April 23, 2022

DELTA 2023: How PDP chieftains bypassed Okowa, Ibori to pick Oborevwori —Mike Loyibo, Ijaw leader

DELTA 2023: How PDP chieftains bypassed Okowa, Ibori to pick Oborevwori —Mike Loyibo, Ijaw leader

DELTA 2023: How PDP chieftains bypassed Okowa, Ibori to pick Oborevwori —Mike Loyibo, Ijaw leader

•We’ll resist Okowa if he goes against us

•Ibori should hands up on Edevbie

•Ijaw aspirants negotiating for something else

By Emma Amaize

WHILE the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, former governor of the state,Chief James Ibori and others were making their permutations on who takes over from the former in 2023, some influential Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, power brokers and stakeholders across the three senatorial districts of the state, assembled without their knowledge to appraise the various governorship aspirants and nominate who to present to the governor and leader of the party, as their choice for the party’s 2023 governorship standard-bearer.

Chairman, Delta South Political Leadership and Stakeholders Forum and Coordinator of Ijaw Governorship Agenda and traditional Prime Minister of Tuomo Kingdom, Burutu local government area in the state, High Chief (Dr.) Mike Ekayama Loyibo, is one of the leaders that spearheaded what the stakeholders called a pan-Delta project.

In this revealing interview with Saturday Vanguard, the Ijaw leader divulged how PDP movers and shakers finally nominated the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori and later trooped to Okowa to disclose their choice. They told him outright that they were not begging for his support, but demanded he create a level-playing field for them to compete and deliver their candidate at the May 21 governorship primaries.

Our resolution to select Oborevwori:
The decision to select Sheriff Oborevwori as our 2023 governorship standard-bearer is the resolution of political leaders and stakeholders across the state. I cannot tell you it is 100 per cent, but when some leaders reasoned that for stability sake, we should look at Delta Central senatorial district, we asked ourselves who is in Delta Central that can serve the interest of the entire state and who is that person who we can trust to serve Deltans.

We, as Delta leaders, consequently came together to evaluate each of the aspirants and we settled for the current Speaker, Delta state House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori. Indeed, it is my people who told me that they want Sheriff and I looked at him and saw really that he possesses the qualities I want in a governor. And I told myself, this is the next person after Okowa.

Our reason is that he is one of us, he came from a humble background and he understands the pains of the people; we want him to succeed Okowa to continue with the firebrand work of the governor.

What we told Okowa
Having taken the decision as leaders from across the state, we took a decision to present our choice to Okowa for him to look at his (Oborevwori) direction and ask him, as leader of the party in the state, to provide a level-playing atmosphere for us to compete with others.

What the leaders who brought out Oborevwori are saying is that we do not want anybody to write result, delegates should come and vote their preferred aspirant at the May 21 governorship primaries and let the choice of the people emerge.

Few days ago, we were in Asaba, one of the leaders, who is the Managing Director of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, and proud son of Delta South senatorial district, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, hosted other leaders, including National Assembly members, all the local government council chairmen, all the lawmakers, leaders of the various ethnic groups, there was nobody that was not there, and after the meeting, under my leadership, we paid him (Okowa) an Easter visit.


We told him clearly that we stand with Sheriff Oborevwori and we are not shifting, and as leaders, we are not saying he (governor) should support us, but he should provide atmosphere for free and fair primaries so that we can compete, which he had promised earlier and restated to us.

The decision is collective and there is no going back on our support for Sheriff Oborevwori. It is total, recall that about a month ago, at Warri, leaders of Delta South endorsed him as governor, he is from Delta Central, but Delta South leaders were the first senatorial district to endorse him.

So, all the leaders from across the state went to pay Okowa a visit to tell him who we want as governor. In fact, what you are witnessing is a pan-Delta project and you can remember that Okowa himself became governor in a free, fair and credible primaries and we told him, you became governor through this process, give us credible primaries. For us we want Sheriff to emerge.

Cuts in… are you and these other leaders not mindful that a former governor regarded as the godfather of PDP in the state, Chief James Ibori, reportedly wants Olorogun David Edevbie as Okowa’s successor?

Ibori cannot say that he wants Edevbie because there are no two leaders at a time. Ibori piloted his transition and handed over power to his cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, nobody opposed him. How can Ibori want Edevbie, as a leader, he should listen to the cry of ordinary Deltans who do not want Edevbie; why would he want to foist an aspirant who does not clearly understand the people as the party’s governorship standard-bearer; an aspirant who does not even have a base in Delta, I am really surprised.

Who are these leaders that want Oborevwori?
I cannot mention all of them, they are immeasurable, take it from me, all the leaders of the PDP that matter in the state are behind Oborevwori. If you put 100 leaders in Delta together, I can tell you that 97 percent are for Sheriff. We picked Sheriff Oborevwori because he is a grassroots man and the choice of Deltans. Governor Ifeanyi Okowa being a grassroots man cannot go against us because if he goes against us, we are going to resist him.

Take for instance when we visited Okowa recently to tell him that Oborevwori remains our candidate, Itsekiri leaders, Chief Solomon Areyinka, Chief Joseph Otumara, former Minister of Defence, Roland Oritsejafor, Evangelist Michael Diden, Hon Thomas Ereyitomi and Hon Daniel Mayuku were with us. On the Ijaw side were Chief B.Y Biakpara, Hon Nicholas Mutu, Hon Solomon Funkekeme, Frank Omare, Boro Opudu, Brodrick Demeyeibo and myself. Isoko leaders, Chief Iduh Amadhe and pioneer Speaker, Delta state House of Assembly, Hon Emmanuel Okoro, Urhobo leader, Nelson Ejakpovi, Josephine Abeki, Hon Ferguson Onwo, all local government chairmen from Delta South, among others, were there because that is where all of us stand.

What of Ijaw governor, don’t you think Ijaw nationality will sanction you for advocating Urhobo governor?
If you say that power should go to Ijaw now, it will be overheating the polity and we all want stability. We have majority of Ijaw support against the Ijaw governorship agenda, when we endorsed Sheriff, it was the chairman of Burutu, an Ijaw local government area that seconded the motion moved by an Isoko man. All the local government council chairmen, all the leaders and lawmakers are in this pan-Delta project.

The purported Ijaw governorship agenda is not an Ijaw agenda, it is a personal agenda of some individuals and those of them who want to be governor should be grateful to God for the various positions they have occupied. Some of them have been in public office for over 30 years.

Are they not part of the understanding that power should rotate among the senatorial districts, so, it is not an Ijaw agenda that they are pursuing, they are chasing their private agenda? If really it is Ijaw that is to produce governor, better materials from Ijaw would have been in the race. I want to tell you that majority of Ijaw people in the state believe in the Oborevwori project.

I can boldly tell you that those mouthing Ijaw governorship agenda at the moment are deceiving themselves, even those said to be contesting now are negotiating to be something else, they are not even honest with themselves.

Even if there was to be an Ijaw governorship agenda, it is certainly not Senator James Manager .

But the contention of those against Oborevwori is that he is not lettered and not a refined man?
What do you talk about being lettered, a man who has First Degree, who has a Master’s Degree and had even undergone global training in international courses. Even in his First Degree, he came out one of the best; in his Master’s, he came out one of the best; a man who when he addresses people you will be amazed; a man who understands Delta; they should leave him alone, he is the one Deltans want.

What I know and can assure you on behalf of other Deltans is that he will combine natural home grown wisdom; he will combine the English wisdom; he will combine native intelligence to give us a better government in Delta. We have examined him, he will excel, even better than Okowa.

Let us even look at it, are they saying that because I (Mike Loyibo) was in motor park venture before, I should not be governor? The man has read up to Master’s degree and undergone several global preparations and currently, he is the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, how do you then address him as unlettered, this is outrageous on the part of his uninformed accusers.

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