Cairo Ojougboh and his followers should retrace their steps, support Omo Agege’s efforts in building Delta APC
In this online interview he granted Ika Mirror from Canada during the week, the Agbor born legal luminary cum politician Barr. Festus Ofume, a leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ika Federal Constituency has commended the leadership prowess of the Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ovie Omo Agege and the efforts he is making towards achieving victory for the APC in Delta State come 2023. Ofume has a Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B) from the University of Benin and a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) from the prestigious Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in Toronto, Canada is also an astute business analyst with many years of experience acquired from both North America and Nigeria. He was one time the Delta State chairman of Young Democratic Party (YDP).
Excerpts: Please may meet you sir?
Thank you for the opportunity to grant this interview. I’m Mr. Festus Ofume, a practicing lawyer based in Abuja with offices in Lagos and Abuja. I’m a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC. I’m from Ward 6, in Ika South Local Government Area, Delta State. Politically and before joining the APC I was the Delta State chairman of Young Democratic Party (YDP) and her governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election.
As a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress in Ika South, how is the party doing in your local government at the moment?
Generally, in Nigeria the APC is doing very well as a party and Ika South is not an exception. APC is waxing stronger by the day. Recently, you can see the massive defection of members of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the APC. The defection is happening everywhere including Ika South. APC is taking over everywhere in Nigeria. In fact, I can tell you without mincing words and you can take it to the bank that Ika South is APC irrespective of the fact that PDP is currently the ruling party in the state. The body language and movement of the people of Ika South have shown that they will support no other party than the APC. In the next few months,we are going to witness a serious defection of members of PDP into APC. We are harnessing them and we have assured them that APC is where all progressive minds belong. We are peace loving people. We believe in good governance and true democracy.
Why is APC in Ika Federal Constituency divided?
The APC in Ika Federal Constituency is not divided. We are one family and especially in Ika South. We have one APC where every member belongs. What you are see happening in Ika South is a situation where some group of persons who are known as political jobbers are trying to hijack the leadership of party without following the due process. This set of people have shown to us that they do not believe or understand due process. We are not like that in APC. These persons came from nowhere and want to destabilize the peace and unity of APC in Ika Federal Constituency. We have told them clearly from the beginning that there is no place for them in APC. They are not part of us. They are business people who are using our APC platform as a tool to achieve their selfish aim. The real members of APC are doing their best to grow the party. We are not deterred because we know our real members. Those agents of destabilization do not stand anywhere. We don’t have faction in APC in Ika Federal Constituency.
Recently, Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh was declared the maximum leader of APC in Ika Federal Constituency and one of the leaders in Delta State by his followers. How true is the declaration?
I was surprised when I heard the news from the media that Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh was declared the maximum leader of APC in Ika Federal Constituency. I have been asking our party leaders and executives both at the Federal and State about that position and nobody seems to know where that is coming from. The position is alien to the APC leadership at all levels. The truth is that in APC we are process oriented people and we respect hierarchy. Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh was at the House of Representatives to represent Ika Federal Constituency and as an APC member we accord him that respect. The party also have recognized other leaders like Barr Felix Morka, Hon Doris Uboh, Hon Hilary Ibude, Hon Kingsley Noye Philips, among others. For instance, Barr. Felix Morka (Chief Servant) is a pioneer leader of APC and back bone of the party in Ika South. So, to hear that some group persons under the disguise of APC came together and declare Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh as the maximum leader of APC in Ika Federal Constituency is the highest level of rascality. I asked where did that idea come from?. To me it’s an overzealousness and it should not be. However, everybody is free to say what he or she wants to say,but, all we know is that in the APC Constitution there is no provision for a maximum leader.
Why has the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo Agege not working together with Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh,Chief Great Ogboru and Rt Hon Victor Ochei?
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo Agege is the APC leader both in Delta State and South South. He is a good leader who is always making sure that APC moves forward. I don’t know where people are getting the information that he is not working with everyone in the party. Omo Agege is an open hearted leader who is dedicated in building and strengthening APC in Delta State. His office is open to all members of APC. Those who are genuinely APC members are seriously working with Omo Agege ahead of 2023. Large percentage of the successes we have recorded in Delta APC today could be attributed to Omo Agege’s leadership. So, the likes of Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Great Ogboru and Rt Hon Victor Ochei should join hands with Omo Agege to build Delta APC as the invitation is still very much open to them. There is only one APC in Delta State of which Senator Ovie Omo Agege is the leader.
What is your take on a recent interview where Hon Dr Cairo Ojougboh lambasted and called Senator Ovie Omo Agege as a maze snatcher?
I’m very disappointed in the manner and approach of Cairo Ojougboh. We expected a leader of his status to be able to address matters based on issues and be very objective in his political utterances. In trying to score points, we must not be negatively destructive. If Cairo Ojougboh wants to assert and assume leadership in Ika South and Delta North, he should show his report card of previous leadership to the people and let the followers decide on whether or not he has merited their loyalty. The time of sentiment has passed. So if a stranger provide a fatherly care and love to me, he is my father irrespective of where he comes from. As I have earlier stated, APC is made up of peace loving people who believe in due process. Senator Omo Agege is number five person in the leadership hierarchy of Nigeria and number one in Delta State as far as APC is concerned. Therefore, anyone fighting Omo Agege either in Delta State or in South South does not understand leadership procedures. APC has not done her party primary for 2023 election and I wondered why people are thinking Omo Agege is the governorship flag bearer of our party in the state. If Ojougboh, Ogboru or Ochei are interested in the governorship seat in 2023 they should talk to Deltans on their selling points and stop fighting Omo Agege. My advice to Ojougboh and his followers is that they should be dealing with issues and not persons. They should stop being personal in party politics. It might interest you to know that I from the same Ward with Ojougboh and from family basis, he is my father but, I must call a spade a spade. Even if he is my father, Ojougboh has erred. His followers should advise him. If tomorrow he becomes vice president of Nigeria we will all respect and support him based on the position which is clearly what the Senator is enjoying.. Today, Omo Agege is the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, it is normal to give him the due respect and support his vision for the party in Delta State. It is the right way to go.
Do you see APC overcoming her internal crisis in the state before 2023?
There is no crisis in Delta APC. What people are not getting clearly is thinking that PDP is still relevant in the state. PDP may be the ruling party because it has produced the incumbent governor. APC however, is the strongest political party in the Delta state. At the moment, APC controls two out of the three senatorial districts we have in the state. This is to tell you how strong our party is in the state. With the level our party is right now in the state you can imagine what is going to happen in 2023. The coming together of Senator Omo Agege and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi is already victory for our party. We are very happy because the untiring efforts of Omo Agege is yielding good results for our party. The mantle of leadership is upon Omo Agege to deliver Delta State in 2023. Therefore, if he fails, we fail, if he succeeds, we succeed. While Omo Agege exercises his constitutional and party rights, we should support him in complementing the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to move Nigeria forward.
What is the hope of your party in 2023?
APC is a goal in 2023. We are taking over governance in Delta State. The evidences are everywhere. We are seriously engaging people on issues, what APC stands for and the failures of PDP. The PDP failed in Ika South, Delta State and Nigeria in general. Our people have said NO to PDP and YES to APC. I congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and all APC leaders and stakeholders for giving us people’s oriented political party to ride on.
What message do you have for APC members in Ika South and Delta State ?
My message for APC members in Ika South and the entire state is for them to remain resolute and committed. They should be vigilant, so as to know the enemies of the party and put them where they belong. I’m using this medium to call on all APC supporters and members in Ika South and Delta North to work with our leader Senator Ovie Omo Agege so that we can achieve what is good for us in 2023. They should also avail themselves of the opportunity of the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continues voters registration exercise. Our voting cards is our voting right and strenght, hence, we should take the INEC exercise seriously. Above all, we should keep giving our leaders the necessary support and encouragement they need. Together, we are going to achieve our goal of enthroning good governance and true democracy in our state in 2023.