By Emma Amaize & Festus Ahon – Asaba
FORMER Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, Saturday, said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was providing good governance to the state, assuring he and other leaders of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would give him all required support to finish strong in 2023.
He spoke at a mega rally by the PDP in Asaba, the state capital, where former State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Cyril Ogodo, Chairman of Elders Council of the APC in Delta Central, Chief Sylvester Kohwo, Mr Sylvester Imonina, Chief Ben Onwuka, Victor Sorokwu, Ben Ijoma, Peter Dodobi, Andy Una, Patrick Okonkwo, Victor Enuma, Sylvester Ogbukunu, John Araka, Ozegbe Edwin, Chief Harrison Abuge and thousands of their followers from the wards, local government areas and three senatorial districts in the state, decamped to PDP.
Ibori said: “I thank you (Governor Ifeanyi Okowa) for the job you are doing in Delta and at the national level for the benefit of Nigerians.
“I most especially thank you for what am seeing here today because you have done very well in Delta State and I cannot be more prouder that you are our governor today.
“You are leading us very well and it is our duty and we are all committed to say that you will finish very strong and at the end of the day we will all gather to thank God for you.
“From what I can see here you have provided an atmosphere for a free and fair contest and you have provided an atmosphere for peoples aspirations to be heard without intimidation whatsoever.
“Of a truth this was the philosophy behind the formation of this great party when I said in 1998 that democracy is about opening up the space and environment for everybody to aspire to whatever he or she believes in and I thank you for continuing with that vision.
“I want to thank you on behalf of our teeming members of our party to thank you and pray that God will continue to guide you as you lead us in the years ahead.
“I personally don’t believe that your leadership will terminate at the end of your tenure, I don’t believe that.
“I have come to say that you have earned your strides and your strides will continue to carry you on by the grace of God.
“On behalf of my one vote, my unit in Ogharefe, Ethiope West Local Government Area, I want to commit and dedicate myself to the service of PDP Delta State and Nigeria at large”.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who commended the former APC members for embracing PDP said he would ensure a free and fair governorship primaries to elect his successor.
Okowa said: “This rally today has made a statement across Nigeria that PDP is prepared to take over this nation. One good thing about us in the PDP is that we are one family, we are not like the other people fighting every time. In PDP we work with the love of God.
“I want to thank all Deltans for the good things they have been doing, they have continue to support us. In 2015 and 2019, we won very well, and in 2023, we will finish work again with your support.
“We are sending a strong message to our brothers in the opposition not to waste their resources and time because there is no space for them in Delta State, we are in control.
“You know that since the inception of this government, youths have been so appointed into offices, youths have been so empowered through various programmes. We will continue to deliver on our mandate even when playing politics, we are not going to slow down. And I am glad that our youths are ready to work and give peace a chance, and because of that we have been able to do a lot through the collective effort of all Deltans.
“We will continue to empower women this year. We will continue to do a lot of infrastructure, and till we leave office on May 28, 2023, we continue to build more roads. You will be proud to be a Deltan when you see the new state civil service secretariat. We will continue to work hard but I ask for your support for the PDP because we need to make a statement in Nigeria that PDP is Delta and Delta is PDP.
“For all aspirants, please control your followers so that we will not be showing might in gathering like this, we are all brothers and sisters, we are one family. We cannot fight and will never fight. At the appropriate time, it will be well with us. I have always promise and I make that promise again that there will be a free and fair primary.
“So there is no room to fight or quarrel, let us work together as one family that we are, and PDP that stays continuously as a family and on top. I thank the defectors from APC and welcome them into the PDP family. We want to reassure you that we are all one and whatever is due to an old member is also due to the new ones”.
State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Kingsley Esiso said the rally was to reduce the opposition in the state, adding that there would be another mega rally in six months “to rake the remaining 10 percent of the APC in Delta”.
Esiso said APC brought negative change in the country, adding that they brought poverty and crime. He added that “today rally is another harvest day.”
Chief Cyril Ogodo, Chief Sylvester Kohwo Kphwo, Mr Sylvester Imonina and other defectors who spoke, said the APC was dead and buried in Delta State.
The State capital was shutdown as millions of faithful of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP from across the state stormed the city to attend the mega rally organised by the party.
Cenotaph, venue of the rally was adorned with billboards, posters and flyers of Governorship and other aspirants, even as their supporters clad with their customized T-shirts and face caps matched round chanting songs of supporters for their candidates.