Delta governor hints of his plan to go to the Senate.
Amid speculations that he was planning to dump the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, on Thursday vowed to remain in the party on whose platform he was elected twice.
The governor also said he would continue to identify with President Goodluck Jonathan, who is also a member of the PDP.
There were speculations in the oil-bearing state that its governor was planning to defect to the opposition APC to contest the Delta South senatorial election in 2015.
Five of his colleagues had defected to APC in November last year. They are Chubuike Amaechi (Rivers), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto). More governors are reportedly planning to decamp.
Speaking in Asaba, Mr. Udughan dismissed his speculated defection if he was not offered the PDP ticket as not only misleading, but a figment of the imagination of those who concocted it.
“Aside being a foundation member, I am a life member of the PDP and I have a lot to offer if I am in the Senate,” he said.
“The rumour that I am planning to defect to an opposition party because of my senatorial ambition if my party does not give me its ticket is mischievous.”
The governor explained that going by the political arrangement of the PDP in the senatorial district, the Itsekiri ethnic group to which he belong would produce the next senator and therefore he was favoured to pick the party’s ticket.
The other ethnic groups in the district are Ijaw and Isoko. The current senator representing the district since 2003, James Manager is Ijaw. Stella Omu, an Isoko represented it between 1999 and 2003.
According to Mr. Uduaghan, “As a matter of fact, the next political arrangement of the party in my district favours the Itsekiris, where I hail from, so it favours me. So, do I need to break my head for the race? I have a lot to offer if I get to the Senate.
“But 2015 is still far away and I have a lot to still do as a governor. So, why should I start cracking my head over crossing to another party in the name of senatorial ambition?”
Mr. Uduaghan wondered what had happened in the PDP to warrant his defection, insisting “I will swim and sink with PDP.”
He added, “Of course, some of my colleagues have left the party because of rumour mongering. That is not enough for me to defect. Delta State is PDP.
“All the National Assembly members from the state are in PDP. The few ones in opposition party are merely waiting for the party chairman to give them their date of the day they will declare for the party (PDP). So, I have not seen what will make me to leave my party.
The governor noted that for the 14 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, the party had stood its ground, adding that “even while others were busy changing names, merging and scattering, camping and decamping, PDP remained indivisible.
“Despite that politics is getting stronger in the country, PDP is still the party to beat in Nigeria. Nobody is mourning in PDP for lost members. We are only putting things together to bring them back.
“I have assured the leader of the party in Nigeria, His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, and the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, that I am not leaving PDP.”
Stating that he had assured Mr. Jonathan and the PDP National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur, that he would not leave the party, Mr. Udughan, who has been governor since 2007, confirmed that there had been pressure on him to contest the senatorial election, but that he would make his political future known at the appropriate time.
He lamented that in the last three years, Mr. Jonathan had faced a lot of challenges, adding that the people of Delta would give him all the necessary support to enable him deliver on his mandate that produced him.
According to the governor, in the history of Nigeria, no President has faced the kind of security challenge he is facing, yet he (president) was still forging ahead.
“We have gone beyond Delta State to canvass for support for him – to say enough of these distractions, to say they should give him the chance to work,” he stressed.
Mr. Uduaghan assured Mr. Jonathan that the entire Delta State was fully behind him and would accord him all necessary support when the “right” time comes.
The governor explained that the crisis in Ugborodo in Warri South West council, which almost rubbished the $16 billion Gas City Project, was another calculated attempt by his opponent to frustrate its proposed take-off and discredit President Jonathan from achieving more of people-oriented projects.
Mr. Uduaghan said had met with the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Inspector General of Police on the crisis, adding: “Everything is being done to ensure there is adequate security in the area for the project to go on.
“My interest is to ensure that there is peace in the community and that the project succeeds because this project is beneficial not only to Ugborodo Community, Itesikiriland, Delta State but Nigeria as a whole.”