Following uncertainties over the legitimate flag bearer of the APC for the Delta State House of Assembly position, Mr. Edwin Okoh, Ika South APC Chairman has empathically stated that Barr. Felix Morka is the flag bearer of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He disclosed while interacting with newsmen on the outcome of the Primary election that produced Barr Felix Morka as the party’s candidate.
What led to the emergence of Barr Felix Morka as the APC candidate, what really happened on that day?
First of all, I am EDWIN OKOH, and I am the Ika South LGA Chairman of the All Progressives Congress. We are in a democratic era where partisan politics is the platform through which people express their intentions to contest for public offices and what was observed on Friday 5th of October, 2018 was one of those programs packaged by the APC nationwide for the election of a candidate from a pool of aspirants for the position of House of Assembly.
In Ika South, prior to that day, there were eight (8) contestants including the eventual winner, Barr Felix Morka.
Can you tell us the names of the other seven aspirants?
Yes. They are Mr Moses Ebede, Mr Lucky Monye, Mr Hilary Isima, Mr Louis Otele, Hon Williams Eluma, Mr Monday Alika and Miss Queen Wanda Monye.
Why was Barr Morka the only aspirant present during the primaries?
Thank you for the nice observation. As to “Why”, I do not for certainty, have an answer. What happened was that in my capacity as Chairman, a day to the election, I went to the DPO, Agbor Divisional Headquarters after receiving a notice of the exercise from the State chapter of the party informing everyone of the venue for the Primaries. Armed with that information, I hurried to the DPO, introduced myself and stated my reason for which was to notify him about the party’s activities taking place the following day and that I needed all contestants to have a level playing field, and maintained that everyone should be on ground to participate in the democratic exercise.
He, (CSP Akintunde Oyeniran), in response, told me that he had never seen a party Chairman coming to him to request for such and promised to mobilize his men towards the cause. I also requested that he convene a security meeting with the *eight contestants* that morning in order to brief them on proper conduct during the election. Some honoured the invitation while some others never showed up and during the meeting they were briefed on the need to be security conscious and be of good conduct. He also told them to meet at the venue approved by the party for the conduct of the election which was 110, Baleke Street, Agbor.
As early as 9:30am, forty (40) officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, SSS, SIB, NSCDC, INEC and the Nigerian Army were all gathered at the venue to make sure everything went smoothly. The DPO Agbor and that of Abavo division were also present from the beginning of the exercise to the end. None of the other contestants showed up at the approved venue for reasons best known to them, except Barr Felix Morka.
So, when the Returning Officers from Asaba, sent by the party arrived, they called out the names of all the contestants and discovered that only one contestant out of eight on their list was on ground, they had no other option than to affirm Barr Felix Morka as the unopposed candidate for House Of Assembly on the platform of APC in Ika South LGA.
There are rumours in town that the parallel primaries was due to the factionalization of the party in Ika South. How true is this?
As far as I’m concerned, the APC in Ika South is not factionalized, the reason is simple. There was preparation before the primaries and all party members were notified and a venue was set at 110, Baleke Street. If there was really a faction they would have suggested to take the exercise to a neutral ground like Ika National Hall or the government field, but they didn’t do that. The exercise was conducted at the party secretariat. So there’s no faction in Ika South APC.
From what transpired, don’t you think other aspirants might decide to take legal action?
An aspirant that is aggrieved has the right to challenge the outcome of the election and the most civilized and acceptable way of seeking redress is to take up legal action. If that happens, it will be a welcome development. The INEC window for conduct of primaries has since closed anyway. The problem is that they obviously refused to play the game according to the rules. They were informed by the party to which they claim membership and they were also informed by the DPO, but they decided not to come and that’s nobody’s fault. So if they decide to go to court, it will be them versus them.
Some persons are of the view that other aspirants tried to gain entrance into the venue, but were barred from entering?
Nobody barred them. They could not have been barred. Not at all. Why then was a special security meeting convened by the Agbor DPO with all aspirants during which he personally informed them of the venue and the *need for good conduct by all aspirants.
They deliberately did not come because to them that place just wasn’t the venue that they anticipated. But the Party at the State Chapter chose and communicated the venue to us, to INEC, to the Police and to all the aspirants.
From the foregoing, doesn’t it indicate that the party is not united?
If you are aware of what really happens during primaries like this all over the nation, the tactics is like this, there must be contest which must surely end in grievances. There is a common denominator in the minds of all and that is their membership to the party. So now that the whole window for the selection of candidates is closed for conduct of primaries, if you’re not in this party, then you’re outside the party. But if you remain in the party, you must carry the party along by working for the party. Certainly, after some time everything will simmer down and everybody will think aright.
What’s your message to APC members in Ika South in light of the outcome of the primaries?
The entirety of the membership of our great party is hereby advised to calm down and see themselves as members of one family with a common goal to entrench themselves into the respective government houses starting from the state House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate, Governor and the Presidency.
That is our dream, to take over everywhere and for us to do this, we must be united.