Comrade Igbini Odafe Emmanuel, a chieftain of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP in Delta State is the National President, Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and democracy, VATLAD. In this interview he takes an excursion from his party into the affairs of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Delta State.
By Henry Umoru
What is your opinion of preparations ahead of the 2019 elections?
Well, it is nothing new, it is the same people and they have not changed their ways of thinking and doing things, with due respect, the only unfortunate thing is that they still want to carry on with the way of desperation. I have thought personally that by now the issue of desperation should be the thing of the past.
They should focus on how to fix the collapsed economy. There is total hopelessness in the country, it didn’t start under Buhari, but so far, both parties whether PDP, APC or any other party I think the focus should be on the economy and then security; because when there is improvement in the economy, there is the tendency that there will be a reduction in crimes and criminality. And in focusing on this economy, we have to lay more emphasis on how to manage the oil sector of the Nigeria nation.
What is your reaction to the primaries in the APC?
It is now rather unfortunate that particularly the APC that the National Working Committee, NWC is threatening aggrieved members of the APC who have decided to take the lawful way of seeking justice for a perceived injustice.
There is nowhere in the constitution of Nigeria and other electoral laws of Nigeria that gives such powers to members of a political party to punish other people the way the NWC of APC is trying to do. It is to insult the powers of the court guaranteed by section 6, and God forbid the day it happens because the constitution recognizes the judiciary.
So, what do you advise the aggrieved members of the APC to do given that the president has said that they can go to court?
I don’t want to see it from the position of the president that though he is in support of the aggrieved members, even if assuming that he is in support of NWC, I will say that both himself and the NWC are wrong.
So how do you now narrow the problem to Delta which is your state?
The recent APC primaries conducted by the APC, so many of the aspirants were aggrieved, not only governorship even senatorial, there were factions, and we heard a lot of allegations that the primaries were fraudulent and Oshiomhole either misled himself or was misled to believe that a particular aspirant is capable of delivering the state to APC and when the primary was supposed to go on, they said this is the person that will be, and I think my elder brother, Chief Great Ogboru who happened to be declared by the NWC as candidate for governorship is somebody that I had defended before and he is somebody who does not accept injustice. That is why he always went to court whenever he felt that what they did to him was a violation.
I heard that the former Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly Rt. Honourable Victor Ochei is now in court over the primaries of the APC because he felt that the primaries were not credible, and he is asking the court to direct that a fresh election be conducted. That is not too much demand.
But if you force people against their wish, they will say whether you like it or not come and work for the person certain persons have chosen grudgingly, they will not put in their best during the election, and we have seen it happen in so many cases.
So, Oshiomhole should understand that this is not labour unionism where he headed.
The APC should not insult the powers of the court and should not scare Nigerians from approaching the court.
This is exactly what Ochei is asking for that why must the NWC and the chairman come and use the office to impose someone, why don’t you allow people to decide?
What is your take on the zoning arrangement in Delta State for the governorship position?
I am not for anybody or any political party, but it is the turn of Delta North, whether it is going to be Okowa or whether it is going to be anybody from APC or wherever, it is a personal opinion, and I have no apologies.