By Emma Amaize
FORMER Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi and ex-Chief Political Strategist to the Delta State Government, Chief Paulinus Akpeki have enjoined the opposition in Delta State to allow Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to focus on governance and complete the two-term tenure of Delta North Senatorial District (Anioma).
They spoke weeken while reacting to the dismissal of the petition by All Progressives Governorship, APC, candidate in the March 9 governorship election in the state, Chief Great Ogboru, challenging Governor Okowa’s victory, by the Governorship Election and Petition Tribunal in Asaba, last Friday.
In addition, former Member of the House of Representatives and philanthropist, Hon Ned Nwoko, said the governor’s victory was a milestone in the struggle for equity in the state, while Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the Governor on Security Matters, Mr. Daniel Ezekiel commended his boss for the victory.
Gbagi told Vanguard: “By the rotation arrangement in our party, PDP, which is operating in the state now, 2023 is the turn of Urhobo to take over power, let us (Urhobo) go back and put our house in order, leave Governor Okowa to finish the eight-year tenure of Anioma people which he started in 2015. He is in his second tenure.”
“My position is that we should stop the distraction with frivolous court cases, the man is doing well, let him continue, I want Urhobo to put forward their best materials when the time comes, that is what we should be planning now, not witch-hunting Delta North when we all know that Okowa won very clearly, as the tribunal unambiguously held last Friday.”
Chief Akpeki, who appealed to Chief Ogboru to discontinue with his litigation, said: “Having painstakingly listened attentively to the three and half- hour judgment at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, I hereby appeal to our son, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru not to allow himself to be deceived by any lawyer or persons to go on appeal to challenge today’s judgment.”
“Though it is the fundamental rights of Ogboru to take any decisions as he deems fit, I can state that it will be an exercise in futility. 2023 is for Delta Central and is just by the corner. The Urhobos in my opinion should focus towards 2023 and allow Okowa to complete his second tenure peacefully.
“For those who were in the tribunal, they know it is a down-to-earth judgment and they heard the Chairman of the tribunal say that anybody can take the judgment can be taken anywhere if anybody so wishes because there was not grain he did not sift the chaff in the verdict,” he said.
Hon Ned Nwoko, Nwoko, deputy chairman of Delta state PDP Campaign Council that rallied Okowa to victory in the said election, said the tribunal judgment was predictable because the election was free and credible.
His words, “Governor Okowa won by a clear margin. His victory remained incontrovertible. The tribunal judgment is good for all Deltans because it aligned with their mandate.”
“The position of the rule of law stand fairly as validation of democracy anchored on Okowa’s tenacity, popularity and integrity. I am particularly enthused by Okowa’s destiny as the first Anioma son to be elected governor of Delta and urge him to seize the moment with responsive governance,” he asserted.
SSA, Security Matters, Ezekiel said, “This resounding judgment has further reaffirmed confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary system. It is a well known fact that Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa thrashed the APC candidate, Chief Great Ogboru in the polls across the three senatorial districts that holds in the state.”
“But it is so unfortunate that APC candidate failed to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship exemplified by Dr Goodluck Jonathan, which brought his party to power at the centre in 2015. Instead of Chief Great Ogboru to join hands with PDP- led state government in moving the state forward, if truly his reason for contesting election is to serve Deltans.
“He went on a goose chase of wanting to grab power through the back door, an exercise that once again ended in futility just like the previous voyages he embarked upon. l hereby appeal to Chief Ogboru, an illustrious son of Delta state in any ramification to jettison the idea of appealing this judgment as being speculated by enemies of the Delta.
“Rather, he should bring to the table his wealth of experience which is what the state needs at this point in time because in this case, there is no winner and there is no loser,” he added.