By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
NATIONAL Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, who visited Delta State, last weekend, issued a caveat on the strategic maneuver by two differing power blocs in the state to call the shots in the party.
His words: “Let me counsel that it is normal to have family disagreements within a political party, but whatever the disagreements we may have, let us ensure that it remains a family disagreement. Nothing whatsoever should be done to damage the unity of purpose which has brought about this great development and our winning streak.”
As national chairman of the party, Ayu is believed not only to be familiar with the nitty-gritty which is who determines the party’s 2023 governorship standard-bearer, touching base with the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, aka Ekwueme gburugburu and former governor, Chief James Ibori, aka Odidigboribo.
Notwithstanding his counsel, it seems improbable that Okowa will genuflect to Ibori on his successor.
Opinions differ on the issue that is not exclusively a PDP affair as the masses and members of other political parties are deeply interested in how the governing party handles the affair given its dominant role in the ruler ship of the state since 1999.
Ibori has sacrificed for PDP — Unagha, Urhobo leader
An ex-PDP stalwart, now an All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain and Secretary, Urhobo Leaders of Thought, Alhaji Mumakai Unagha, said: “Let me not believe the rumor making wave that Ibori and Okowa are at loggerheads. If it is true, it will be too bad, a bad signal to PDP in the state.”
“In any case, Okowa does not have any reason to do so, because Ibori has made so much sacrifice for the party while his follower, Okowa, is a beneficiary of Chief Ibori’s administration. If Chief Ibori seeks for favor to produce the governor, to me that is not too much for Okowa, except the governor wants PDP to loose Delta state.”
“Ibori’s wealth is today being seized not for the offence he committed alone, but by all his aides. The earlier Chief Ibori and Senator Okowa put their house in order, the better for the party, otherwise, APC will stroll into Government House, Asaba, undisturbed in 2023,” the Urhobo leader foreshadowed.
Odidigborigbo deserves respect —Keme, Ogbe-Ijaw leader
Chief Monday Keme, an Ogbe-Ijoh leader and supporter of Ibori favorite governorship aspirant, Olorogun David Edevbie, asserted: “I know certainly that Chief Ibori and Senator Okowa will meet to resolve the choice of governorship candidate for Delta state very close to the primaries and Sheriff Oborevwori’s camp is aware that the outcome certainly will not favor them, hence the media endorsement.”
“Senator Okowa must accord Chief Ibori some respect because it is Delta Central affair. As a sitting governor, if he consults, he will know which aspirant from Delta Central has acceptability across the senatorial districts.
“Chief Ibori I know would have engaged Senator Okowa, but Okowa keep saying that he knew nothing about Sheriff Oborevwori endorsement, but we know that the governor has a hand in the endorsement as evidenced in the number of persons on his appointment list,” he asserted.
Okowa qualified to pick his successor — Group
However, Deltans Life Matters, DLM, a pan Delta pressure group, Tuesday, contended Senator Okowa has a key role in deciding PDP governorship standard-bearer.
Global Coordinator of the group, Christian Abeh and two others said: “The question is no longer about Governor Okowa making the choice of his successor, as that is certain. Obviously, he has a major role to play in determining the next gubernatorial candidate of the ruling party in the state, PDP”.
”Making a choice of his successor does not suggest imposition of candidate as some may think. It is part of the people’s expectation and mandate committed into the hands of the governor to chart a course on who takes over his seat, come 2023, having led the state satisfactorily for two terms.
”Majority of the three senatorial zones which the governorship seat rotates have agreed that Delta Central should produce the next governor of the state in 2023. This situation has filtered the aspirations of those who wish to run for the number one seat of the state to three persons that the governor can choose from,” the group added.
Support Okowa to repel daring cabal — Atanevu, analyst
A USA-based social critic/public analyst, Prince Okiemute Atanevu, in a social media post, posited that with 2023 fast approaching, Deltans had collectively resolved never to allow the bunch of unscrupulous individuals, who pillaged the state in the past to stage a comeback to plunder the state treasury again.
“ Never again will we be so timorous as to allow those that mean us harm foist a governor on Delta state, therefore, it is imperative that we collectively resist all shenanigans by those who hell bent to produce men of questionable characters as the next governor of the state.
“As such, it is expedient that Deltans must totally support the incumbent governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa in his resolve to resist this dangerous cabal so intent in imposing their obnoxious wishes and invidious political template on Delta state.
Storm over Oborevwori
The buzz, last weekend, from Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, where all the PDP governorship aspirants from the South-South zone went for screening was that the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, believed to be the preferred aspirant of the governor was not cleared for the May 23 governorship primaries.
In fact, while the media aides and supporters of other governorship aspirants took over the social media to parade the clearance certificates of their principals, a noticeably fictitious clearance certificate portraying Oborevwori as having incongruities with his names was posted by cynics.
Informants also went to town with unsubstantiated report that the governor, Okowa, regretted his purported choice of Oborevwori at a meeting with some selected persons last Saturday night in Asaba.
However, the point by his faultfinders that the name Rt. Hon Oborevwori Francis Orohwedor Sheriff which the Speaker allegedly identified himself in INEC form CF 001 submitted to the party and INEC is at variance with the name he submitted when he contested for a seat in the House of Assembly, actually raises cause for concern.
More so, the complainers mentioned the case of a one-time governor-elect of Bayelsa state, David Lyon of All Progressives Congress APC, who lost his victory because the Supreme Court found that the name of the then deputy governor- elect, Degi- Eremienyo, contained in his INEC form CF 001 had no bearing with Degi Biobara in his Primary School Certificate; Adegi Biobarakumo in his Secondary School Certificate; and Degi Biobarakuma Wanagha that he bore in the University.
But Oborevwori, who had intentionally kept his sworn affidavits and newspaper publication on change of name, over the years, at a thanksgiving service, last Sunday, testified: “Last Thursday was the screening of South-South governorship aspirants in Port Harcourt, and I was screened, the first aspirant from Delta to receive provisional clearance certificate. I did not see the urgent need to release it to the public.”
“Suddenly, fake news started flying on social media platforms that I was neither screened nor issued PDP provisional clearance certificate. My detractors did not stop there. They took additional steps by criminally forging several PDP provisional clearance certificates and shared same widely on social media platforms with the evil intention of denting my hard earned reputation and integrity. It was that bad and shameful.
“This morning before coming to Church, I had to release my authentic PDP provisional clearance certificate to the ‘Sheriffied’ media team, and it was published and shared widely on social media platforms to shame my political detractors,” he explained