Okowa

BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN

Senator Ifeanyi Okowa last Tuesday hosted a family thanksgiving to appreciate the faithfulness of God unto him and his family since his advent as governor of Delta State in 2015.

Flanked by his wife, Dame Edith, the Delta State governor used the occasion to open up like never before on emerging issues shadowing the 2023 governorship hustling in Delta State.

Except something unusual erupts, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC is bound to be Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the deputy president of the Senate.

Omo-Agege is well positioned to allocate the APC ticket to himself, having in the words of his rival and minister of state for labour, Olorogun Festus Keyamo positioned his “aides, houseboys and house  girls” as officials of the party and potential delegates to the primary.

In a riposte, one of the supposed houseboys said that Keyamo being an appointee of Mr. President is also a houseboy!

“We are all houseboys and house girls so long as we are appointees,” the Omo-Agege associate said.

Despite the recurring fights between the Omo-Agege and Keyamo tendencies, it will be a shock for someone outside the DSP’s political household to pick the APC ticket in the unlikely event he decides not to vie for the office.

Now, the feature fight is expected to be in the PDP.

It was as such not surprising that Governor Okowa at his family thanksgiving put the primacy of God in determining his successor. Despite the attacks of his political enemies, Okowa has almost always sought to project God in his public assertions and accomplishments.

READ ALSO: 2023: Only God can direct me on my successor – Okowa

As he said; “finishing strong is about being able to reach out to the people to lay the foundation that people can build upon and told Deltans to pray for the Will of God to be done in the state ahead of the 2023 governorship election in the state.”

So, in projecting God as the ultimate determiner, Okowa left no one in doubt as to the God he meant – that is, the creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

Since he meant God with a capital ‘G’ that meant that a political god or godfather would not be the one to determine the successor.

Okowa spoke with a wisdom and words that were crafted not to give fuel to recent reports of a feud between him and his predecessor and former boss, Chief James Ibori.

Indeed, ‘mischief-makers’ around Delta had as a way of fanning the story of a discord among the duo, recently claimed that the governor was refused invitation to the birthday bash of Ibori’s wife, an event that was graced by major political actors from within and outside Delta.

Being one not given to haughtiness it is doubtful if Okowa would allow himself to be boxed into such a corner.

Indeed, he was careful to in his Thanksgiving Address to caution unsolicited advisers who may be looking forward to advise him on how to fight Ibori or on how to groom a successor.

The governor’s assertion of God was a sufficient caution to such men that no one, and indeed, not Ibori would decide his successor.

Okowa May Not Be Opposed To Power Shift To Delta Central

After staying aloof from the debate on where his successor would come from it appears Okowa has squashed the debate with a seeming focus on Delta Central, the zone which first produced governor at the inception of democratic rule in 1999 in the person of Ibori.

The geopolitical permutation appears to be a big blow for the many supporters of Senator James Manager, the Delta South senator who they had hoped to step in as a successor.

Manager had been seen as a meeting point who would ordinarily have removed any discord between Ibori and Okowa given the amity that the senator brings in the relationship between the two men.

The exclusion of the Ijaw and the Isoko of Delta South from the contest is bound to raise issues concerning zoning given the exclusion of the two major populations after the Itsekiri took the Delta South turn through Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan between 2007 and 2015.

So, if the PDP is focusing on Delta Central, dominated by the Urhobo, then the question will now be on who?

That is the question that is bound to elicit interest as stakeholders from within and outside Delta project an interesting time ahead in Delta.

Even if Okowa and Ibori to the knowledge of this correspondent have maintained cordiality despite the many speculations of conflict by mischief makers, the prospect of that cordiality remaining in the days ahead will require much patience from the two men.

The return of indirect primaries into the Electoral Law gives the governor much more leverage to influence the political landscape and how he does it will be particularly interesting.

For Ibori, the option of trying to project himself as the ultimate political godfather in Delta in the mode of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in Lagos could be tempting.

Some have alleged that the former governor sometime ago claimed to belong to all political parties, apparently to give himself the latitude to wiggle out and project his options outside the PDP.

If the former governor really said that, he may then be weighing the option of using an alternative platform to fight for reckoning as a godfather. In that case, he could then push his (former) houseboy, that is, Omo-Agege who was at onetime in 2006/7 seen as Ibori’s favourite for the 2007 succession.

Indeed, the times ahead in Delta are bound to be very interesting.

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