Delta state former Labour Party governorship candidate in the 2015 general elections, Mr. Great Ovedje Ogboru, on Monday goofed when he denied his own statement of interest to contest the 2019 governorship elections in the state and to test the state political waters ahead of the general elections.
In the purported statement entitled “I have Answered The Clarion Call”, HardReporters investigations unraveled that actually the statement was penned down by Ogboru himself while still on consultations when one of his media assistants made the statement public with his consent.
Speaking in confidence with HardReporters in a telephone chat, a staunch member of Ogboru’s political family and close ally, said the statement credited to the former governorship candidate emanated from Ogboru himself but only denying it because of the discouraging reactions from the public adding that he can bets with his life that the statement was from Ogboru.
“That statement was from Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, he personally penned down that statement while he was still making consultations. The statement was actually to test the political waters of Delta state to know the peoples reactions. But one of his overzealous aides just went ahead to make it public.
“The purpose was to test the ground and Ogboru himself is not happy with the kind of backlashes coming from the people. And quickly, he was admonished to deny and retract the statement hence his very close boy, Efe Duku has to come out for the damage control drive. As I talk to you Ogboru has been so furious with the aide who brought the statement to the public with his consent. We politicians lie a lot.
“If the people had welcomed the statement would Ogboru had debunked same.? You and I know the political antecedents of Great Ogboru in Delta state and for majority of the people he should go and rest and throw his weights behind more acceptable person from Urhobo nation rather than nurturing governorship ambition for 2019 again. Honestly, he has been advised severally but he wouldn’t listen.” Ogboru’s ally stated.
Ogboru, who has failed severally in his political ambition to govern Delta state since 2003 till date has to his credit more than five political parties under which platforms he was seeking his governorship ambition and in all these parties, he has always left them in leadership crisis. Only recently he cross carpeted to the All Progressives Congress, (APC) where he may be scheming to drive his governorship ambition for 2019.
According to Ogboru in his purported statement, he has been away from active politics for a short while, to allow him a quiet time to reflect on both his personal life and of the hurly burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce what he envisages for his political future.
Ogboru stated in his swearing in and oath of office taking like speech that “I am convinced Delta state can do better than this current state of affairs. And, I believe we can make the change that will make us better than this. We have unfinished business. And, I am ready to get back to work. And the result shall be a success come 2019 because the battle is the Lord’s.”
HardReporters correspondent reports that, since the leakage of the statement, Ogboru has not had any sleep following backlashes from Deltans, he probably did not bargained for.
Meanwhile, below the statement is reproduced unedited.
I have Answered The Clarion Call—Ogboru
Good morning oh wonderful, beautiful and lovely people of Delta State, my friends, well wishers, patriotic Deltans in Nigerians and in Diaspora. I have been away from active politics for a short while, to allow me a quiet time to reflect on both my personal life and of the hurly burly of politics, get some rest, reflect and then announce what I envisage for my political future. I took the backstage to allow me a quiet time with myself and family. This gave me a lot of time to think about things. Such a long period of reflection inevitably meant taking a hard look at my life and what I have done, particularly in Business and in politics. I am humbled by the opportunities that I have had to contribute to the development of our nation, from the struggle against military dictatorship, and in believing in the rule of law through the court of the land to bring forth credible elections to Nigerians and also protect their rights and mandates.
Even though I will forever regret the fact that I could not lead the various parties which I had contested on, to victory in 2003, 2007, 2011 and could not secure a declaration of victory in 2015, Deltans can be proud of what we have been able to achieve together for Delta state, Nigeria and, by extension, Africa, as a whole. Despite all the controversy that bedeviled the 2015 Delta state governorship election, we, in the Opposition, showed responsible citizenship and put the State first before our desire for power, because of our love of Delta state and Nigeria. We showed that it is possible and, indeed, desirable, to play by the rules even if it leads to unfavourable results for you. We might have lost that 2015 battle, but when the history of this period is told, I am confident that it will be most favourable to the Deltans who still believe in good leadership. Already, Delta’s image as a peaceful, stable democracy state has been greatly enhanced by the path we took, after the controversial 2015 elections, to settle the electoral dispute in court and accept the decision of the court as final. I am proud to be a citizen of this great State and I am grateful to have been given four opportunities so far in order to lead her (Delta State) into good governance.
In trying to come to a decision, I asked the Almighty for his continuing guidance. I thought about the battles we as a people have fought to get us to where we are today in a state governed by a constitution. I thought of the many people with whom I have been in some of these battles and the loyalty and hard work that we came to take for granted from each other. I thought especially hard about the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 elections, when I was privileged to be the governorship candidate of my various parties. I thought about how lucky I was to have this brilliant Deltans and friends, as my running mate in those four elections. I have been humbled by the loyalty, the confidence and trust that millions of Deltans gave to me. I thought about the huge disappointment that our loss brought to us all.
I had time to think about the lessons of history and the examples of other countries and how such lessons might impact on the current Delta state. I had long discussions with my wife, and my family members and some of the people who have been a source of unflinching support before coming to a decision. while I was away from frontline politics. I received daily phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook messages, and regular visits from Deltans from different parts of the world, from every State in Nigeria and from every Local Government Area of Delta state, young and old, men and women, great and small. The message was unanimous: they all urged me to remain in front line politics and to seek the candidacy of my party for the 2019 Governorship election of Delta state.
The message from Deltans who are not APC members, including supporters of other political parties, can be summed up as: “We have heard your message, we know who you are and what you stand for and we are ready to vote for you in our numbers in 2019.”
In spite of all the disappointments of the last few years, I cannot ignore these calls, especially when, among those urging me to run, are those who admit to supporting my opponents in previous contests, whether within the state PDP or in national elections.
Sure of the decision that we have taken regarding my future in politics. I have, as custom demands, spent my time going around the elders of my party, and a few other people to inform them of my decision before going public. I am happy to say that the message was positively received.
I have been greatly humbled by the confidence that many Deltans from all walks of life, especially young people, some of whom are yet to cast their first ballot, have in me. I am profoundly grateful that so many people consider me worthy to lead this promising State of ours, even at the young age of 58. Fortunately for me, I chose the careers where there is no retirement age: Politics.
I thank the Almighty I am able to say that I feel spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and patriotically strong enough to remain in the hurly burly of front line politics. With great humility, therefore, I can announce that, when the party opens nominations for the 2019 elections, I shall be ready, God willing, to contest for the position of APC governorship candidate for the 2016 general elections.
In so saying, I seek to lead a united party. Yes, we believe in internal competition and we must not shy away from the vibrant competition of ideas that is our custom as we battle each other for positions in the party. But, winning a party position should never be achieved at the expense of party unity. Every time a party member speaks ill of another party member, we break the hearts of the people who look to us to bring back hope into their lives. Yes, we are not perfect, and, we will make mistakes along the way, and some people will get carried away in the course of arguments. But, I believe, there is no single issue in our party that we cannot resolve amicably as a family to the satisfaction of all well-meaning parties to the issue.
Let us keep our party buoyant and healthy to make it more and more attractive to the many disillusioned Deltans out there looking for a credible alternative to the PDP. Let us protect the dignity of the Delta State in all that we do or say. We do not have to compete with the state government in attracting negative publicity to ourselves. They are quite capable of managing that on their own with their incompetence. The duty of an opposition party is to keep the government on its toes and not to step on each other’s toes. In so doing, there is one principle that I wish to see guiding the way we do things in the opposition parties. We must have mutual respect. I am particularly attracted by then Governor Ronald Reagan’s dictum: “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.”
We have a strong and ever growing party of competent men and women. Every day, more and more people, who care deeply about the direction that the current administration is taking the country, are joining our party. Let us make such people feel welcome and confident that they have made the right choice with the Delta people. In spite of all the propaganda against us, the facts are clear that APC is as diverse as the country that we are in politics to serve.
Let me make reference to one of the interesting statistics that emerged from the work done by the formidable team in compiling our case for the last election petition. In many of the places that we were supposed to have lost as opposition, the gap between our votes and that of the PDP was abnormally high. It is our duty, therefore, to close that gap and we intend to do so by two means. First we intend to win the votes of the overwhelming majority of Deltans and, second, we shall protect those votes at every level to the point of declaration.
I have no desire to lead the Deltans into another election petition in 2019. I certainly do not want to take election grievances to the streets either. I prefer we begin today to do the things that would greatly diminish any potential need to go to court. That means we want an election in which the results would be beyond dispute and would be accepted by all. That means we must secure the reforms that are necessary to enhance the integrity of the electoral system and the people who work for the system, the electoral officers.
We need to ensure the integrity of the electoral process so that we can concentrate on what matters most: enhancing the lives of the people.
The biggest threat to our democracy is the potential loss of confidence in the democratic system and the takeover of fear where there used to be hope. Our people see all around them corruption, economic hardships, falling standards in education, inefficient public service system, joblessness, especially amongst the youth, and insecurity. They see a wide gap between what some politicians promise and what they deliver. That is dangerous for all of us. We need to restore hope and confidence in our young people; we need to restore hope and confidence in the leadership of the State. Every child must have the best education that this state can provide. We need to offer young people hope, education, and skills for decent jobs with decent pay.
We can no longer postpone the need for the structural transformation of our State’s economy. Our current raw material producing economy is incapable of generating the jobs that our young people need and deserve. It is vital that we put in place a comprehensive, systematic programme for the industrialisation of Delta state, so that, by the end of the next decade, industrial products, not raw materials, will dominate Delta’s economy. We need to work out the fiscal, monetary and technological incentives that can stimulate local production of goods and services by the private sector. That is the way to deal with widespread unemployment and low wages. That is the programme that the APC, under my leadership, will be committed to delivering when given the mantle to lead the party and Deltans come 2019. Alas, all of this hinges on fixing our energy situation. Nothing must be spared to fix it. We cannot continue blaming an Act of God or the Northerners for our predicament. It is Delta made, pure and simple. And, it must be fixed by Deltans.
As the experiences of the successful countries in Asia and elsewhere have shown, government has a very important and positive role to play in spurring industrialisation and economic transformation. It needs not be state-owned; it needs rather the vision, commitment and intelligent support of the state. But, to succeed in industrialising Delta State, we must show a far greater seriousness in building the State’s infrastructure, including not only power, but also housing, transport, water, irrigation, state football league and ICT. I believe we could have done much more recently even with the limited resources available. A major impediment to this is the worrying deficit in value-for-money when it comes to public procurements. Two years on, our new Finance commissioner and the state governor, His Excellency Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, continues to struggle to plug that fiscal hole instead of spending his vital energies to stimulate the state economy.
The current economic difficulties call for efficient and honest management of public resources and projects. Much of the difficulties facing the country today can be traced to widespread corruption and the apparent inability on the part of the current Delta state leadership to fight corruption. The depressing reality is that corruption is costing the state jobs, as government chooses to pay more money for less. Corruption is denying our children money to fund their education, pay teachers, pensioners Local government staffs and civil servants, ask yourself why? Contractors are not being paid. Ask yourself why? Our development partners are refusing to release funds to support our budget, ask yourself why? Salaries are in arrears, ask yourself why? Unlike what we are witnessing today, what Delta needs is a government that makes the issue of giving value for money the underlining principle for managing public funds. We need that to develop greater confidence in the economy.
I have learnt a lot in my four decades in front line politics. I continue to learn. I have made mistakes in my life, I have said things I could on hindsight have put better. I have tasted defeats and also chalked some successes. I have played my part to see multiparty democracy becoming entrenched in our nation. I want to be part of winning the next challenge: which is to build a modern, industrialised society in Delta state, where every citizen has the opportunity to prosper. This is the driving force of my life. I will stay true to what I believe in, no matter the pressures to do what is convenient.
I am clear and convinced about the direction in which we must go as a state. I have been consistent on this because I believe in it. I am convinced Delta state can do better than this current state of affairs. And, I believe we can make the change that will make us better than this. We have unfinished business. And, I am ready to get back to work. And the result shall be a success come 2019 because the battle is the Lord’s.I want to use this opportunity to thank every Deltan who have stood strong for me all these while, for their unfailing love and support, for their relentless prayers and goodwill messages. My heart is indebted to you. I am forever Grateful. And to my good friend, my brother Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, senator representing the Delta Central, Thank you, you have been a great strength and support.
God Bless the good people of Delta state.