New Telegraph

How PDP leadership caused party’s defeat in Ebonyi guber election –Ogba

Senator Obinna Ogba is the chairman, Senate Committee on Youth and Sports. In this interview, he speaks on 10th National Assembly leadership, unimpressive performance of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the general election, and his support for All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Ebonyi State.

You supported the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State, Francis Nwifuru, instead of the candidate of your party, Ifeanyi Odii. What informed that position?

I am one person, who believes that power belongs to God. Even if man wants to stop you, he can only succeed if God used that per- son. So, I believe that those who stopped me were used by God. So, I wish them well but I am very happy that the person I supported, Hon. Francis Nwifuru, won the election convincingly and that shows them that man pass man too. So, I appeal to the people of the state to give maximum support to the incoming government led by Nwifuru. He is a young man with potentials. As I always say, administrations can never be the same. The Walter Feghabo administration can never be the same with the Simeon Oduoye administration. Oduoye’s administration is different from Dr. Sam Egwu’s administration and Egwu’s administration is different from Martin Elechi’s administration and that Elechi’s own is also different from Dave Umahi administration. So, I am very sure that the Hon. Nwifuru administration will also be different from the Umahi administration. I know that to preside over the House of Assembly for eight years is not a joke. Nwifuru has gathered a lot of experience; he has also known the state in and out.

Is there any area you would want him to concentrate on and do you have any advice for him?

I am not Nwifuru’s adviser but as an Ebonyian, I know that the outgoing governor has done well, especially in the area of infrastructure. He has even said to my hearing that he will empower Ebonyi people to make them stand tall with others outside the state. Other advices to him will be private and not for public consumption. Do not assume that anything will happen with our support to him no matter what an elder told you. If there are five people who ensured that Umahi becomes governor, I am one of them. Umahi is still my incumbent governor. I will not discuss him I’m public. So, I want to assure you that Hon. Nwifuru will do very well, don’t entertain fear.

There have been agitations for elections into all the positions in the country to hold one day against two days. What is your take on that?

I am one of those who are sponsoring a bill to amend the Electoral Act. We are going to change the system of election. All the elections must hold one day. But if it fails, it is no longer my making because it’s waste of money dividing elections into days. Since they can give you three ballot papers, they can give you five. You just go and cast your votes. It will save money, it will save lives, it will save so many things.

By June this year, the 10th National Assembly will be inaugurated. Some ranking members and some green horns have indicated interest to contest leadership of the two houses of the National Assembly. What is your impression on this?

I think it should be left for the National Assembly members; the senators and members of the House of Representatives to decide who will lead them but you don’t rule out ranking because if you bring a fresher, he may not have had the opportunity to go through the rules of the National Assembly. The Senate has rules, the House of Representatives has rules and it is part of the privileges ranking members of the National Assembly members will enjoy. I don’t want my governor to say that I don’t want him to be a Senate President but from the discussions I am having, the only way a fresher can come is that they can elect a Senate President today and impeach him or her after four months or five months, then all of them are now ranking because the moment you stay three months, you are now a ranking senator. So, that person can be elected but for now, it is difficult because the first assignment in National Assembly is election. So, the new person will not even know when to hit the gavel and when not to hit the gavel because the first thing is election and after election, the President takes the seat. He has to adjourn and there will be a motion. So, if a new person is elected, the person may not know what to do. So, let us allow National Assembly members to do their job.

What do you make of the suspension the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP slammed on some stakeholders of the party over the 2023 elections?

Whether we like it or not, Ebonyi is our state, political parties are just vehicles to get to our destination. The leaders of the state decided that the north zone should produce the governor but the NWC of PDP for reasons best known to them shot itself on the foot. It decided to give its ticket to the incumbent governor’s cousin.

So, if anyone is talking about suspension, he or she can write to them to do so. The fact is that it is the NWC that deserves to be suspended starting from the national chairman who lost his booth, ward and state.

All the conspirators who gave tickets to those who understood their language lost. Our presidential candidate had no business contesting the election, it should had been left for an Igbo man. Even the presidential candidate is battling to reclaim his state. It is even made worse because they are battling a woman.

Do you think PDP will still bounce back to winning ways after its unimpressive performance in the general election?

The people love PDP. It is just the management of the party. No other party is strong as the PDP. Labour Party surprised many people with its exploits but it was in the presidential election. Those in Labour Par- ty are those angry over what is happening in our party.

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