By Emma Amaize
FORMER Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta Central Senatorial District of the state have declared that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta North) will hand over power to the district in 2023, according to the subsisting power rotation arrangement among the three senatorial districts of the state.
They restated this at a closed-door meeting, weekend, at the Oghara country home of Ibori in Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state, following the campaign by some Ijaw and Isoko politicians in Delta South senatorial district for governorship in 2023.
Former Minister of Information and political father of Governor Okowa, Prof Sam Oyovbaire, Chairman, Delta Capital Territory Development Agency, Chief Ighoyota Amori, former Chief Political Strategist to the Delta State Government, Chief Paulinus Akpeki and Chief Mike Michael Adiotomre were among top Urhobo politicians were at the gathering.
Though they agreed that 2023 was still far away, Delta Central leaders served notice to politicians outside the district to respect the arrangement.
Ibori, who spoke at the meeting said, “Governor Okowa during his campaign promised to handover to Delta Central and as a gentleman and promise keeper, we have no doubt in our minds that he will do everything within his God given powers to adhere strictly to his promise.”
“We expect all genuine members of our great party, PDP, to comply with the power rotation agreement. It is for the good of all; majority and minority, the weak and the strong, for a balanced society.
“Equity, justice and good conscience are some of the major pillars of constitutional democracy, hence PDP in Delta state encourages power rotation to enable both the majority and minority groups and or ethnic nationalities via senatorial districts power arrangements to produce governor, and the agreement remains sacrosanct.
“Let me also state clearly that 2023 is still much ahead and it is not time yet for political campaigns but we shall commence primary arrangements and wide consultations in the near future. We must remain united and avoid unnecessary division and attacks on personalities within and outside Delta Central Senatorial District as we make steady progress towards the historic inauguration of the next Urhobo governor come 2023.
“Urhobos spread across eight local governments have prominent sons and daughters that are eligible to contest the 2023 governorship slot and we are very sure that at the end of the race the best among them shall emerge as governor based on the majority votes of all eligible voters in the state.
“We also agreed as a people and Senatorial district to support Governor Okowa to succeed throughout his tenure. He is s good leader and did well in his first tenure and it is hoped that his second tenure shall be better than the first. Our governor is a visionary leader and it is only fair that we continue to support him same way he supported his predecessors, going forward,” Ibori said,” he said.
The former governor pointed out Delta Central, which commenced the power rotation in 1999 gave maximum support to Delta South from 2007 to 2015 when Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan held sway as governor, and accorded the same support to Delta North, represented by Okowa, who took over in 2015 and expected to complete eight years in 2023.
Prof Oyovbaire and other leaders, who also spoke endorsed Ibori’s position, advising Ijaw and Isoko politicians already agitating for the party’s 2023-governorship slot to forget the idea and join forces with Delta North and Central.
Despite the stand by Urhobo leaders that 2023 was still far away, a leading Urhobo governorship contender and former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, had since commenced consultations.