A die hard critic of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta state, Barrister Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, has dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC), a party under which platform he criticized the PDP for over three years in Delta state.
Oghenesivbe, who came into prominence during the run up to the 2015 general elections, began his ride into the murky waters of politics when he emerged as the communication manager of the a PDP aspirant, Tony Obuh during the preparations for the party primaries in 2014.
But Obuh, who was powerfully supported by the former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, lost the PDP primaries to the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. Following the woeful failure of his candidate, Oghenesivbe was taken over by his Urhobo APC governorship candidate, Olorogun Otega Emerhor.
His job was principally to handle the communication and media job of the Emerhor, a job he did perfectly well, but since APC has no stronghold in Delta, his candidate could not win the election, although there were allegations of rigging, an issue which has become prominent in the politics of Delta state.
And as a trained lawyer, Oghenesivbe powerfully engaged the Okowa campaign team through the media. During the campaigns leading to the 2015 elections, Oghenesivbe rolled out media strategies that the Okowa multi-media crew could not circumvent. His main tool was the online and social media, especially the facebook where he was vigorously attacking the Okowa's government.
Even as his candidate lost the election, he was still vigorously campaigning against the Okowa’s government. During the tribunal through to the Supreme Court judgment, Oghenesivbe powerfully engaged the Okowa's team and brought them down with his media strategies. He dug out the past history of Okowa, some of his short comings, where he failed, the corruption allegations against him and the need for his probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
His writing prowess and application of language could not be matched by the multitude of Okowa’s team, they were left on the defensive but their defensive engagement could actually not convince the average and even the educated people of Delta state. However, his media strategy could not give any political success to his master, Otega Emerhor. Eventually, Emerhor fell out at the Supreme Court in attempt to overturn the electoral victory of Governor Okowa.
But as soon as the pursuit of electoral litigation was over, the APC in the state became enmeshed in internal crisis. There was a serious leadership problem which rocked the party and tore it apart. Various groups broke out with dissident views on who should emerge as leader of the party which is yet to gain foothold in the state.
The internal squabbles disintegrated the party and the members were sharply divided. This development led to the national headquarters of the APC delegating minister of Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, to take over the leadership of the party in the state pending when peace eventually returns.
But in the process of all these, the noise about the return of the former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who has been in London prison, began making wave but with no specific date of his return in mind. While the drama continues, unknown to the people, Ibori was already in Nigeria and in a matter of hours he was in Oghara, his community where he escaped from over five years ago.
But with the belief that the return of Ibori, who is widely known as the father of Delta politics and a demi-god to the people undermining the degree of corruption leveled against him, Oghenesivbe made a U-turn. Within a few days of Ibori’s return who is of Urhobo extraction with him, Oghenesivbe tendered a resignation letter to the APC, stating various reasons for his resignation, waved the APC and his former employer bye bye and defected to the PDP, a party he vigorously campaigned against, naming it the most corrupt party in Nigeria.
He changed his facebook profile picture to Ibori and began singing ‘Delta is in safe hands’, the campaign slogan of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. For him, change is inevitable. In politics there is no permanent enemy, there is no permanent friend.
Although the governor he campaigned against, calling for prosecution, is yet to make any statement over his defection, some members of the PDP have started beckoning on him to come quickly over and align forces with them so as to powerfully wipe out the existence of APC from Delta state.
Already, he had started giving the APC names, saying the change slogan which it used to win the 2015 election it cannot achieve it. He was a die hard promoter of President Muhammadu Buhari and had a group he headed in the South south but had abandoned them all for the PDP.
PAY ATTENTION: Get the latest News on NAIJ.com News App
While some described him as a never-do-well in politics, others see his action as part of politics in Nigeria, following the constitutional provision of freedom of association. His defection actually may not be unconnected with the belief that Ibori, though yet to speak on his next line of political consideration, may remain in PDP and if Ibori remains, and being a PDP man, the hope of APC winning any election in the state may well be ruled off.
This is so because any political decision made by Ibori remains unconsciously binding on all power brokers in the state as he is seen as the one who makes the final political decision in the state. Even many of the opposition party members in the state are his die-hard loyalists. In this wise, any party he turns to, there is every certainty that the people will follow him without blinking the eyes. Oghenesivbe's defection to PDP therefore may not unconnected with this assumption.
The sitting governor Ifeanyi Okowa cannot wish the decision of the former governor away with a wave of the hand. He was a beneficiary of his government. He was a commissioner when Ibori was governor.
Even his election into the governorship of the state in 2015, Ibori played a significant role as he was allegedly traveling to the London jail for his political blessings. His emergence as the governor, many say, was the result of the agreement Ibori had between him and the immediate past governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan. Hence, he respects his decision in the affairs of the state.