By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Egufe Yafugborhi & Theresa Ugbobu
ONLY one person will emerge as governor of Delta State at the February 28 governorship elections, but each of the three major governorship candidates of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, All Progressives Congress, APC, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor and Labor Party, LP, Chief Great Ogboru, believes that he is the next governor of the state.
Okowa thinks landslide
At the flag-off of his campaign in Oghara, Ethiope-West Local Government Area, which was like a coronation of sort, Senator Okowa, enamored by the massive crowd that thronged Oghara Township Stadium, venue of the rally, said his party would win with a landslide, promising to consolidate and improve on the legacies of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
It was the same feeling for the chairman of the party’s Campaign Organization and former Minister of Information, Prof Sam Oyovbaire, who after appraising the gigantic crowd, said he was satisfied that Okowa enjoys support across the three senatorial districts of the state. Chairman of the Presidential Contact Committee, South-South zone, former governor of Bayelsa state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyesiegha, was also awe-struck.
Consolidating Uduaghan’s achievements
A strengthened Okowa said, “We will ensure accelerated industrialization, He (Uduaghan) has started Warri Industrial Business Park, we will partner with the private sector to establish two other industrial parks in the other two senatorial districts of the state,” he said.
The PDP standard-bearer said Uduaghan has done well in the education and health sectors, but he would, based on legislation, introduce a free health insurance policy for Deltans.
From the era of former governor, Chief James Ibori in 1998 till date, he said the state had not fared badly in terms of road network, but he would certainly do more, while a strategic urban renewal programme would be put in place to spread development across the state.
Interacting with journalists, during the week, in Asaba, he threw more light on his plans, he said his administration would not stop the free maternal programme of Uduaghan, adding that he would emphasize technical education and complete ongoing projects just as work will be going on simultaneously on new ones.
Urhobo’ll vote Okowa, Jonathan
The Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama, had earlier assured him that the people of Delta Central senatorial district (Urhobo) would vote for him and his running mate. This is against the standing order of the apex Urhobo sociocultural group, Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, that Urhobo people would not vote for PDP because it did not pick their own as gubernatorial candidate.
However, from the flag-off of PDP campaign till date, the party has burrowed into the Urhobo territory, galvanizing more and more support. One of the Urhobo governorship aspirants, the former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, who played host to Okowa at his Oginibo country home, Ughelli South local government area, last weekend, said Urhobo would vote for Okowa and President Goodluck Jonathan.
Gbagi thunders against UPU
Kicking against the UPU stand on the PDP candidate, Gbagi said, “We (Urhobo leaders) will dissolve the current UPU executives and elect people who will work.
He alleged: “Some UPU members got at least three jeeps from Delta North aspirants during the PDP governorship primaries. If they collected these cars from Ochei, Olejeme and other Delta North aspirants and still were shouting that Urhobo will not support a Delta North governorship, who were they deceiving?Gbagi maintained that UPU had no moral justification to force partisan interest on Urhobo people, adding that he was already in touch with key leaders in the district on dissolution of the present leadership.
Okowa and other members of the PDP in the state believe that the party with its showings so far is as good as having won the governorship election in the state and he is already being addressed as His Excellency.
The PDP invited musicians and comedians, amongst them Ras Kimono, Orits Wiliki, Maleke, who are going about with them in the campaign to spice up proceedings.
Practically all the party’s governorship aspirants, who lost to Okowa are campaigning for him. The man many thought would be, but who was not, Mr. Tony Obuh, Chief Godswill Obielum, Mr. Festus Okubor, Chief Clement Ofuani, Olorogun Gbagi, Dr. Esther Uduehi, Mrs. Ngozi Olejeme and former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt Hon Victor Ochei, who moved over to the Accord Party, AP, to contest the Delta North senatorial seat against PDP’s Chief Peter Nwaboshi, are all working for Okowa.
The political machinery of Governor Uduaghan has been put at the disposal of Okowa for the election. .
APC‘ll take over Delta- Emerhor
APC’s O’tega Emerhor, who took his flag-off to Okowa’s home base at Agbor, Ika South local government area, Wednesday, said the mission of his party was to end the 16 years misrule of the state by the PDP.
He said that APC would take over the state from PDP, next month, just as the party’s presidential candidate, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) would floor incumbent President Jonathan.
Emerhor taunted Okowa and his party, PDP, saying for the 16 years the party has been in power, Agbor was still suffering from lack of water, bad
road and erosion.
He said the PDP maladministration was not restricted to Agbor as his visit to other parts of the state had revealed grave mismanagement, adding, “We have resources that if well harnessed, Delta would be better. With the resources we have, Delta should have put poverty and unemployment behind and engaged the youths. In my first 100 days in office, I will set aside N10 billion to address the empowerment of youths, women and people in small-scale businesses.”
The APC standard bearer asserted that the reason why there was poverty in the state was that the poor people could not access money for development, saying, “We will establish access points in the local government areas and provide relevant support for development. Development will be localized; local governments will be the points to start development.”
According to him, local governments would no longer be centres of sharing monthly allocations for recurrent expenditure, but places to carry out development. Emerhor said at least 1,000,000 youths and women would be taken off the unemployment market under the scheme.
He said the party would identify areas of needs in the respective councils, particularly the problems of lack of education and health facilities and tackle them.
Vote out PDP- Okpozo
Chairman of the Elders Council of the party in the state, Senator Francis Okpozo, who also mounted the podium, said in their days, during the time of the late Iwerebor, what mattered to politicians was the dividends of democracy they brought home to the people, but these days, politicians loot public treasury, build high rise houses and mount fences to prevent the people from coming to their homes, where they park exotic vehicles.
He urged Agbor people and the electorate in the state to reject PDP candidates at the polls and vote O’tega Emerhor, General Buhari and other APC candidates, who have come to give the state and country a new breath of life.
Vice chairman of the party in the state, Chief George Okafor, said those saying that APC was not on ground in the state would be shocked by the mass rejection of PDP in next month’s election.
He said Agbor was deliberately chosen by the party as its take-off point because the city was a melting pot of the state. Okafor was particularly delighted at the crowd that attended the rally.
The party brought an accomplished orator to titillate the multitude, which laughed and laughed as the master of ceremony delivered his grammatical missiles.
Chief Ogboru, popularly known as the People’s General, who has contested for the governorship stool up to four times in the state on the platforms of different political parties, including the defunct Democratic People’s Party, DPP, is slugging it out this time around on the Labour Party, LP, pedestal.
On Thursday at the Warri Township Stadium, Warri South local government, where he flagged off his campaign, he did not speak much. From his mium, one could decipher the saying action speaks louder than words.
Ogboru is best material
The party’s Delta Central senatorial candidate, Obaise Ovie Omo-Agege, who moved over to LP after losing in the December 8 governorship primaries of the PDP to Senator Okowa, did the squealing.
He confessed how he and other PDP power shots scuttled Chief Great Ogboru’s victory in previous governorship elections in the state.
Omo-Agege asserted: “Ogboru is the best material to lead the fight for change that Delta needs at this time. Even in the past, the man has won all his elections but has been deprived. I can tell you this because I have been in the PDP. This time, we have resolved to do everything to assist him and I am confident he would emerge as governor”
UPU‘ll endorse one candidate
Debunking rumours of crisis in the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, he stated that Urhobos would endorse only one candidate that will fly the Urhobo flag in the February 28 governorship elections.
I‘ll reduce corruption, wipe out crime- Ogboru
Taking the podium at the rally, Chief Ogboru promised Deltans that if elected as governor of the state, his administration would provide three companies located at the three senatorial districts of the state.
He said: “These companies will be built with the financial resources of Deltans where their monies will be made to work for them and not them working for their money. In all of these, we will ensure total reduction of corruption and a crime free Delta.”
LP faithful hopeful
Reflective of his follower-ship in the state, the Warri Township Stadium was filled to capacity by supporters of the Delta LP governorship candidate, most of who streamed much earlier and waited for hours before Ogboru made his belated entry to thunderous cheers from the crowd of supporters.
Festus Agberia who attended from Ughelli South council area, told Saturday Vanguard, “When it comes to Ogboru, party name does not count. I am not a member of LP and being member is immaterial here. I just want Ogboru as governor. You have heard a PDP power broker, Omo-Agege say he is the best among the rest. We will vote for him again and this time our vote will count.”
Ogboru announced his arrival to the venue in a convoy of cars accompanied by the national chairman, Comrade Abdulkadir Salam, national secretary, Comrade Kayode Ajimoh, national secretary, among other officials of the party.
Impressed by the capacity attendance at the 25, 000-seater stadium, the national chairman said, “Through Ogboru, Delta will get empowerment, you will be delivered from the people using money for your education for their own welfare. He will ensure that development goes to every nook and cranny of Delta state.”
Delta State Chairman of the party, Hon. Tony Ezeagwu, in his remarks, asserted, “The messiah has come to change Delta state. We all believe that the change we have been yearning for a long time has come and the man to bring that change is Great Ovedje Ogboru.”
The national chairman, joined by other party leaders later presented flags to all the standard bearers for various positions in the coming elections.
Drift to criminality
Owing to delayed arrival of Ogboru and his entourage, many of his supporters, who stayed just to welcome him, started leaving in droves soon after he arrived. The atmosphere around the stadium took a criminal tone soon after departure of dignitaries, as hooligans attacked and dispossessed people of phones, cash and other valuables.