A group under the aegis of the APC Electoral Watch Group, working for Great Ogboru, a Delta State governorship aspirant seeking to contest on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Ovie Omo-Agege, the senator representing Delta Central in the National Assembly, has rejected the party's position on direct primaries.
The group, which hinged its position on forestalling crisis, also accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Delta State government of piling up arms ahead of the 2019 elections.
A series of petitions to the Inspector General of Police and AIG Zone 5 Benin City, dated August 14, 20 and 21, 2018, signed by the group's counsel, Itse Elijah Wilkie, of the Wilkie Law Firm, obtained by SaharaReporters, read: “There are already reports of mass acquisition of firearm by politicians and thugs to be used and deployed for the evil plot; Ubeji town in Warri South local government is a warehouse of arms for one senatorial aspirant under the platform of PDP.
"In Uvwie, the Effurun garage is the warehouse of arms of PDP for the upcoming elections; the cache of arms warehouse by [agents] of the state governor in various communities to be deployed for purpose of foisting PDP victory in the state.”
The Ogboru/Omo-Agege group, further alleged that the parallel APC faction and executives led by O'tega Emerhor and Cyril Ogodo are “moles in Delta APC who are currently collaborating with the PDP state government to disrupt any planned direct primaries to ensure that Ogboru does not emerge the APC governorship candidate, or Delta APC does not produce any governorship candidate to challenge Okowa”.
In the petition titled: ‘State Sponsored Thuggery, Harassment, Brutalisation, and Threats of Assassination of Opponents of Delta State Government,’ the group alleged that part of the “plot is to instigate commotion in any public event where any of their targets is and exploit the confusion to kill their target”.
In one of the petitions addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 5 Benin, the group appealed to the AIG to write a security report to the "appropriate quarters, but not limited to the presidency, the national chairman, APC, DSS, to the effect that direct primaries will be very bloody and several persons will be killed”.
Citing the case of an alleged attack on Senator Omo-Agege few months ago during his empowerment programme at Effurun market, the group accused the some policemen of compromise and urged the Police boss to overhaul the police leadership in the state.
They also called for provision of “security escort drawn from the force headquarters for Chief Great Ogboru”.
"We have been informed that in a meeting held on 20th August, 2018, by the Governor of Delta State, PDP and their agents in APC, arrangements were concluded to import mercenaries of terrorism from other states to scuttle and ruin the primaries of the APC in Delta State.
"We implore the IGP to take special interest in the activities of the Delta State Police Command, through the setting up of an interventionist outfit led by an officer of the same status as the CP or above the CP rank to superintend security matters during the primaries, as well as the general election.
"The special interventionist units should be made for the 25 local government areas and specially directed by the IGP to drive the primaries and the general election. Alternatively, deployment of DPOs and Area Commanders from the core North with friendly disposition to President Buhari to take over the police divisions in the state and area commands," the group said.
On July 20, 2018, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege had supervised the conduct of direct primary for the Osun State APC governorship race, and while declaring the result at the party’s secretariat in Osogbo, was quoted as saying “direct primary adopted provided a level playing field for all aspirants”.
Reacting to the Ogboru/Omo-Agege's group call for cancellation of direct primaries over security threats, a chieftain of the party, who preferred not to be named, expressed shock that the same Senator was said to be supporting the decision to adopt direct primaries.
"Omo-Agege and Ogboru are afraid that should direct primaries be adopted, their chances at the primaries are very slim, unlike when delegates are used, which they would handpick, since they assume they now hold the recognised structure in the state. What they are doing is not too different from what a number of APC state governors, who are afraid of direct primaries are doing; fighting Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
"The difference in this Ogboru/Omo-Agege fight is too ingeniously and dubiously hidden under security threat to hoodwink Oshiomhole to approve that indirect primaries be adopted for Delta State. They are determined to, through these petitions, blackmail the party’s national chairman and security agencies into accepting that there are special and unique security threats in Delta State, and by doing so, the party will be forced to do their bidding, which they believe is the only way they can become the governorship and senatorial candidates of APC in Delta State in the 2019 elections,” he said.
The APC chieftain, therefore, called on the security forces and the party’s national chairman to disregard "their false alarm”.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Charles Aniagwu, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, who promised to respond to the allegations against the governor, had not done so as at the time of filing in this report.