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Delta 2011: Titanic battle for Senatorial seats

By Hugo Odiogor
A Vanguard survey of the political landscape in Delta State shows that there is a proxy war playing out between camps loyal to elder states man, Chief Edwin Clark and the former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori over who maintains a dominance of the political landscape in the state.

A slice of what to expect is playing out at the crowded race for nomination tickets for elections into the legislature at the national and state levels where the two camps are relentless in their quest for dominance. A semblance of what to expect came in via a text message circulated in August to attack Senator Patrick Enebeli Osakwe’s 12 years in the Senate.

Political watchers contend that his performance in the past 12 years is below average. Senator Osakwe however used the occasion of his 62 birthday on August 11, 2010, to dismiss the allegations of his critics.

Notable among those challenging  Osakwe’s job are: Dr. Ifeanyi A. Okowa, Hon. Ned Nwoko, Dr. Cairo Ojugboh, Hon. Pascal Adigwe and Dr. (Mrs.) Maryam Alli.
DR.IFEANYI A.OKOWA

Until recently, Dr. Okowa, was the Secretary to Delta State Government. He had been in government since 1999 as the Commissioner for Water Resources, Agriculture and Health under Chief Ibori. This excludes his brief tenure as the care taker Chairman of Ika South West Local Government. Political observers see Dr. Okowa’s bid for the Senate as a deft move to remain politically relevant till 2015 when he will aspire to become governor.

DR. CAIRO OJUBGOH
Dr. Cairo Ojugboh was member of the House of Representatives where he was chairman committee on Petroleum before he joined the fray against Chief James Ibori in 2007 to contest for governorship of the State.

Although Dr. Ojugboh is the presidential aide on National Assembly Matters, sources said his brand of politics of “I or no one else” has alienated serious minded politicians from his camp.

Hon. PASCAL ADIGWE
The businessman turned politician is another contender for the Delta North Senatorial seat. He was a former member of the House of Representatives.  Sources in Ogwashi Uku told Vanguard that “his impact was not felt in his constituency basically because of lack of experience and courage”. Watchers of the unfolding political trends say Hon. Adigwe may not be as financially capable as the other aspirants and perhaps may be the least favoured in the race.

DR. Maryam  ALI

The Enyikpakpando of Asaba is reputed to be a brilliant medical doctor who has won so many professional awards. Her entrance into politics in 2005 was characterised by acrimony and display of raw power as her husband  who was the former national chairman of PDP, used his position to bulldoze her into the race for the senate in 2007. Dr. Mrs. Alli was defeated at the primaries by Hon. Ned Nwoko but the powers that were then in PDP imposed her as the candidate for the Senate.  In the general election that followed   Chief Osakwe won under the relatively unknown Accord Party.

Hon. NED NWOKO
Ned Nwoko is returning to politics as a senatorial aspirant after the bruising battle he fought with Chief James Ibori in 2003 and 2007. Hon Nwoko, was former member of the House of Representatives and an accomplished international lawyer.

He came to limelight when he emerged one of the best lawmakers in the first dispensation having sponsored several bills including monetization, minimum wage bill and many others.

PROF. ADEGOR EFERAKEYA
Professor Adegor Eferakeya is the incumbent Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District. The professor of Medicine emerged as the candidate for the senatorial seat when Chief Charles Obule reject the slot which was given to him to enable him give up his gubernatorial ambition. Eferakeya  has two doctorate degrees in two different fields namely, Pathology and Pharmacology. He was a successful businessman and traditional chief.

To some political analysts, Prof. Eferakeya has not been impressive, charismatic and outspoken. Some are of the view that he has not represented the Urhobo nation well , but some of his admirers told vanguard that the aging senator is not a noisemaker.

HON. JOHN HALIMS AGODA
Halims Agoda represents Ethiope Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives where he is a vocal member.

He was a member of the Integrity Group in the House which played a vital role in the dethronement of Hon. Patricia Etete as the speaker. A lawyer by training Hon. Agoda has been in legislative business for 13 years having spent two years as a member of Delta State House of Assembly from 1991 to 1993 and another 11years in the Federal House of Representatives.

OKAKURO EDE OMUEYA DAFINONE
Ede is the son of second republic Senator Chief David Omueya Dafinone and is regarded as one of the most qualified among the six candidates  from Delta Central District.  Ede is believed to be a passionate Urhobo politician who is committed to defend the interest of Urhobo people. He is not known to belong to any of the political groups in the State.

Senator Stella Unuezi Omu
She is a foundation member of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and currently a member of  Board of Trustees of the Party.

She studied Psychology at London University, Manpower Studies In Manchester University, Industrial Relations at the Industrial Society of London and Penology at Prison Staff College, Wakefield, England. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Policy & Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos. She was elected into the Senate in 1999. She became the Chief Whip of the Senate making her the first and the only woman that has held the highest position in the Senate so far.

SOLOMON OGBA
Chief Solomon Ogba who piloted series of sports successes for Delta State as the Commissioner for Sports has indicated his interest to contest for the Delta South Senatorial seat currently occupied by Senator James Manager. The President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria is one of the favourites of the godfathers of Delta Politics.

Sources told Vanguard that in a free and fair contest, Chief Ogba will have difficulties overcoming Mrs. Stella Omu who is making a return to the Senate. Mrs. Omu is said to be popular among the Itsekiris where she can win 70% of the votes of the delegates in addition to splitting the votes of Isoko people with Chief Ogba.

Although Senator James Manager is yet to make known his intention, he is sure to get the backing of the three local governments in Ijaw land, this may leave Chief Ogba in a tight corner. Sources said, “Chief Ibori’s men in the senatorial race are: “Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Chief Ighoyota Amori, Hon. Halims Aghoda and Chief Solomon Ogba”


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