The Director Communications and Media Strategy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign organisation in Delta State, Olorogun Ima Niboro has described as a tissue of lies allegations that the governorship candidate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege factionalised the party and did not carry everybody along.
According to a leader party in the state, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, who Niboro said had been expelled from the party, were among the reasons the party lost the 18th March governorship election in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori as the winner of the governorship election after polling 360, 234 votes, while Omo-Agege, who is the Deputy President of the Senate, scored 240,229.
On an AIT programme, Democracy Today on Tuesday night, Niboro alleged that Ojougbouh chose the Omo-Agege and Chief Great Ogboru faction of the APC to contest the governorship primary election of the party in 2019 because he believed it was the winning side. Niboro said that it was only after Ojougbouh lost out that he began to wage a war against Omo-Agege.
Niboro, a former presidential spokesman, explained that in 2019, the party had two factions – one led by the founding leader in the state, Olorogun Otega Emerhor, and the other led by jointly by Omo-Agege and Ogboru.
“Before our reunification, the APC had broken into two – the mainstream APC led by Olorogun Emerhor and the faction that was led by Senator Omo-Agege and Chief Great Ogboru. I happened to be with the Emerhor faction. In fact, I ran for the House of Representatives, while Emerhor ran for Senate. But because of the crisis we were outmaneuvered and we lost out.
“But Emerhor, myself and two others I will not name sat down and took a deliberate decision that we are not going to throw away the baby with the bath water; that we are going to put the party together. The other two didn’t agree and they quit the party. But I stood with Emerhor, because he and I had agreed on our direction even before we invited the other two persons. That is how the process started and the APC came together and today we are one big happy family.
“However, Ojougboh was with us in 2019. In fact, our faction needed a candidate for governorship who’s from Delta North. He was our candidate for the mainstream APC. We didn’t support Ogboru; we wanted equity, we had accepted rotation of power in Delta State, it was Delta North’s turn and the next governor to come in to complete the remaining four years of the Dr Ifeanyi Okowa administration, if we are to get him out, should come from his own place, Delta North, so that in 2023, which is now upon us, we can confidently back an Urhobo, Delta Central, person.
“But on the morning of the primary, Cairo Ojougbouh called to say he was joining the Senator Omo-Agege side to contest the governorship primary and that’s what he did. So he willingly joined the Senator Omo-Agege faction then, and it was only after he lost out that he started this long talk about Omo-Agege factionalising the party”, Niboro said.
Rather than the faction theory advanced by Ojougboh, Niboro said the PDP, led by Okowa, penetrated the state with tremendous amount of money after allegedly borrowing N250 billion to prosecute the 2023 elections.
“Some of us still had a basic trust in the human character, not believing that they would ever attempt to tamper with something so transparent as the BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System). But we were caught out by the PDP using money to influence INEC officials to upload fake results into the IReV (INEC Result Viewing) portal.
“In my local government, at the end of collation, they gave APC 15,620 votes and PDP 15,613 votes, a difference of seven votes. I sat down and calculated the figures that were right there on the final result sheets. I discovered that what PDP actually scored was 14,513 votes. So they undermined 1,100 votes right on the result sheet and they declared it. And this is how they ‘won’ their so-called 21 local government areas.
“So, we need now to go and verify the results they claim gave them this dubious, fake victory”, Niboro said.
According to him, the APC promptly petitioned INEC about these and other observations and requested the election umpire to review the results, but they refused, he alleged. He said that INEC position on the declaration of the result has to be tested in court.
Niboro explained that what happened in the state was an electoral heist, assuring that the court would definitely give judgement to the APC and overturn the INEC position because “we have evidence to prove that the election was a sham”.