Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Former Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has dismissed insinuation that he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of fear of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Uduaghan, a two-term governor on the PDP platform, has disclosed that everything concerning his administration state had been investigated over and over again by the anti graft commission since he left office in 2015.
He dispelled the insinuation on a Channels TV programme, Hard Copy on Friday, noting that EFCC investigation was not the reason he decided “to join the APC. Rather, I joined the APC due to the issues I had with the PDP at the national and state levels.”
Uduaghan had last week announced his defection from the PDP to the APC, which he attributed to President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention in the Niger Delta, among others
He had pointed out that peace and security had been the toughest challenges of any Niger Delta leader since 1997, thereby Buhari’s administration for the giant strides recorded in peace and security since assuming office in 2015.
During the TV programme, Uduaghan noted that he could not have defected because of the EFCC investigation since his administration had been an open book for every Nigeria to scrutinise.
He said: “I am the most investigated former governor for the past three years. My administration has been investigated severally by the anti-graft commission. Everything I did in Delta State has been investigated by EFCC. So why should EFCC be the cause of my defection?”
Uduaghan, therefore, revealed the rationale behind his defection, noting that before he left the PDP, he had some issues with the party both at the state and national levels, though declined to comment on the issues.
According to him, I have issues with PDP at the state and at the National level. But I do not what to talk about them since I have left them. I have the right to keep the issues I have with PDP to myself. He spoke on the widely publicised disagreement with his immediate successor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, claiming that the succession plan theory was not true and that there was never a time they sat and agreed on who should be a governor or not.
Before the emergence of Chief James Ibori under the PDP, Uduaghan claimed that there was an Ibori political family, to which he belong, noting that the Ibori political family “is different from the PDP as a political party.
“There is an Ibori family. Aside, there is a PDP family which I still belong to. We started the political party from the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM). But before then, there was an Ibori political family.”
He, therefore, clarified that his defection to the APC has not affected his relationship with Ibori who is his cousin, saying he’s very much in touch with Ibori, noting that he was actively involved in government before he became a governor.
On the same boat with Chief Great Ogboru, with whom he had contested governorship elections in 2007 and 2011, Uduaghan said: “It is politics. In politics, there are no permanent enemies, but permanent interest.”
Describing himself as John the Baptist in Delta APC, Uduaghan affirmed that many people would move from PDP to the APC and that people would move to APC because APC favoured Niger Delta development.
He said that there would be a mass mobilisation for the APC before 2019 in Delta state and the entire Niger Delta because they have agreed to move the region to the ruling party, APC.
Uduaghan, a Delta South Senatorial hopeful, said that as a former governor, he knew the mechanism of party politics and what button to press to oil the party political machinery to come alive.
He said: “My role in APC will be to coordinate and unite the members. We are looking to wrestle powers from the PDP in Delta state in 2019. We need to build the party from grassroots. He said that he would study the APC and advice on how to build the party.
“2019 will be an interesting political year since APC has waxed stronger than it was in 2014. It is going to be much more interesting in 2019. APC was not strong in 2014, but now it is stronger with likes of Omo-Agege, Ogboru and Emerhor in the party.”