calculating. Urhobos are not greedy and or grabbers! Urhobos can stoop to conquer. Urhobos are wise enough to live to fight another day. No one should, for his personal ambition, goad Urhobo into a fatal war where defeat can clearly be predicted. Urhobos has suffered enough and so much price for Chief Ogboru’s evergreen ambition! Delta Central should not be goaded to invite a predictable gang up of the other two zone. This also goes for APC Delta state. The party cannot refused to be smart and wise and throw all calculations over board to embrace a misguided arrogance and unproven popularity of an individual. The party cannot set itself against the tide of popular agitation of the voters of the state and hope to win. The party must not set itself up to lose. At least, not for the sake of one individual!
Efe Duku, no one is afraid of Chief Great Ogboru. If anything, it is Chief Great Ogboru that is afraid; afraid of being in a big party, afraid of participating in primary. Apparently used to being endorsed as governorship candidate in miniature parties, this is his first big outing and play in a big big national party and he is afraid sick. It’s understandable, but he need not be afraid. Efe Duku you need to advice him properly. In place of attempting to dissolve existing party structures in order to install his own or failing which, attempting to acquire the structures to adopt him as sole governorship candidate, let him try coming out to endear himself to the structures and party leaders across the state. He cannot hope to win the primaries by staying put in Delta central. Advise him to reach out to leaders in Delta Central and out also to leaders in the North and South zones. Advise him not to label other zones as non APC areas. Don’t advise him to create factional structures like was attempted through Mrs Mariam Ali but failed in Delta north. The primaries are yet to come and there is still time. Tell him no one but himself can stop him from participating effectively in the primary. Even were there to be zoning, no one can stop him from contesting.
Another thing, it’s pure arrogance taken too far to say as you did Efe Duku, that it is APC that needs Chief Great Ogboru and not Ogboru that needs APC, really? Chief Ogboru had the whole Labor party to himself, yet he dumped it to join APC because APC needs him? Efe Duku please stop deceiving yourself as you are not deceiving any other person! Chief Ogboru indeed needs APC to consumate his evergreen governorship ambition! He is no ones Messiah! If this is why he fails to reach out to others hoping everyone will see him for the Messiah he is, is a fatal strategy! Such strategy easily leads to frustration and indeed desperation! Indeed I’m not surprised why you Efe Duku resorted to lashing out at everyone as PDP agent out to exclude the Messiah! If we all truly share the objective of winning Delta state for APC in 2019, then let’s stop pointing fingers at each other and all the accusations and name calling. Points of view may differ because people are standing at different angles; it only means someone will be wrong and another right at the very end! It is life, it is politics. One love Mr Efe Duku!
Written by Mudiaga Okorefe, a staunch member of APC Delta State