Besides in 1998, governorship elections in Delta State have at all times been a contest between the Peoples Democratic Get together (PDP) and what was once the second-largest political social gathering, this time round, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) since 2015.
And forward of the 2023 common elections, not a lot has modified, however for the truth that the primary motion seems to be throughout the PDP, over who flies its ticket, as 15 aspirants have been cleared to contest for the ticket, whereas within the APC, it’s a one-horse race of Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.
The state of affairs within the oil-rich state is tense, extra so throughout the ruling PDP, because the supremacy battle by proxies of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and former governor, Chief James Ibori, has gone past social gathering ranges.
The social gathering’s Governorship Screening Committee for the South-South geopolitical zone, headed by Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, final weekend, cleared 12 aspirants from the state that appeared earlier than it in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
These cleared embrace Deputy Governor of the state, Kingsley Otuaro; Senator James Supervisor, representing Delta South; Speaker of the state Meeting, Sheriff Oborevwori; a former minister of state for Schooling, Kenneth Gbagi; a former commissioner for Finance and one-time chief of employees to Okowa, David Edevbie; a former commissioner for Lands, Survey and City Growth, Fred Majemite; a former legal professional common and commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor and Chris Iyovwaye.
Others had been a former member of the state Meeting, Ejaife Odebala; a former commissioner for Native Authorities Affairs, Onajefe-Reward Vibrant Edejewhro; Fortunate Ohworode Idike and Abel Oghenevo Esievo.
Out of the pack, solely Otuaro and Supervisor are from Delta South district, whereas the remainder are from Delta Central district, with Delta North, from the place the present governor hails, not in rivalry, ostensibly within the spirit of obeying the rotational precept.
Although nearly all of the individuals consider the rotational association ought to be on the premise of the senatorial district, through which case it might be the flip of Delta Central, made up of the Urhobo, the Ijaw from Delta South are insisting it ought to be on an ethnic foundation, particularly being a significant ethnic group, therefore two of their sons are within the race, declaring that the Urhobo (Delta Central) don’t have any regard for the association, as they’d at all times contested the governorship place in giant numbers in any election, even when they’re conscious that it was not speculated to be their flip.
Ibori has since declared Edevbie his anointed for the place. The previous principal secretary to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was additionally just lately endorsed and adopted by the apex Urhobo socio-cultural organisation, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), although some members and curiosity teams cried foul. Ibori has been out and in regards to the state searching for help for his candidate, whose selection has set him in opposition to Okowa, who, many say, might not be effectively disposed to Edevbie, for apparent causes.
It might be recalled that in 2014, Edevbie refused to drop his ambition, within the spirit of the rotation precept, and went forward to contest the first election in opposition to Okowa and misplaced by a slender margin.
Many had been fearful then that even Ibori and different stakeholders couldn’t prevail on him to drop out of the race, nearly costing Okowa the ticket, if not for the large help of the Ijaw, for which they obtained the deputy governorship ticket.
All of the aspirants have had one factor or one other to do with the governor at a degree and he’s mentioned to owe a number of a debt of gratitude for one factor or one other; therefore it’s tough to say with certainty, who he’s backing, not less than overtly, like Ibori. Some had, after assembly with him to formally intimate him of their aspirations, claimed that he had endorsed them, a growth the federal government had at all times denied.
However these days, rumours of Okowa covertly backing Oborevwori have been rife and gaining floor, extra so with the elevated momentum of the Speaker’s session throughout the state. Once more, the federal government has persistently denied this.
Conferences at completely different fora, together with on the Authorities Home in Asaba, attended by Ibori, Okowa, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, and different main social gathering stakeholders to achieve a typical floor and resolve the distinction over who to help between Ibori and Okowa appeared to have failed, as it’s alleged that each gladiators refused to shift floor.
Fearing that this might dovetail into the first and presumably the election correct, the nationwide management of the social gathering was mentioned to have waded into the matter. Certainly, the Nationwide Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, throughout his latest go to, counselled members, particularly leaders, in opposition to any act that would jeopardise PDP’s probabilities within the elections.
Within the firm of some Nationwide Working Committee (NWC) and Board of Trustees (BoT) members, Ayu said: “Since we returned to democratic governance in 1999, Delta has remained a PDP state and I congratulate all our social gathering members in Delta for the unity that has ensured that we stay a PDP state.
“Let me counsel that it’s regular to have household disagreements inside a political social gathering, however regardless of the disagreement we could have, allow us to make sure that it stays a household disagreement. Nothing by any means ought to be carried out to wreck the unity of objective which has led to this nice growth and our profitable streak.”
He went additional: “It’s mentioned that divided we fall and united we stand. The PDP household in Delta should stay united and I’ve little doubt in thoughts that come subsequent 12 months, the governor of this state and all members of the state and Nationwide Meeting will come from the PDP.
“We don’t lose elections in Delta and we aren’t going to, significantly with the efficiency of Okowa. Delta is transferring ahead and Delta will proceed to maneuver ahead and Delta will at all times take its delight of place in Nigeria as one of many shining states of the PDP household.”
Ayu recommended Deltans for his or her large help for the PDP since 1999, urging them to stay steadfast of their help within the forthcoming common elections.
There have been reviews that the highest PDP leaders used the chance of the go to to wading into the disagreement between Okowa and Ibori over who will succeed the governor to make sure the social gathering retains the state in subsequent 12 months’s common elections.
However the effectiveness of that intervention could be clearer within the coming days. For now, there’s nonetheless uneasy calm throughout the PDP caucus within the state, as some members had been but to appropriately learn the physique language of the governor, a grassroots politician and strategist who rose by means of the ranks. In addition to the bigger senatorial zoning, there was a muffled clamour for a macro-zoning association in each senatorial district.
Whereas Ibori, whose political dynasty has been on the helm of affairs within the state because the introduction of democracy in 1999, and to which Okowa belonged, makes an attempt to carry on to that monopoly of the political equipment, although Edevbie is waning, because the governor’s followers appear to be steadily transferring in the direction of Oborevwori.
Omo-Agege nonetheless unopposed in APC
WHILE the PDP battles with energy rotation and a presumably crowded race within the main election on Might 21, the problem posed by Omo-Agege, from Delta Central, being unopposed thus far, is changing into actual, particularly with Senator Peter Nwaoboshi becoming a member of forces with him
Nwaoboshi dumped the PDP final 12 months to hitch Omo-Agege in APC, making APC now management two of the state’s three senatorial districts, apart from Supervisor’s Delta South, which ordinarily might be a significant yardstick in deciding the result of the elections.
Prior to now, APC had had its fair proportion of inside crises within the state, as distinguished members, together with its former governorship candidate, Nice Ogboru; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; former speaker of the state Meeting and Govt Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Providers of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Company (NIMASA), Victor Ochei; former member of the Home of Representatives, Cairo Ojougboh, amongst others, opposed Omo-Agege’s alleged hijack of the social gathering to make sure his eventual emergence as a candidate.
Forward of the first election, there’s at the moment no identified identify or politician that may match Omo-Agege for the ticket; therefore it’s assumed in lots of quarters that he has already emerged by design.
However the permutation stays that if Okowa ought to help Delta South (the Ijaw) in opposition to Delta Central (Urhobo), the latter may dump PDP and throw their weight behind their different son, Omo-Agege, to clinch the place, relying on who will get the block delegates’ votes from Delta North, who’re awaiting a transparent route from.
There’s additionally the worry that if Ibori fails to put in his godson, Edevbie, or for no matter cause, an Urhobo, in PDP, he would possibly change help (covertly) to a different godson, Omo-Agege, in APC. However a PDP chieftain argues this may be unthinkable if one other Urhobo, not Edevbie, emerges in PDP, as such could be perceived as being egocentric and unbecoming of a superb social gathering man/chief.
For Okowa, some analysts additionally see choices which might be by no means talked about, or could by no means come to play. A faculty of thought believes he may change help to a different Urhobo or an Ijaw on one other platform if Edevbie picks the PDP ticket. That too, the chieftain insisted, would diminish his nationwide status throughout the social gathering.
For different political events, it’s nonetheless a ready sport to see if they may profit from the eventual fallout when PDP and APC misbehave.