By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South and Sunday Chancel
YEAR 2023 is far-flung to many people, but to politicians, principally governorship contenders in Delta State, who want to take over from incumbent Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, it is days away.
In both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, the permutations are quite gripping. While PDP would want to carry on its period in office, which started in 1999, APC reasons otherwise and is ingeniously scheming to dislodge PDP from the seat of power at Asaba, the state capital.
10 lawyers swarm table of 18 contenders
No fewer than 18 governorship runners are in the race seemingly and furtively at the time of this report with political warrior and successive governorship candidate, Great Ogboru. Out of the 18 contenders from different professional disciplines and social background, 10 are lawyers, making the 2023 governorship challenge in the state appear like a game of lawyers.
Chief Great Ogboru, who flew APC’s flag in the last elections believed to still be interested in governing the state. Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central senatorial district, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, Esq., and Olorogun Jaro Egbo, all attorneys are also eying APC’s governorship ticket. None has made open declaration of their yet.
Ijaw PDP triangle
In the presiding PDP, Deputy Governor of the state, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, a lawyer by training from Okerenkoko in Warri South-West local government area, wants to succeed his boss, Okowa. One of the longest serving senators in Nigeria, representing Delta South senatorial district, Senator James Manager, from Ogbein-ama, Bomadi local government area, who is also a solicitor wants to become the next governor. So also Dr. Braduce Angozi, a former commissioner and chairman of Burutu local government area, the trio are of Ijaw ethnic stock in Delta South senatorial district. Neither Senator Manager nor Deacon Otuaro, a conflict resolution expert nor Angozi has ceremoniously confirmed their interest.
But the Ijaw ethnic nationality has through the former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, and other Ijaw leaders in the state indicated that Ijaw want to produce the next governor of the state. However, a prominent Ijaw leader and former Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, reportedly, signposted, recently, that the unwritten PDP power arrangement in the state, Delta Central should produce the next governor of the state.
Urhobo PDP detachment
Former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, a lawyer, criminologist and industrialist, the first contestant to declare his interest for 2023 governorship race shortly after the 2019 election, is glad that he commenced early because the undertaking required good groundwork and is not a job for political trainees and buccaneers.
Speaker of state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, from Osubi, Okpe local government area, who, last week, distanced himself from those already campaigning for his purported 2023 governorship ambition, was said to have been consulted by associates and supporters to gun for the office, but he was learned to be praying to God about it to know His plan for him.
Former governorship aspirant and immediate past Chief of Staff, Government House, Asaba, Olorogun David Edevbie; former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon Peter Mrakpor, SAN, noticeably an attorney from Ughelli South local government as Olorogun Gbagi from Oginibo, is in the race. Both politicians have been at daggers drawn. Edevbie is from Ughelli North local government area.
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Former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, presently Chief of Staff, Government House, Asaba, Rt. Hon Festus Agas, another lawyer in the midst, who hails from Ughelli North local government was among the Delta Central politicians that signified his interest to contest the 2023 governorship race before his latest appointment. It was reported that his appointment, last month, might have foreclosed his ambition since politicking was the principal reason Governor Okowa dissolved his cabinet, months ago, but you can never say so with politicians.
More Urhobo battalion
Erstwhile Commissioner for Works from Okpe kingdom, Okpe local government area, Mr. James Augoye, is counted among the governorship hopefuls likewise another legal representative and ex-commissioner, Olorogun Fred Majemite and Chief Charles Obada, son of late General Orho Obada (retd.) was former Chairman, Board of Trustees, Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, an apex Urhobo body, is similarly eyeballing the governorship seat.
Other powerful politicians from Delta Central, including former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Emmanuel Aguariawodo from Okpare town, Ughelli South local government area; ex-House of Assembly member, former chairman, Sapele local government area and solicitor, Hon Ejaife Odebala; former Commissioner for Finance, Chief Kenneth Okpara; former Auditor General, Local Government, Dr. Abel Esievo, all Urhobo, are in the battle.