Olise Imegwu, former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly in this interview with, says emphatically that ex-Governor James Ibori cannot leave the party owing to his dissatisfaction with outcome of the Delta State governorship primaries and also maintained that it is also wrong to make Ibori the scapegoat of the crisis.
He also bared his mind on the internal crisis rocking the national and Delta State PDP, vote buying and sundry issues.
There are speculations that ex-Delta State governor Chief James Ibori may defect from PDP, to collapse his structure for the DSP Omo-Agege-led All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2023 due to his alleged ill-treatment by the PDP. How true is this?
Extreme speculation, capital no! Chief Ibori can never leave the party he co-founded with others. The process of reconciliation is on-going. I understand Chief David Edevbie is in court, Chief Amori won and his daughter also won and it is also being rumoured that he supported Governor Okowa’s emergence as Vice Presidential candidate, where is the ill-treatment you alluded to?
It seems the power of the ‘godfather’ Chief Ibori has been whittled down viz a viz the emergence of Sheriff Oboriwhori as the governorship candidate of the party against the wish of the dynasty, what’s your take?
It is true that when two elephants fight the grass suffers. In this particular context of Delta State politics you make reference to, it is wrong and unfair to make Ibori the scapegoat. The “polarising factor” is not one-dimensional as you may want to paint it, it is pervasive and multi-dimensional. There are other polarizing factors in Delta State PDP at the wards, LGAs and state levels. Because they have been beaten down, oppressed, intimidated, harassed, threatened and “contractised/hypnotized”, I suspect, doesn’t mean that all is well.
for instance, myself, a former Speaker, National Assembly member, a scholar/philosopher, and particularly, a national convener, who with Chief Ibori, our leader, Prof. Oyovabaire, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Senator James Manager, Senator Nwaoboshi, Mrs. Nkem Okuofu, Late Chief Humphrey Iweriebo, to mention a few, were the foundation members of PDP. From PTI Warri, we retired to Palm Grove Hotel, where we set up the first PDP State Executive Committee and Senator James Manager and Nwaoboshi emerged its chairman and secretary, respectively.
Today, in PDP at the wards, LGAs, Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency and Delta North Senatorial District, I am not consulted when major party decisions are taken at these levels. You now can see that if the aggrieved at these levels across the state have what it takes to remove the chains of oppression around their necks, it will then be obvious that Chief Ibori is just one of the factors and not the only factor. The primaries have come and gone and having emerged the winner, if there is no challenge, he becomes the candidate of the party to fly its flag, the legal challenges notwithstanding.
As a PDP chieftain, what hope is left for your party towards 2023 general elections?
Initially, given the socio-economic and security problems in the forms of the impunity of banditry and Boko Haram attacks, rising inflation, strike leading to shutdown of our universities for onward of six months now, energy crises, high cost of living generally, the dearth of good road transportation in some major cities of the country, I had thought that PDP has a fighting chance to win the Presidency come 2023. It is bizarre to notice the deadly internecine war or the internal strife tearing it from within and has taken a toll on its ability to win in 2023. So, I don’t think PDP can rise from its self-afflicted malady to win the presidential election in 2023.
As Governor Nyesom Wike was coasting to victory at the party’s presidential primary, it appeared that a gang up was hatched to deny him victory, so he alleged. Wike, who was recommended as the first choice for the party’s vice presidential ticket was again undermined. The above issues, if not properly handled, PDP should kiss its hope of winning the presidency bye-bye.
Allegation of vote buying was levied against politicians during the recent Ekiti and Saturday’s governorship polls and party primaries. What is your take?
If you sell your votes, you have sold your future and don’t come looking for scapegoats. The ENDSARS, adhoc and national delegates, experiences at the APC/PDP conventions and Ekiti governorship election, are pointers to your culpability. You will only get the representation and government you enthrone and if you suffer under-representation, oppression, corruption and bad governance, you are not victims but accomplices. The giver and the taker are both guilty of electoral crime.
Democracy died in Nigeria at the conventions of the PDP and APC in 2022. Its carcasses are going to trickle down to the general elections in 2023 which have already began with Ekiti State because there is no difference between delegates and voters in this context of the debasement of democratic ideals. When you add Boko Haram and banditry ravaging the North, unknown gunmen in the East, obscene corruption and the incapability of the law enforcement agencies and judiciary to rise to the occasion, I doubt if 2023 election will take place.
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