Uduaghan Panics, Alleges Plot To Block His Access To Jonathan

Source: OUR REPORTER - thewillnigeria.com
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WARRI, DELTA, May 23, (THEWILL) – Embattled Governor of Delta State and Chief James Ibori’s cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has alleged that some "persons or groups of persons" have "built a wall around the Presidency."

Uduaghan raised the alarm at a Delta State Elders' Council meeting in Warri on Saturday, alleging that ‘it is selfish' to shied Jonathan from relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

The Delta Elders' Council has Chief Gabriel Sefia as its chairman, while members include Mr. Simeon Ebonka; former state PDP Chairman, Dr. Pius Sinebe; Senator Fred Brume, Prof B.I.C. Ijeoma; Prof. Sam Oyonvbaire; Senator Stella Omu; and Senator Francis Nwajei amongst others. 

The governor and his cousin, Chief James Ibori were alleged to have been among the group of politicians and businessmen who tried every trick in the book to ensure that Jonathan did not emerge as either Acting President or President during the Yar’Adua illness saga. Uduaghan and Ibori were also alleged to have funded the various plots.

"Let me state that no person or group of persons should try to build a wall around the Presidency and from that wall, start dispatching stories that are not true as well as blackmailing people. If you push everybody away, it may not be to our benefit because the Presidency cannot succeed in isolation,” the governor said in a statement signed by his spokesman," Mr. Sunny Ogefere.

THEWILL had reported weeks ago of plans by Chief Edwin Clark, who is very close to President Jonathan, and some disgruntled politicians in the state to whittle down Chief Ibori and Uduaghan’s hold on Delta State PDP machinery, to enable them take control of the state PDP.

The first phase of their plan was to isolate Uduaghan, which was achieved a few days ago, when Chief Ibori was arrested in Dubai and is currently being processed for a possible extradition to London, to face alleged money laundering charges.

Recall Ibori had consistently maintained before he went underground that his prosecution was all about the 2011 election and the plot to take Delta State party machinery away from his control.

But Uduaghan in his statement has vowed that he would not be shielded from the president. "I have refused to be pushed away. Mr. President needs the Governor of Delta State and the Governor of Delta State needs Mr. President. I have easy access to Mr. President because Mr. President recognizes that I am the Governor of a critical state in Nigeria."

Multiple sources in Asaba told THEWILL over the weekend that though Uduaghan has become jittery following Ibori’s lockdown, he is optimistic about his second tenure push. The governor who for over three years had refused to pay state contractors for fear of funding an opposition candidate, authorized the release of funds a few days ago to pay contractors that the state owed between N1 million and N5 million naira, in a bid to appease them.

Uduaghan however said he enjoys a good relationship with the President adding that contrary to speculations that he worked against Jonathan becoming Acting President, he said he was instrumental to his emergence as both Acting President and President.

"Contrary to the impressions being created by some persons, the state (Delta State) through the active participation of myself and members of the National Assembly from the state, were involved in the emergence of the then vice- president as Acting President and President. I remain unruffled by the actions of those painting negative pictures about how the President emerged," he touted. 

"Those who truly love Mr. President should collectively work for the success of Mr. President as well as the betterment of the Niger Delta region because the success or failure of Jonathan’s Presidency will not be attributed to the President alone. 

"It is our collective responsibility, not one person's responsibility, but our collective responsibility as a people of the Niger Delta to give him (President) the maximum support.
The success of Jonathan’s Presidency is a collective responsibility particularly for us, the people of the Niger Delta," Uduaghan added.

He encouraged those interested in challenging him for the state governorship seat to declare their intentions but urged them to campaign in peace and eschew bitterness.