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Otega Emerhor and the Hope of Peace in Delta APC

By Joseph Onajevwe
Olorogun Otega Emerhor is a reliable Urhobo patriot of no mean repute. His exploits in the murky waters of Nigeria politics have been fraught with challenges yet the man has refused to buckle or been edged out. His peaceful mien and adorable disposition to issues of progress and development amongst his Urhobo people have made him invest so much of his wealth to make people, create platforms for many, and give meaning to the lives of his supporters and followers. He remains the pioneer and founding leader of the All Progressives Congress in Delta State.

When he started the movement during the formative years of the APC in late 2013 and early 2014, Otega Emerhor was viewed as a ‘money miss road’ by many considering the impossible radar of the movement he invested so much money in building in Delta State.

There was no hope for the party in 2014 ahead of the 2015 polls but as an adroit investor who thinks possibility in the midst of impossibility, he took his chances, sponsored the party structure in all 25 local government areas in Delta State, and almost single-handedly gave oxygen to all those who flew the ticket of the party in that election. He was the gubernatorial candidate of the party but lost to Governor Okowa.

Olorogun Otega Emerhor

One of the many betrayals Olorogun Otega Emerhor had suffered in his political journey was the abrogation of the much-vaunted Uvwiamuge Declaration which was conceived by the then leadership of the Urhobo Progress Union to support any candidate of the major political parties, PDP and APC that gave gubernatorial tickets to Urhobo man. Otega Emerhor worked hard to secure the APC ticket but the Uvwiamuge Declaration was jettisoned to give support to Chief Great Ogboru, then of the Labour Party instead of Otega. APC stood no chance in the election, UPU had reasoned, and even when President Buhari had defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan, UPU did not see any reason to back Otega, rather the party went ahead with the Ogboru Labour Party and the result was as good as you can guess.

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In 2019, Otega Emerhor did not bother to contest for Governor knowing full well that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege that defected to the party was from his Local government area. All he wanted was his regard and respect which he deserved without argument because he cleared the jungle, took the risks to build the party, and made it alluring for many political birds of the air to perch on. He was aggrieved at the turn of events but remained faithful to the party till date.  Whatever he has been given as Chairman, Governing Council of a Tertiary Institution cannot be equated to his investment in the party and the followers.

But the man is calm as always, working for peace and harmony amongst the leaders and the rank and file. He has suffered betrayals yet faithful. A careful examination of the content of the man’s heart suggests that Otega Emerhor is not interested in what to gain from the party. He is out for what he can attract to his people, those he can help to positions of authority, and the promotion of popular candidates towards reenacting the change that has permeated Nigeria in Delta State. The current state of things in the APC Delta state, therefore, impels Otega Emerhor, to once again, rise to the occasion, not for what he stands to gain, but how to place the party in an election-winning way.

One major breakthrough APC can boast of today is the collaborative and fence-mending move earlier taken by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and warmly accepted by Otega Emerhor. He has remained resolute on the path of peace, choosing to be cheated rather than rock the boat. While some party leaders are threatening fire and brimstone, fighting to rock the boat and destroy the party with caustic conducts and utterances, Otega has remained firm on the path of peace. The likes of Chief Festus Keyamo, Minister of State, Labour and Productivity; Dr. Cairo Ojugbo, former EDP, NDDC, and Engr Victor Ochei, former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly and now Executive Director, NIMASA, are working hard to tear the party apart if they failed to have their way, but Otega Emerhor, ‘the landlord’ is calm.

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All those fighting for the soul of the party today met Otega Emerhor as the founding leader. If Otega has accepted the leadership of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and has decided to work with him irrespective of what the outcome may be, I wonder what the beef of Keyamo, Ojugbo, and Ochei could be that they want to rock the boat! Providence, therefore, beckons on Otega Emerhor to once again wade into all issues in the party and make for peace. He built the house and should not allow the selfish interests of those who have come to join him to destroy what he labored to build. If he could let go and elect to work with Senator Omo-Agege, why are the likes of Ochei and Ojugbo threatening brimstone in an attempt to wrest the party from the DSP?

A huge burden has been placed on the shoulder of Otega Emerhor. He should help reach out to all aggrieved parties and talk them into line. Fighting Ovie Omo-Agege at this moment may not be wise if the party is determined to take over power from the PDP in 2023. There is no better candidate from Delta Central for the coming battle. PDP is now used to beating Chief Great Ogboru, he should rather go for senate while Omo-Agege runs for governor this time around. Festus Keyamo does not have the grassroots appeal to unsettle the PDP. Otega Emerhor, an experienced war horse with all it takes to take on the PDP is wise enough to allow Omo-Agege to lead the struggle this time. Otega should work for peace and let APC work together into 2023. The party will stand no chance if PDP uses some of their key men to continue the infighting to create a fractured platform against the PDP. Otega Emerhor should rise to the occasion and bring peace into the APC for a healthy 2023 outing. The party stands the best chance to wrestle power from the PDP in the coming polls.

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