THERE IS NO MANDATE TO RETRIEVE FOR DELTA APC, OMO-AGEGE LOST WOEFULLY, BY JACKSON EKWUGUM
Whenever I hear members of the APC in Delta State boasting about “retrieving” their “mandate,” I am reminded of the student who never admits to failing an examination. “I got an A,” he would proudly announce when he is successful. But the day the tables turn, it is that “the lecturer gave me D.” It is a classic example of living in denial or never owning up to one’s failure.
Consistent with their penchant for propaganda, the APC wants the world to believe that they were robbed of victory in the March 18 governorship election. And their argument is as illogical as it is pedestrian. They refer to the results of the February 25 presidential election in the state as proof that the PDP had been “rejected by majority of Deltans,” gloating about the fact that the APC won two of the three senatorial seats in the state in that election. But they conveniently omit the fact that PDP won six out of the nine House of Representatives seats in the same election, the Labour Party won two while the APC won only one. Even more telling is that the results of the presidential election showed that the Labour Party polled 341,866 votes, the PDP got 161,600 votes and the APC came a distant third with 90,183 votes.
Yet in their warped thinking, APC members believe they won the March 19 governorship election based on the pattern of results for the senatorial election alone. It is at best preposterous, and at worst, delusional. Any politician who is worth the name knows that factors such as zoning, ethnic sentiments, political/community rivalries, and the acceptability of individual candidates loom large in local elections, including the governorship.
Perhaps they also banked on leveraging the imagined political clout of the eleventh-hour defectors from the PDP, but these are men and women with an entitlement mindset whose electoral value has substantially declined over the years, as the results for the governorship and state assembly elections clearly show. Furthermore, these persons lost whatever integrity they had left with their cowardly and opportunistic defection soon after the APC was declared winner of the presidential election.
Either way, Delta APC members reflect the popular saying, “do not confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up.” Their claims of ballot box snatching, BVAS tampering, voter intimidation, and rigging by the PDP during the March 18 governorship election only exist in their imagination. In Lagos, and other states where such happened, we saw photographs and videos of such incidents. But despite all their talk about rigging, the APC in Delta has not presented any proof.
On the other hand, the social media space was awash with cases of personalities working for the Delta APC who hijacked BVAS machines and held electoral officers hostage in a futile attempt to rig the election. Not to mention the bogus result from Ughelli North, the local government area of the APC governorship candidate, which was the subject of much concern as it was, as usual, deliberately delayed, for obvious reasons. But as it turned out, it was an exercise in futility. The PDP had mounted an insurmountable lead, having won in all the 17 local government areas in Delta South and North Senatorial Districts. Even the eight local government areas in Delta Central, the supposed stronghold of the APC was split in half, undeniable proof of PDP’s spread and acceptance in the state.
Delta APC should stop daydreaming and wake up to the reality that the election has been won and lost; there is no mandate to retrieve. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the APC were soundly beaten in a free, fair, and credible election. Even before the results were officially announced, friends and relations were calling me from overseas and other cities in Nigeria as they viewed the results that were being uploaded on the INEC IREV portal, a testament to the transparent nature of the election in Delta State. Except for the naysayers, there was a remarkable improvement in the performance of INEC in the governorship election.
The fact is that a man as full of bile as Omo-Agege did not stand a chance against a level-headed, liberal, and pan-Delta candidate like Rt Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori in a free and fair electoral contest. Divisive and abrasive as ever, Omo-Agege’s entire campaign strategy was built on heaping vitriol on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was not contesting against him. His propaganda machinery churned out lie after lie against the governor, notably that he plunged the state into a phantom N850b debt. Despite the visible signs of infrastructural renewal and human capital development across the state, Omo-Agege and his troops continued to make mockery of themselves by lying about the situation in the state.
As the campaign wore on, it became apparent from his vituperations and body language that Omo-Agege was, inexplicably, on a vendetta mission against the governor. Together with his army of social media propagandists, they dissipated so much energy in maligning Okowa, they failed to tell Deltans what Omo-Agege was coming to do as governor. I doubt if those who were chorusing “Agege is coming” could explain the import of the so-called EDGE agenda to the public. They were just content to denigrate Okowa, and it was apparent they derived joy and satisfaction from doing that.
Meanwhile, Oborevwori, the PDP candidate, and members of the party were busy communicating his vision for the state as encapsulated in the MORE agenda. They traversed all the wards and local government areas, as well as regularly consulted with sundry groups and stakeholders in the state. The result was that the people found in Oborevwori a man who is humble, calm, unpretentious, accessible, open to advice, and a consensus builder with the right temperament to carry the various ethnic nationalities along as governor.
Ekwugum is Manager, Communications, Government House, Asaba.