*Okowa present, Ibori, Uduaghan absent; Gbagi withdraws from primary
By Festus Ahon and Paul Olayemi, ASABA
SPEAKER, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Francis Oborevwori, kept a tally of 597 votes out of total of 824 ballots cast by delegates at the governorship primary of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta State, yesterday, at Asaba, to emerge the gubernatorial standard-bearer of the party for the 2023 general elections.
Oborevwori, the professed preferred candidate of the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, surpassed Olorogun David Edevbie, the favourite governorship nominee of ex-governor, Chief James Ibori, who scored 113 votes for the second position.
Okowa, who evidenced that he is in charge of affairs in the party with the outcome, wore a big smile as Chairman of the Electoral Panel, Mr Ndibusi Nwobu, announced Sheriff as the duly elected candidate of the party with 597 votes, but Ibori and his successor, former governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, stayed away from the primaries.
On his part, Oborevwori could not contain his ecstasy as he shook hands with other aspirants and delegates, who cheered him when he was pronounced as winner, Edevbie obviously disheartened by the voting pattern left before the end of the polls.
Declaring Oborevwori as the winner of the primary election, the Chairman of the panel, Mr. Ndubusi Nwobu said David Edevbie scored 113, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, zero votes, Chief Fred Majemite six votes, Senator James Manager, 83 votes, Barr Peter Mrakpor, 9 votes, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, 9 votes, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, 597 votes, Mr. Abel Esievo, two votes and Chief Ejaife Odebala, 2 votes.
Nwobu described the election as a family affair, adding that the primary election was not the end. He said the election was free and fair.
The exercise which began with the accreditation of the 824 delegates at the Dome Centre, Asaba at about 11am was peaceful. Thirteen of the 14 cleared aspirants were present. Former Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi, had pulled out of the contest on Monday and did not show up at the venue.
The exercise commenced at 3:24pm with Aniocha North delegates voting first in alphabetical order. The election was witnessed by security agents and officials of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC.
Chief David Edevbie, Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, Mr. Braduce Angozi, Chief Fred Majemite and Mr. Ejaife Odebala left the venue of the election unceremoniously.
Voting ended at 5:25 pm with Warri South West delegates at the election. Sorting and counting of ballot papers commenced at 5:41 pm.