As the battle by the people of Delta North begins to determine who succeeds Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan 2015, the ward congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ika south local government area last Saturday turned bloody, sending to the hospital a former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Martins Okonta.
Trouble started at the state PDP secretariat in Asaba when Mr. Okonta protested against the choice of the Returning Officer for the ward congress. His protest resulted in a bloody fracas between him and other party members who resisted his objection to the Returning Officer.
It was gathered that Mr. Okonta was advancing the interests of a former Secretary to the state government and current National Assembly member from Delta North, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. In the heated argument which followed, Mr. Okonta, who is the himself the representative of Ika South constituency in the Delta Assembly, was assaulted he lost consciousness. He was immediately rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital.
Speaking later to our correspondent at the hospital, Mr. Martins Okonta accused Cairo Ojuogboh, a former member of the House of Representatives, representing Ika Federal constituency, of having attacked him. “Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh brought his personal assistant to be the Returning Officer for the congress which I protested against and before I knew it, he attacked me with a bunch of keys in his hand and before I could know it I found myself in the hospital.”
When contacted, Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, who was a Presidential Aide to Late President Umaru Yar’Adua on legislative matters, denied all the allegations saying Martins was acting Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Nduka Irabor’s script because “Okowa want to be governor at all cost.”
According to Ojuogboh, “Dr. Senator Ifeanyi Okowa sent Martins Okonta to the PDP secretariat and I was there with a fellow called Hillary, Okowa’s PA to be the returning officer for Ika South. They argued it out and the party said they want a neutral person. Then they choose one Oritsbubemi Nanna from Warri North LGA of Delta state which was okay by me and I left the place. When fight and everything started I wasn’t there I had already left. I wasn’t at the venue and I have nothing to do with Okonta, it is what Dr. Okowa asked him to do that he is doing. This thing started in the year 2002. Dr. Okowa and Nduka Irabor, are the problems of Ika South, I don’t know what Dr. Okowa and Nduka Irabor is looking for Ika south. For heaven sake let Deltans help me to appeal to Dr. Okowa and Nduka Irabo4 to leave Ika South alone. It is Dr. Okowa and Nduka Irabor’s scripts that Martins Okonta is playing out. Oritsbubemi Nanna is from Warri North, the party chose a neutral person but because Okowa wants to be governor at all cost and want to lord it over Ika south, he said Hillary must be the person who will conduct the ward congress. I was told Okonta was the one who fought at the secretariat, I wasn’t there. This is not the first time, in the year 2000 we all went to Alagbon, from there to Abuja, they hired assassins to come and assassinate me, they shot at my car after that they started writing all sorts of nonsense . Dr. Okowa hired assassins to come and kill me.”
In his reaction, the Returning Officer, Mr. Oritsbubemi Nanna, who was also attacked, accused Mr. Okonta of masterminding the fracas.
According to him, “I was the Returning Officer for the PDP ward congresses of Ika south local government. The secretary of PDP Delta State, Chief Solomon Ogba was calling names, my name was called and was asked to come to the party chairman’s office where the National officers were sitting so that we can be accredited but on getting there we were stopped at the door and it was at this point that one Hon. Martins Okonta came from nowhere and protested that I cannot go in as the Returning Officer saying that it is his nominee that will go in as the Returning Officer and that as an Honourable member of the House of Assembly he must be accorded respect and it was then the party chairman told him that it’s not done that way and all of a sudden Okonta attacked him in the chairman’s office right in the presence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Hon. Ossai Ossai both of the Federal House of Representatives and other party members. I am from Warri North local government area of Delta State, precisely Koko.”
During investigations, some interested parties accused Senator Okowa, who hails from Ika North East local government, as having set in motion the necessary mercenaries throughout the state to plant his loyalists in the party so as to be favoured with the party governorship ticket
Culled from saharareporters