Details about how Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for Delta state and the deputy president of the Senate, reportedly lost the March 18 governorship election due to internal disputes in his party have come to light.
BIGPEN NIGERIA (www.bigpenngr.com) understands that Omo-Agege was dealing with internal strife by his party’s key figures whom he entrusted with campaign funds, according to a report in Sahara Reporters.
Godsdey Orubebe, the former minister of Niger Delta affairs and director general of his campaign council, and his chief of staff, Otive Igbuzor, among others, were said to be at the epicenter of the heist that characterized the distribution of funds made available for the governorship campaign.
Omo-Agege’s dismal performance in the governorship election was caused, in part, by Orubebe, who is being accused allegedly of embezzling campaign funds, according to numerous sources cited by the online website.
According to multiple sources, Omeni Sobotie, the party’s state chairman, threatened to resign at one point over a power struggle involving campaign funds. Omo-Agege, however, reportedly intervened to prevent Omeni Sobotie from sending the wrong message to their main rival, the PDP.
According to the source, when Omo-Agege and Orubebe fell out, Omo-Agege had to take over the money distribution personally to handle some issues with the governorship race.
The news website cited a source as saying, “I will reveal the roles of Otive Igbuzor and Bosin Ebikeme in the entire game. It is a fact that Orubebe made Omo-Agege lose the governorship election. The accumulating evidence showed that Orubebe’s purported mismanagement of campaign funds and lack of administrative aptitude isolated not only the party but also the party’s governorship candidate.
“Because of this, there was no coordination between the party, the campaign council, and the governorship candidate. The APC faced a situation where the party, council, and candidate were on different tectonic plates, in contrast to the PDP, which had an election apparatus that was well-oiled and allowed grooves for the party and candidate to run smoothly.
“This was all the result of one man’s greed, incapacity, and lack of intelligence. Before the campaign began, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege set up an elaborate campaign council with numerous directorates, including those for logistics, contact and mobilization, welfare, media, medical, and other areas, all of which were led by capable and experienced individuals.
“However, Orubebe appointed deputy directors for the various directorates, most of whom were Ijaw in heritage. In collusion with the DG, these deputy directors effectively replaced the directors and took over operations, reporting directly to the DG.
“At one point, all the directors of Urhobo stock, who had been so marginalized, met and decided to resign, but they later changed their minds and tolerated the unpleasant development because they believed the project to be theirs. The DG had made sure that all funds were kept in his office, which gave him the advantage of having complete control over the campaign organization’s finances.
“His avarice became apparent when he was asked to create a budget for the campaign flagging off, which took place at the Warri township stadium last year and was attended by Bola Tinubu, the APC’s then-presidential candidate. A budget of 500 million naira was presented by Orubebe. Orubebe received a quarter of a billion naira after Omo-Agege questioned the enormous and unreasonable budget proposal. The DG may not have been pleased with that since he saw the prune as a loss to his intended loot.
“So the airport was essentially empty when Tinubu arrived at the Osubi en route location for the flag-off because party supporters had not been sufficiently mobilized. Omo-Agege ordered the release of additional funds to get supporters to the event. The DG and his Ijaw kinsman, Ebikeme, who was in charge of contact and mobilization, failed to release funds or did not release them in sufficient amounts.
“The cut-corner pilfering strategy was also used during the campaign, particularly across the Egbema River’s waterways in the Delta South senatorial district. Ebikeme engaged the services of boat owners who provided boats that had no headlights and with poor out-board engines, without life jackets resulting in the untimely death of some party members and supporters at the Egbema.”, the director alleged.
Neither Orubebe, Otive nor Ebikeme responded to inquires over the allegations, the newspaper reported.