Factional leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta state, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, have resumed their acrimony following the court judgment that again put control of the state chapter of the party into contention.
The resumption of hostilities followed the Federal High Court, Asaba, judgment that upheld the Chief Cyril Ogodo-led executive as the legitimate executive of the party in the state.
Also, the judgment affirmed that those aligned with Ogodo were the right candidates that represented the party in all elections, a judgment that could make Emerhor appropriate Omo-Agege’s election as a senator to represent Delta Central in the National Assembly.
Emerhor emerged as Delta Central candidate in the Ogodo led executive while Omo-Agege was the candidate in the Prophet Jones Erue led executive that had its legitimacy voided by the court.
Despite peace moves by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the rift between both factions continued into the 2019 National Assembly elections with Omo-Agege losing out substantially at Evwreni Ward 8 where Emerhor and the Executive Director, Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sam Adjogbe voted.
With a total of 2, 259 votes, Omo-Agege got 526 votes while the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Evelyn Oboro scored 1, 646 votes.
Though Emerhor through his Mainstream Delta APC pledged to work and support candidates of the party produced from the Erue-led executive, the party performed poorly during the elections winning only two local council areas in the state out of 25 with Omo-Agege, Rev. Francis Waive both winning their positions for Delta Central Senatorial District and Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu Federal Constituency respectively.
Speaking on the court ruling, Omo-Agege described the ruling as “of no consequence,” insisting that the Asaba High Court lacks the jurisdiction to sit as an appellant court over a consent judgement delivered by a court of coordinate jurisdiction and that he is not party to the suit.
Omo-Agege through his Senior Special Adviser Communications and Strategy, Godwin Anuaghe, explained that though the judgement by Justice Adegoke may give some joy to the plaintiffs and their supporters, but that it cannot alter the status quo.
He further deposed that his election and that of the member-elect representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu Federal Constituency, Rev Francis Ejiroghene Waive remains valid.
However, Emerhor, who had been silent since the poor performance of the party in the state, reacted by accusing Omo-Agege of building his candidature on nothing and applauded the court for restoring the legal executive of the party.
He said that “the mainstream of the APC in Delta state which I lead produced the Ogbodo led executive. The mainstream accommodates over 70 per cent of the leaders and members of the party in the state and during the contest for the general elections, it boasted of over five governorship aspirants.
The Ogbodo executive produced by the mainstream has always been the authentic state executive, he countered, adding that “we only had a period when an illegal executive was foisted on the party.
What the court did in its Monday ruling was just to restore the legal executive into its proper position. It is a victory for Delta state APC, the rule of law and due process.
“The APC is better off for it. I emerged as the Delta Central senatorial candidate against Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who emerged from the Jones Erue state executive which the court has now declared illegal. Legally and physically, you can’t build anything on nothing.
“Omo-Agege built his candidature on nothing and it has given way and has collapsed. But, this is beyond just me and Omo-Agege. So, legally and in reality, Omo-Agege was at no time the candidate nor was he at any time the senator-elect.
“Same for the other positions were APC won in Delta state. Not until the court ruling on Monday can anyone legally claim to be the senator-elect or any other position in Delta APC. So, it is correct for my supporters to congratulate me as the senator-elect of Delta Central of Delta state.”