An All Progressives Congress Delta State Chairmanship hopeful, Hon Ebiakpo Ezebri has cautioned leaders of the party not to underscore, and undermine the people of Delta South if they want to occupy ‘Osadebe House‘ in 2023 general election in the state.
Ebiakpo who frowned at the party proposed zoning formula that purportedly zoned the position of state party chairman to Delta Central, noted that the party could not marginalize Delta South and expect to 2023 governorship election to occupy Osadebe House in Asaba.
The former APC State Financial Secretary, who has picked up his nomination form at Abuja on Monday said, Delta South senatorial district occupies a strategic position and has been the decider of who becomes the governor of Delta State since 1999 till date.
According to him Chief James Ibori lost in Delta Central, but Delta South votes made him the governor, same with Uduaghan and the current governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 and 2019.
While urging the party leaders in Delta State to have a second look on the issue of the zoning of the party offices, he tasked them to ensure that all sections of the state were fairly treated.
He disclosed that, in 2015 and 2019, the APC governorship candidate came from Delta central, and in 2023, Delta Central will produce the party governorship candidate? “So, we are saying that what is good for Delta central, should be good also for Delta south.
“If for instance the governorship slot want to move from Delta central to other place, the state chairman will also move, but since the governorship slot is remaining in the Central, we are saying that the state chairman should remain in the south and there is no going back on that.
“Delta South has always played a key role in the politics of the state and anybody who is planning to undermine people of Delta South in APC will be doing that at his own peril.
“The issue here is not about occupying state offices. But is about how we are going to win 2023 elections, some of us have been in the opposition for over 22 years now and we want to win in 2023, but if we follow the proposed zoning arrangement of party offices, we know the end result, it will be another failure.
“To win Delta, I believe that the state chairman of the party should come from Delta South, and nothing more. You may not like the face of the party chairman, what is important is that at the end of the day, we are able to deliver the party in 2023.
“We believe that Delta South senatorial district cannot be left out in the scheme of things, a state chairman of the party is a key office, it will give us a sense of belonging in the party, and Ijaws have not gotten anything from APC since 2015 till date.
“So, this time around, we are only begging our leaders to give state chairman to Ijaw man, the party have a lot to benefit from Ijaw people, if the State Chairman comes from the Ijaw, and is there no one that is better qualified than me to occupy the office from the “Ijaw nation? I have remained with the opposition since 1998 and there is no prominent Ijaw that is in APC today that I have not reached out to.
“The party has a lot of votes to harvest from the Ijaw area, so why must you relegate the people and deprive the party from accessing those votes?
“So we believe that in 2023, the central is producing governor, there is no need for the central to produce the state chairman of the party. If they do that, I bet you APC will go nowhere. Quote me anywhere, if APC must do well, the chairman of the party should go to the Ijaws.
“I am an APC member all this while, I have been a committed member, I have fought, contested elections before, so I don’t think if we did the right things in the next eight years, if we are doing things right, it is for me to enjoy my party that I belong to.
“You can’t marginalize Delta South and occupy Osadebe House, it’s not possible, our people will not give their votes to those who relegates our people to the background.
“Those who are the key players in Delta know this, you cannot marginalize Delta South, you cannot shortchange us and win governorship election in Delta State, not in 2023, nor in the future, because we have played pivotal roles in making the governors of the state since 1999 till date.
“So, Delta South is a hotbed for every politician and what you bring on the table determines what the people give to you. The treatment they give to us in APC is seen by everyone, the Ijaw people are seeing it both in PDP and other political parties are seeing it. Majority of the electorates are not partisan, majority of the voters are not partisan.
“Those who determine who wins election in Ijaw land are mostly non-partisan, so when they see that you are treating their people fairly, they will in turn reward the political party with their votes during elections.
“However, since 2015 till date, APC has not treated the Ijaws and entire Delta South fairly, hence our poor outing during elections. For instance, when you treat an Isoko man bad, do you think they will vote for you. So, unless you treat them fairly, they will not support you.
“We also know level of political patronage that Delta Central and North have gotten from the APC, and we also know the little Delta south has gotten, and let us place it on the table and analyze it to see if the party has been fair to Delta South.
“With what Delta South has gotten so far, is it enough for the people to believe in APC? What we are saying is that, give Delta South this opportunity to retain the chairmanship of the party and see how we will turn the votes in.
“So what we are saying is that since South is not contesting for the governorship, this position of state chairmanship should be given to Delta South, and we believe that if the Ijaw man is able to hold that position of the chairman of the party, a lot of changes will take place in the party, and I am the best man for the job.
“As the chairman of the party, I don’t want to make my strategies of winning Delta in 2023 a subject of media discourse.
“I am capable to deliver, and if within six months they don’t see how I will deliver APC, I will resign my office as a chairman. It’s not something somebody will come and pay me salary, we want to make sacrifice, we know how the PDP has be rigging in this state. We know how they have been allotting votes to themselves.
“We know how they have being paying thugs, and how they patronize thugs by giving them garage to manage, and I am saying that I will dislodge the PDP. I know what I want to do, I know how I will go about it, to dislodge PDP, and this opportunity should be given to me.
“As the chairman of the party I will ensure that we bring all the leaders of the party onboard, close ranks, because we need everyone’s input if we must win, the time to lock some people out of the party will be a thing of the past,” he added.