By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
FORMER Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, visited ex-Niger-Delta warlord, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, at the riverside Oporoza community, traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, at the weekend.
The reason for the meeting has not been made public but coming barely 48 hours after the caucus meeting of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the party’s eye-catching mega rally at Asaba, in the last four days, the meeting of both political and ex-militant leaders caused a stir in the state’s political circle.
Vanguard reliably learned the news of Ibori’s visit to Tompolo got to the Government House, Asaba, yesterday, and some people were discussing the matter in hushed tone.
However, a dependable source, who spoke to Vanguard, yesterday, said: “It is true that Ibori met with Tompolo but it is not over his (Ibori’s) interest in 2023 governorship project. No, it is not politics.”
“I know that it is over Ibori’s business interests. The former governor has some business concerns in the oil industry. He visited Tompolo and they discussed in that direction, not about politics,” he added.
Another privileged source explained: “Our national leader, James Ibori, paid a private visit to his friend and younger brother, Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, in far away Oporoza in Gbaramatu Kingdom in the creeks of the Niger Delta where issues bothering on the progress of the Niger Delta region were discussed like tackling of piracy, unemployment, illegal bunkering which has contributed to the drastic reduction of oil production from two million barrels and the loss of revenue.
“Ibori also commended Tompolo for his commitment in assisting the government and security agencies to sustain the relative peace in the region so far and he further pledged his support in continuing to agitate for the betterment of the region that lays the golden egg.
“ Ibori was accompanied in the visit by his Chief of Staff, Olatunji Olusoji who is also a Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties to the Governor of Delta State Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; Chief Azikiwe Ako; Henry Uduaghan, Deputy chief of Staff and a host of others,” the source stated.
Available information show the former governor was known to be projecting his former Commissioner for Finance and ex-Chief of Staff, Government House, Olorogun David Edevbie, to take over from the incumbent governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, in 2023, but he, Okowa and others leaders have not struck any agreement on the matter until date.
Ibori’s ally, former commissioner and deputy national organizing secretary of PDP, Ighoyota Amori, is leading the Delta Central, DC-23, an Urhobo lobby group for 2023 governorship for Delta Central.
Governor Okowa’s choice of his successor is still unknown but he has made it copiously clear that God would determine his successor in 2023. Last Saturday at the party’s mega rally in Asaba, the governor further assured that under his watch, his party would ensure free and fair governorship primaries for aspirants.
At the said rally, Ibori, previously caught in a face-up with Okowa, over his successor, admitted openly that the governor is a good leader and has provided good governance for the state, saying he would support him to finish strong in 2023.
The Ijaw ethnic nationality in Delta South senatorial district, which Tompolo hails from, with Itsekiri and Isoko nationalities as the other two constituent tribes, also want to produce the next governor of the state.
Former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, is marshaling the Ijaw battle for PDP governorship ticket for 2023.
At the PDP mega rally former State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Cyril Ogodo, Chairman of Elders Council of the APC in Delta Central, Sylvester Kohwo, Mr Sylvester Imonina,Ben Onwuka, Victor Sorokwu, Ben Ijoma, Peter Dodobi, Andy Una, Patrick Okonkwo, Victor Enuma, Sylvester Ogbukunu, John Araka, Ozegbe Edwin, Harrison Abuge and thousands of their followers from the wards, local government areas and three senatorial districts in the state, decamped to PDP.