The outcome of the Delta Central Senatorial bye-election of last Saturday is stoking different drumbeats among major stakeholders
BY EMMA AMAIZE
THE glee on the face of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan last Sunday could hardly be missed by anyone within an earshot at the thanksgiving service hosted by the governor in his private residence in Warri, Delta State.
The ill-wind that had shadowed the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in recent times in Delta Central had been banished the day before when the party’s candidate, Hon. Emmanuel Aguariavwodo beat other major contenders from the opposition to win the by-election to fill the seat left by the death of Senator Pius Ewherido.
Seated beside him on the high table were Aguariavwodo, Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama, state party chairman, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi and party leaders from the Central district, who honoured the governor’s invitation for the thanksgiving-cum-reception.
Uduaghan’s contentment stemmed not just from the fact that Aguariavwodo won but also that the PDP made a statement by overwhelming the Democratic Peoples Party,DPP which had until now held sway in district wide elections in the area.
It was also instructive that the election and the thanksgiving that followed had some of the more prominent party chieftains from the senatorial district who until now had worked at cross purposes.
Among those present were the chairman of the state PDP Campaign Council, Chief Paulinus Akpeki, former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi and former Minister of Information, Prof Sam Oyovbaire.
“After the victory of the early hours of this morning, I thought it was necessary for us to gather to thank God and congratulate ourselves for winning the senatorial election,” Uduaghan said.
The governor, whose imprint was etched in the conquest, said he was surprised that even while the election was still on one of the political parties, which unmistakably saw the handwriting on the wall, wrote a petition and rejected the outcome of an election that was yet to be concluded.
”I called for this thanksgiving because we all know that PDP has regained our lost territory, which is Delta Central.
For over a year now, we embarked on reconciliation and the result (election result) shows that our reconciliation is total, it has been very successful. We spoke with one voice,” the governor said.
Reason for past defeat: Looking at why PDP lost the district in 2011, he said, “The problem was that as PDP members, we were fighting ourselves and some of us moved to other parties.
Those who moved to other parties got their tickets and worked against our party.”
He said: “It is PDP people that went to the opposition that made them to start feeling that they have strength,” adding, “Now that we have taken our strength back, I want to know where the strength they are boasting about is.”
Uduaghan noted that practically everybody that won election on the platform of the opposition before now in the state was a member of PDP, saying, “The so-called opposition has collapsed.”
Dismissing the complaints of the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC and the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, the governor said: “If you are not on ground, you will always complain, but if you are on ground, you will win the poll.
I appeal to PDP members to remain united. What happened is that we have built strong ward structures and that is what I have been advocating all along.
We should strengthen the ward structure,” he said.
Chief Nwaoboshi, who corroborated the governor’s claim that opposition has been decapitated in the state, said,
“The unity in PDP today must not be allowed to die and with this unity, I cannot see any party in Delta State that can rival us. Any person not in PDP is not a politician in the state.”
Dismissing insinuations by political rivals that the governor is unforgiving of his foes, Nwaoboshi said what happened in the just concluded bye-election and the things he saw the governor do have shown him that the governor forgives. His words, “People say you don’t forgive, but I have seen you forgive, Uduaghan is a committed leader.”
The party chairman commended the governor for the leadership he gave the party to win the Delta Central election and also praised Urhobo political leader, Chief Ighoyota Amori and other senatorial aspirants that withdrew for Aguariavvwodo, saying, “If there was no PDP, we would not have been able to deliver Aguariavwodo. Whoever is the party’s candidate, support him, power belongs to God, not man, we are only instruments in the hand of God.”
Aguariavwodo pledges to serve
Aguariavwodo, who thanked the governor and various leaders of the party for their support said, “I want to pledge that I will serve with humility, to the best of my ability, I will do my best at all times, my office and doors will be open.
I will enter into Abuja to bring dividends of democracy, as His Excellency has advised.”