Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Monday in Asaba, successfully held what the state leader of the party, Olorogun Oâ€™tega Emerhor, called â€œthe real APC state delegates congressâ€ in Delta State.
The highpoint of the exercise, which was held at the old site of the Federal Technical College Asaba amid tight security, was the state chairmanship election between Chief Cyril Ogodo and Chief Fred Obe.
At the end of the voting which saw the delegates being called out in batches according to their respective local government areas, Chief Ogodor from Delta Central Senatorial district emerged the winner.
The Chairman of the APC Delta State Congress Committee, Hon Eugene Odo, who presided over the election, announced that Chief Ogodo polled a total of 731 votes to defeat his rival, Chief Fred Obe, who had 99 votes. Thirteen of the 843 votes cast were voided.
All the contestants for the other positions in the APC Delta State working committee were returned unopposed while a chairmanship candidate, Chief Joshua Uturu, announced that he was stepping down Chief Ogodo, the eventual victor.
The event was attended by thousands of APC members and leaders across the state including 1,439 delegates as well as five 2019 governorship aspirants, including former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Victor Ochei.
The exercise was conducted under the watchful eyes of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), including Mr. Damian Akhamhe, Mr. Felix Enabor, Mrs. Christabel Aibosa, Mr. Dickson Alike and Mrs. Ugochi Nwaubani.
THISDAY learnt that the APC National Working Committee (NWC) put off the exercise until Monday because some members of the panel initially constituted for the state congress had allegedly compromised, forcing the dissolution and reconstitution of new panel.
Speaking with journalists on the conduct of the congress, Olorogun Emerhor described the exercise as â€œthe real congressâ€ of the APC in Delta State, in apparent reference to a parallel congress spearheaded by Senator Omo-Agege, former state chairman of the party, Amos Erue and the 2015 Labour Partyâ€™s governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru.
He noted that it was â€œcrystal clear that this is a gathering of authentic APC in Delta Stateâ€, noting that him, five 2019 governorship aspirants and party heavyweights across the three senatorial districts like Hon Ochei, oil magnate, Chief Hyacinth Enuha, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Dr Leroy, Prof Pat Utomi and many others, there was no doubt about the authenticity of the congress.
On the aggrieved members of the party, Emerhor explained, â€œAfter this congress, we will reach out to them and that is the role the national leadership is going to play. We cannot afford any division; we must come together to forge a common front because we have PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) to fight and dethrone in the state in 2019.
â€œWe have gone ahead to obey the NWC, which postponed the congress for today (Monday)â€™, Emerhor further said, adding, â€œAt the end of this exercise, the appeal committee will come and review what has been done before the results would be taken to Abuja for certification.â€
Applauding the success of the congress, Chief Enuha, said: â€œBeyond all expectations, we have had a successful congress and we give credit to the leader of the party in the state, Olorogun Emerhor for the organisation of the congress.â€
Also speaking, APC governorship aspirant in the state, Hon. Ochei said: â€œThe organisation, voting process has been fantastic and am impressed that everyone is here to witness what a real state congress is. This is an example of what internal democracy should be. After this time, we will reach out and bring everybody together; we will yet become one APC family.â€
In his acceptance speech, the new chairman, Ogodo, applauded the peaceful conduct of the exercise and the spirit of sportsmanship exhibited by his co-contenders for accepting the outcome of the exercise.
â€œIt is only in Delta State that an election was conducted and a winner emerging. Let us now go home and be united so that we can be able to install an APC government in Delta come 2019.â€
The NWC had, in a letter on Friday addressed to the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission and signed by APCâ€™s National Secretary, Mr. Mai Mama Buni, confirmed the postponement of the exercise till Monday.
The letter read in part, â€œWe refer to our letter reference No: APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/018/12 dated 27th April, 2018. â€œWe wish to advice that we have rescheduled the conduct of our state congresses in Delta State to Monday 21st May, 2018.â€