BY FIDELIS EGUGBO
"Nigerians are mainly divided between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).Before the APC produced the President of the country,it was the PDP versus other political parties as most Nigerians identified with the PDP.It is a fact that most of the members of the APC as it stands today,were at a time,members of the PDP and no one is in doubt that the APC succeeded in producing the President because,five governors of the PDP decamped to the party.Today,the PDP has more than five governors that emerged on its ticket; can dey retake the Presidency in 2019?
"In Delta State,there is virtulaly no opposition because the PDP,since 1999, has ensured that it gets all Deltans committed to its cause.With the slip that led to the opposition political party taking over government at the central,the PDP, having understood Deltans and its terrain, has consolidated on its membership and the few individuals who left the its fold with the belief that with the APC at the centre,opposition political party would have its way in the state have returned, claiming that the APC offered them nothing.
"Delta State Governor,Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa bearing in mind that opposition political parties may be strong in the state,intensified efforts to unite the PDP and bring back those who left the party in the now unrealistic belief that they will have better fortune elsewhere.It was, therefore,not surprising that many bigwigs of the APC in the state -who,of course,were members of the PDP- have returned to the party,while the few that are yet to do so are still discussing on the best time to return to the PDP.Two weeks ago,there was a harvest of APC members when more than 5000 of them decamped in an open event held at Orogun,Ughelli North Local Government Area.Orogun is a ‘special’ community in Ughelli North local government area as it is home of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who has severally,contested elections on the platform of the PDP before he moved to the APC.
"The decamping of his key loyalists to the PDP is seen by many as a big blow to the Senator who is representing the people of Delta Central but,some pundits are of the opinion that the event was for those loyalists to prepare the ground for the possible eventual return of Senator Omo-Agege to the PDP fold,ahead of the 2019 general elections.Who knows? How the game plays out will be obvious soon as one of the decampees,Hon. Sylvester Ovbije said they were tired of the APC saying,“I am leaving APC because the party is(allegedly) filled with liars and deceptive people.”
"The main decampee for the day who was chairman of the local government council on the platform of the PDP,Hon.Friday Akpoyibo,in his address,said,“PDP has brought hope and smile to millions of people,both old and young,educated and not educated.Today,APC leadership and members alleged that economic melt down,recession and all the problems in Nigeria are caused by PDP,can APC leaders or members say that they were not at one time or the other the shakers and movers of PDP?All APC members today came from the PDP,therefore,the present leadership of APC are to be held responsible for the problems in Nigeria.
"PDP made me who I am and others today.We have decided to go back to the mother and father of all political parties in Nigeria,the PDP. PDP is a healthy party with leadership that has the interest of its followers at heart,”he said.At the impressive ceremony,it was obvious that Governor Okowa has endeared himself to the heart of Deltans through the execution of projects and engaging in programes that are changing,quite positively,the status of Deltans.It is a fact that despite the hues and cries about recession,Governor Okowa’s administration has not wavered in it empowerment programmes or relaxed in the execution of projects designed to make life better for Deltans.There is no local government area in the state that has not received attention in terms of project execution,empowerment or political patronage in the form of appointments.This is a fact that it has cowed the very few people who believed that they could make inroad into the state on the platform of opposition political parties.
"The decampees were presented by the Chairman of the PDP in the Local Government,Hon.Lawrence Agbatutu to the Chairman of the party in the State, Barr.Kingsley Esiso who received the decampees with the Governor at the carnival-like event which was also, attended by top politicians in the state.
Addressing the decampees,Governor Okowa,who was apparently happy that members of the opposition political parties had greatly depleted in the state, observed that the APC and most political parties in the country are populated by former members of the PDP and said that the doors of the PDP are open to those who desire to come back to the party.
“You are returning home to your family,a family where there is no discrimination. Those who want to return are free to do so because,working together,I believe we will win in all elections.We have every reason to rejoice today;we need to work together for the large population of Ughelli North to translate to actual votes; this is the time for the people of Ughelli North to vote for development,not based on sentiments.It is in the best interest of the Urhobo people to remain in the PDP; we will continue to consolidate on the success of the PDP since 1999,and I will not discriminate in the act of governance,” the Governor said,reiterating, “we will achieve the Delta State of our dream where everyone will relate as brothers and sisters when we work in unity.”As I wrote this piece,Governor Okowa was on tour of local government areas,inspecting projects and commissioning completed ones.From penultimate Tuesday till penultimate Saturday,the Governor visited Udu,Okpe,Patani and Ndokwa West local government areas and on all the visits, the people came out in their large numbers to welcome him.They were obviously impressed with what the Okowa government was doing,despite the fact that the country is in recession.In all the places visited,the people urged him to come out and contest for second term in office,saying that if the Governor could do ‘so much when the country is in recession,he will do more with improved resources in the state.’
"In every local government area the Governor visited,he commissioned,at least,one project and inspected others and capped the visit with town hall meetings where the people expressed themselves freely about how they feel about the government and the governor, in all sincerity and humility,answered questions raised while taking time to reel out the successes and challenges of his administration.With the scenerio playing out in the state,there is no doubt that the fortunes of the PDP will always increase and the party will continue to execute programmes that will be beneficial to the people.