- Says his withdrawal in 2015, a sacrifice for peace, ethnic harmony
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has dismissed rumours that he had decided to renounce his intention to represent Delta South in the Senate in 2019.
He said the false story was the handiwork of faceless mischief makers as the issue of stepping down for anybody had not come up anywhere.
The clarification by the former Delta State governor is coming at a time a body known as the Coalition of Bomadi Local Government Area elders and youth bodies publicly declared its support for Uduaghanâ€™s aspiration to contest the Delta South senatorial seat currently occupied by Senator James Manager.
Uduaghan was emphatic that he was still very much in the race and engaged in extensive consultation with stakeholders particularly in Delta South senatorial district.
The aspirant cleared the air at his residence in Warri yesterday while playing host to the Coalition of Bomadi Elders led by Rev. Gbenekuru England, and youths drawn from different youth associations in Bomadi Local Government Area of the state.
The group, which comprises community elders in Bomadi area disclosed that the visit was partly to hear from the horseâ€™s mouth regarding the rumour that he had stepped down again for Manager, just as the ex-governor said he had to do in 2015 in the interest of peace and ethnic harmony in the senatorial district and the state in general.
Uduaghan said: â€œI have not stepped down for anybody, and I am not going to even contemplate stepping down for anyone. In fact, I have put my hands on the plough and there is no going back. By the grace of God, we would be in Abuja in 2019.â€
He recalled the circumstances of his decision not to contest for the senatorial ticket in 2015, stressing that it was a personal sacrifice he made in the overall interest of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Delta State at the time.
â€œIt was for the interest of President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s votes from Delta State that made me withdraw from the 2015 senatorial race at the last minute. The stability of the state was very important to me. I needed to concentrate on the state and prepare it for a peaceful transition, otherwise, I have all the machinery to win the seat if I had so wanted it like I do now.
â€œI have paid my dues in stemming ethnic violence and militia uprising in the creeks to deserve the senatorial seat. How many people can make such sacrifice? How can somebody who has fought plenty political battles as a serving governor be scared of anybody? That is very laughable to me.
Uduaghanâ€™s visitors, apparently excited by his statement, broke into spontaneous dance and singing in Ijaw language, hailing Uduahan as â€œthe best candidate from the zone for the senate in 2019.
All the leaders of the group who spoke were unanimously in support for Uduaghan which they said was a wise decision to make, saying Delta South was ready for â€œa new beginning and Uduaghan is the new beginning.â€