It is not unexpected that the crossing of Dr Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) is raising dust in Delta State. It would have, in fact, been surprising if the crossing did not spark the reactions we have been getting since last Tuesday when Uduaghan made his move, given his political stature in Delta. In terms of robust political antecedents, Uduaghan stands tall among his peers having served in key offices in the state for 16 years. As the immediate past governor, his influence transcends his domain in Delta South to all the nooks and crannies of the state. With this background, the coming of Uduaghan is a plus for the APC especially ahead of the 2019 elections which analysts say may now prove difficult for the PDP to win after being the ruling party in the state for 19 years. Whereas the defection has elicited celebrations in the APC, it has been received with trepidation in the PDP. The fact that the unbroken rulership of the PDP in Delta is now threatened makes their aversion to the Uduaghan jumping of ship understandable.
For instance, one of the top members of the party in the state, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, literally attacked the personality of the former governor when he described his defection as unfortunate because “until now, we had been proud to announce that the three governors (two past), all their deputies, all state Chairmen of the PDP (past and present), all founding members of the party, like myself, have remained faithful and committed PDP members.’’
In a statement, Oyovbaire said Uduaghan’s defection was, nevertheless, expected. His words: “We knew quite early, immediately the Presidency went to APC in early 2015 even before the governorship election, forerunners of the former governor like Chief Ayiri and Chief Jaro had jumped out of the PDP ship to await, allegedly then, of Governor Uduaghan’s arrival into the APC.
“I do not have all the facts of the governor’s decision to abandon the party that literally made him the politician of note. He is entitled to his constitutional right and freedom to move into and out of any organisation. Yet it demonstrates one more of the multiple illustrations of the crass poverty, fear of being hunted; and sheer opportunism in Nigerian politics and democracy.
“I consider every politician and indeed every voter as important… but let us not ascribe or assign undue essence to certain persons in politics…. You know the worth of the performances of Dr Uduaghan for and as governor at three elections. PDP is solid and confident in its hold and consolidation of power borne of good governance in Delta State”.
In a nutshell, the PDP leaders in Delta are peeved about what Uduaghan has done to them because everyone cherishes an asset and when he loses it, it is like his whole world is crashing before his very eyes.
On the other hand, it is celebration time in the APC as can be seen in the reactions of the party leaders in Delta who wholeheartedly welcomed Uduaghan’s defection.
One of the leaders, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, said after the APC national caucus meeting where Uduaghan was introduced: “It was an exciting caucus meeting because it was also the first caucus meeting with Senator Godswill Akpabio which means that the South-South is gathering strength and from the press release of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan stating that he is the John the Baptist who has come to clear the way…his coming would also help with ensuring that attempts to unite the party move as quickly as possible because he would be coming with fresh ideas and fresh hopes with reach at the highest levels to work towards the unity of everybody so that we can win the 2019 elections”.
Another chieftain, Olorogun Solomon Edojah, said: “I am glad that the singular decision to dump the PDP before the 2019 general elections is now yielding dividends. Dr. Uduaghan is already reaping one of the generous provisions of the APC Constitution, which provides for past and present leaders of Nigeria to contribute towards national development. This is contrary to the PDP that has no place for past leaders and no single respect for them. Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is definitely coming back to a ready-made home with a bespoke political arrangement for him to realise his ambition as senator representing Delta South.”
No matter the misgiving anyone might harbour about the former governor’s movement to the APC, his point is well made that the overall good of Delta and her people motivated his decision to dump the PDP. Meanwhile, beyond that, the political configuration of the state is naturally bound to change. Analysts say the loss of Uduaghan by the PDP means that its domination of the politics of Delta is gone for good. The 2019 general elections in which hopes are high that the former governor will contest for the Senate to represent Delta South in parliament will prove that
Johnson sent this piece from Abuja
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