Ogor Andrew Ida, a Port Harcourt-based businessman cum politician is the presumed winner of the April 20, 2017 All Progressives Congress (APC) primary for tomorrow Local Government chairmanship Election in Oju LGA of Benue State. In this interview with jameibechi.com and johnogi.blogspot.com, he explains how his victory was overturned that smacks of electoral robbery.
You were the presumed winner of the APC Chairmanship Primary Election in Oju LGA, what do you feel about it?
It is because of the election I am in Makurdi. I feel nothing other than I truly won the poll, but the governor of the state and the APC chairman and the party hierarchy told me to leave the ticket for Austine Okwuche, my opponent without a reason and I did not know this is how it is in Benue party politics. Or is it because there is nobody from Oju LG to speak for us? Or worse still, they are after someone who would be their stooge; or do they think I, Ogor Andrew, cannot do for them what Austine could?
How did you win the primary?
I won the election by scoring 275 votes against Okwoche’s 71, but the governor of the state with the party chairman asked me to stepdown for Ochi Okwoche who scored just 71 votes in the primary I don’t know the reason why they said I should stepdown for Okwoche.
When and where were you asked to stepdown for your opponent?
It was on April 29 at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi.
What was the term that guided the reasons?
They said I should leave the position for Ochi Okwoche for now and produce Vice Chairman with two supervisory councilors, but they have reneged on the vice chairmanship slot.
Campaign posters are out and we saw Austine Okwoche and a lady, known as Felicia on the poster, is the lady not your nomination?
She can never be the vice chairman nominee because that is not my choice. In the names that I have submitted to APC Secretariat, Angela Itachu is my VC nominee.
That means you won and you were not given the ticket; instead, they gave you the vice chairman and councillorship positions to choose from as alternatives and that has not been honoured?
That is exactly what the story is, I met with the Governor last week Saturday at Radio Benue premises where he asked me with my lawyer, Barr. Joshua Alobo Joshua, to bring APC chairman from Oju LG, but when I brought the man there was no chance to see the governor up till now. We made efforts to see the governor without success.
You engaged Barr. Alobo Joshua’s services as your lawyer in the election issue?
Yes, he’s my lawyer.
Did you at any point disengage him? This question arises because there’s a rumour making the rounds that you disengaged him.
I have not disengaged him from any service at all, I engaged him in this election matters.
Last week, some people wrote a letter from your Campaign Organization to the governor appreciating him for his gesture of giving you alternative slots thereby accepting what has been given to you. What is your reaction to that letter?
If you see that post on social media or anywhere just know those are the people betraying the Igede Nation. I have not instructed anybody to do so.
You are dissatisfied with the way the governor of the state handled your victory, what are you doing to actualize the mandate that was given to you of which you feel robbed of?
That’s the reason you are seeing me on and doing trying to meet with the governor for a way out. But you know as a governor of a state, it is not very easy to see him like that but the little chance he gave me, he told me that before I could even make two sentences he had already said there is no chance that I should see him back in the evening while in the evening waiting for the protocol officer to create a room for me to see him but, up till date I have not be able to see him and you know very well that even if I can be opportune to have his number is not too easy for the governor to pick calls anyhow. Moreso that he does not have my number to know that this is Hon. Ogor Andrew number from Oju LG. So I am am not sure if I call him he can pick my call, so I don’t call him but send him text messages, writing my name at the buttom of the message but no reply up till date.
What do you think is responsible for the ‘robbery’of the victory or why was it that another candidate is preferred to you?
I cannot tell you precisely that this is the actual reason the other aspirant is preferable to the party leadership to me, because I won the election gallantly but I don’t know the reason because am not in their minds and I am not in their hearts nor am I in their inner meetings whenever they are discussing . So I cannot actually tell you.
Ok what is the position of the state chairman of the party over this matter? Is he not aware?
He’s so much aware even the last time I called him, he told me that he was in Lagos, and that when he comes back he will attend to my letter and my issue, up till today if I call him he never picks my calls anymore.
I remember there was a time that the whole issue, you and your supporters alongside took the protest to the office of the Deputy Governor. So what happened there?
The Dep. Gov. was in a security meeting then throughout that day. He only sent to address us that he is going to handle the matter and get back to us, but nothing has been done in that regard up till date, so I believe that Benue state leadership is not taking Oju people and their popular will as anything.
So what is the position of your supporters over the issue?
They are still praying to God, if there’s any way that God will touch the heart of the governor and the APC chairman in the state.
It is less than 48hours to the June 3, LG Election, and from what you are saying, does it mean that you have resigned to fate alongside your supporters or is there any other thing you want to do about it?
I have not decided to support my opponent, I have not decided to support the person that is trying to rob me, but what I said is, a blinking of an eye is enough for God to do whatever thing He wishes to do so I believe I remain the candidate of APC.
Are you going to court?
No am not going to court