•Oborevwori, Omo-Agege may grab gubernatorial tickets
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
Omo-Agege bulldozes his way
TWO outstanding policymakers of Urhobo ancestry in Delta State, Deputy Senate President, DSP, Ovie Omo-Agege and Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, are more likely to materialize as 2023 governorship standard-bearers of the leading opposition party, All Progressives Congress, APC, and governing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, respectively. This bears traction from current political manoeuvrings in the oil-rich state.
The case of DSP Omo-Agege representing Delta Central senatorial district, who formally declared his ambition to contest the 2023 governorship race on the platform of APC, two days ago (Thursday) at Effrum, is straightforwardly predictable, having ingeniously appropriated the structure of the party from the ward, local to the state level, not too long, spellbinding other leaders and governorship hopefuls.
He, however, has to settle scores with consecutive governorship contender, Chief Great Ogboru, aka People’s General, who coasted the party’s flag in the 2019 governorship polls and gave him (Omo-Agege) the political cover that saw him emerge congressman in 2015 on the wings of Labour Party, LP.
Gbagi stood out until now
The tosses and turns in PDP have been breathtaking. Just when it appears as if a particular governorship aspirant was carrying the day, surprise spirals with another toppling him. Shortly after the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa won his second term re-election in 2019, his friend and fellow party man, former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, who hails from Oginibo in Ughelli South local government area, Delta Central senatorial district, hit the streets and corners of the state with a vigorous governorship campaign.
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Many rumoured Gbagi as the front runner the sheer manner he bestrode the state, with one of the party’s governorship aspirants, Ediri Idimi, last month, stepping down for him, declaring: ”Without doubt, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi has the capacity to lead the Delta state government on industrial development come 2023 if elected into office.”
Gbagi, an industrialist, believed to have the capacity to turn around the state, sturdily overcame several artificial skirmishes on his way and was beheld respectably until recent developments. In a statement, Thursday, he said: “I have the template and the vast rudiments of sustainable economic growth which will make all the difference. I am a hardworking and principled person. I will create more industries in every local government and revamp all infrastructures in Delta state…”
Ibori pulls strong strings for Edevbie
Olorogun David Edevbie who came second in the 2014 governorship primaries of the party won by Governor Okowa has the strong-willed support of two ex-governors, Chief James Ibori and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan. In fact, at a time, the news was all over the place that he is the next governor, being Ibori’s first, second and third choice for PDP 2023 governorship standard-bearer.
However, there is the presupposition that his choice of Edevbie does not enjoy the support of sizable leaders and stakeholders across the three senatorial districts, and the three principal leaders of the party, Okowa, Ibori and Uduaghan on whose court the ball recently rebounded. They were yet to reach a compromise on the party’s candidate as of Thursday. Uduaghan, according to an informed source, is indeed playing the role of a mediator between Okowa and Ibori on the 2023 ticket.
The source hinted: “As it is now, there is no way Ibori can foist his preferred aspirant on Okowa, the only way they can reach a compromise is to let Okowa pick as a candidate, whoever God has revealed to him as the party’s governorship flag bearer and collectively, they (Okowa, Ibori and Uduaghan) will look at who takes other positions since they all have interests to protect.”
“If Okowa nominates governorship candidate, Ibori, being their indisputable leader should be allowed to make the first choice of nominating either the Deputy Governor, Speaker or Secretary to State Government, after which as leaders they should accommodatingly evaluate and distribute other positions with the unity of the party uppermost in their hearts,” the source added.
Ijaw hope rests on Otuaro, Manager
While the Urhobo PDP aspirants had supposed the coast was clear for Delta Central gubernatorial ticket, undocumented information, January, that the party’s 2023 ticket would go the way of Ijaw ethnic nationality in Delta South senatorial district for the immense role some political leaders from the area played in 2014, to ensure Senator Okowa (Delta North) governorship primaries’ win, took the state by storm and ruffled many feathers.
One of the longest-serving senators in the country, Senator James Manager, stood tall as a friend of Okowa and most likely, a major recipient of such premeditated power arrangement, but some insiders dismissed the Manager’s possibility, saying if there is any Ijaw in the cards, it should be the Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, who has shown consistent loyalty and commitment to his boss, Okowa.
The Ijaw agenda as whispered did not fly, but information available to this paper indicates that no matter the resolution of stakeholders from other senatorial districts, Ijaw governorship aspirants, Senator Manager, Deacon Otuaro and Dr Braduce Angozi, backed by Ijaw leaders, have made up their minds to contest the May 21 governorship primaries of the party.
Oborevwori pulls bombshell
However, in the last few weeks, the current political configurations and permutations of PDP stakeholders regarding the forthcoming May 21 primaries have slanted to the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, more than any other aspirant.
The shocker came last month (March) when the most powerful pressure group in the party with confirmed tentacles in the three senatorial districts, Delta Political Vanguard, DPV, the springboard that gave Okowa victory in the 2014 primaries and also ensured his 2019 re-election, readily selected Oborevwori as its candidate.
DPV is shepherded by the Chairman, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Evangelist Michael Diden, aka Ejele, who is currently eyeing the Delta South senatorial ticket of the party. He is the National Chairman with the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, also gunning for a House of Representatives seat in Isoko as Deputy National Chairman; and Director of Protocol, Government House, Asaba, Ifeanyi Eboigbe, a powerful figure in the current political dispensation as Head of Operations.
Another influential and exclusive Anioma group, Delta Mandate, where top government officials and power brokers congregate from other parts of the state congregate, met behind the scenes and also endorsed Oborevwori, during the same period. The group, an amalgam of political strategists, technocrats and educated professionals is silently working for Oborevwori at the moment.
Like a wind storm, since last month, Sheriffication, an over the moon position of being a believer of Sheriff Oborevwori governorship ambition, has become a term in the mouths of quite some PDP leaders and stakeholders. A close watch in the last three weeks indicated a major shift in his direction.
From ward, local government to senatorial districts, Oborevwori’s consultation with party members for his 2023 ambition has turned into a crusade among PDP stakeholders, leaders and delegates. From the current trend in the party, it will be knotty for opposing forces to halt the mounting proclivity towards him. An inside source said even the Warri boy with street credibility, Oborevwori, is overwhelmingly animated by the massive goodwill and support party leaders and members have shown him across Delta.
Today, by unfolding developments, with the exception of something melodramatic happening, the political climate ahead of Delta 2023 invariably panders to Omo Agege – APC and Oborevwori- PDP, as the probable gubernatorial gladiators.