The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign organization has reacted to the decision by the Delta All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru, to evade the invitation to a public debate by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, describing his excuses as lame, pathetic and cowardly.
In a press statement issued and signed by the organisation’s director of publicity, Dr. Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza, the party described Ogboru as a serial contestant with nothing to offer Deltans.
The press statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to comments by the governorship candidate of the Delta State All Progressives Congress, Chief Great Ogboru, declining Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s challenge to all governorship candidates in the state to a public debate.
“Chief Ogboru, while evading the sincere and sportsmanlike call for a debate, once again displayed his penchant for lies and deception by accusing Governor Okowa of avoiding the 2015 governorship debate.
“To set the record straight, the Delta state PDP campaign organization wishes to inform the general public that the Okowa campaign organization in 2015 had, in a press release which was widely circulated then, stated that then Senator Okowa would not be participating in the debate referred to.
“This was based on the fact that the PDP had instituted a court process asking the court to disqualify the Labour Party, LP and All Progressives Congress, APC candidates from contesting the 2015 Delta state gubernatorial elections on the grounds that the manner of their emergence had violated section 85 (I) of the Electoral law (as amended), which states ‘that a political party shall give the commission (INEC) at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress etc., for electing members of its executive committees or nominating candidates for any of the elective offices.”
“It is on record that our campaign organization’s spokesman at that time, Rt. Hon. Funkekeme Solomon, who is now the director general of Okowa 2019 campaign, explained that Okowa would have loved to be part of the debate, but that doing so while the case was in court would amount to undermining the leadership of his party while giving legitimacy to the candidacy of Olorogun O’tega Emerhor of the APC and Chief Great Ogboru of the then Labour Party to contest the Delta 2015 governorship election.
“It is also on record that Chief Ogboru himself did not participate in the said debate, which took place on March 24, 2015. By declining Governor Okowa’s call for a public debate this time around, Chief Ogboru is simply living up to his reputation as an artful dodger so it is disingenuous for him to lay any accusations against Governor Okowa.
“His claim that he is an issues-based politician has been debunked by the very fact that he has declined to participate in a platform where issues would be discussed.
“The fact is that Chief Great Ogboru and his co-travelers in the factious APC are intimidated by the record achievements of Governor Okowa who has just been voted MAN OF THE YEAR through a public poll independently conducted by Silverbird Television.
“Our multiple award-winning governor has endeared himself to Nigerians, particularly Deltans, with his monumental achievements in road and physical infrastructure, human capital development and his enviable credentials as an exemplary democrat.
“Finally, that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has kept his promise to Deltans is there for all to see, except to those blinded by selfish ambition, mindless greed and ethnic bigotry. We are confident that Deltans will reward him with a huge mandate to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years to build a stronger Delta founded on prosperity, peace and progress.”