•Confusion over Gbagi’s participation
•Oboro, Ibori’s daughter wins Ethiope, Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie re-run
•Agofure emerges DTHA candidate for PDP Ughelli North constituency II
By Emma Amaize, Jimitota Onoyume, Festus Ahon, Akpokona Omafuaire, Ochuko Akuopha & Paul Olayemi
ASABA — AFTER months of party-political horse-trading, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, his political mentor and former governor, Chief James Ibori and other Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, delegates will, today, at Asaba, the state capital, select the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 election.
It has been vigorous politicking for Okowa and Ibori, who finally did not reach a consensus on today’s governorship primaries.
How they dominate
While Ibori is publicly known to be backing one of the governorship aspirants and former Commissioner for Finance, Olorogun David Edevbie, the governor, alleged to be supporting the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Sheriff Oborevwori, never campaigned openly for him.
He told newsmen, early this month, that the direction God was leading him regarding his successor would be known days to the primaries, but he has been flying without perching since then.
Ahead of today’s battle, Ibori re-asserted his control on his senatorial district, Delta Central, with his candidate and long-time buddy, Chief Ighoyota Amori and daughter, Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, winning the party’s senatorial and Ethiope federal constituency tickets respectively.
His governorship candidate, Edevbie is from Ughelli North Local Government Area, but with what happened at the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate primaries, which Chief John Nani, who is Okowa’s man narrowly lost to Amori, today’s governorship primary will be a close fight between the two dominant forces in the district.
Oborevwori is from Okpe axis of Delta Central district and is working with Nani, a former governorship aspirant and House of Assembly standard-bearer for Okpe, who reportedly stepped down for him, Chief James Augoye, to emerge with superior votes in the district.
Okowa’s men win
Governor Okowa won the remaining two senatorial districts, Delta North and South through his candidates – Chief Ned Nwoko and Mr Michael Diden, who are the senatorial standard-bearers respectively. The governor is basically in total control of Delta North delegates.
In Delta South, Diden, who has proved to be a new power broker in the district and is working for Oborevwori, joined by former Commissioner, Chief Joseph Otumara and others, would, however, battle for delegates’ votes with the Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro and Senator James Manager, who also hail from the district and are aspirants in today’s primaries.
There was misunderstanding, Monday night, over the participation of former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, in today’s primary, as the governorship aspirant, citing intimidation and threat to his life, in a letter to the National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, pulled out of the race.
Sources disclosed that the former minister later changed his mind, saying nothing would stop him from contesting the primary.
However, a PDP governorship aspirant, who stepped down for him, Ediri Idimi, in a statement, said: “We stand with Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi on his decision to withdraw from the governorship race of Delta State. We also want to use this opportunity to express our dissatisfaction in the conduct of Governor Okowa that resulted in the withdrawal of Gbagi from the race.”
Party warns interlopers
Meanwhile, the Publicity Secretary of Delta State PDP, Dr Ifeanyi Osuoza, in statement, yesterday, affirmed that the party’s 2023 governorship primary would hold today as scheduled at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Osuoza said: “Anyone who is not directly involved with the primaries is strictly advised to stay away from or near the perimeters of all aforementioned venues until the exercise is duly completed.”
Oboro, Ibori-Suenu overpower male aspirants
In the run-off election, yesterday, for Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal constituency among the trio of Messrs Evelyn Oboro, Efe Afe and Napoleon Gbinije, who tangled at 25 votes apiece, on Sunday, Oboro surged ahead with 45 votes, beating Gbinije, who had 36 votes and Afe, 18 votes to second and third positions correspondingly.
Mr Ben Igbakpa, who initially tied 34 votes each with Ibori-Suenu, on Sunday, lost steam, yesterday, as Ibori’s daughter polled 46 votes against his 22 votes.
Soon after she won, his father’s supporters thronged the venue, singing: “You cannot disgrace us.”
Igbakpa, currently representing Ethiope federal constituency, told Vanguard: “I fought a good fight and I am so glad I did. I give all the glory to God Almighty. I thank my wonderful supporters; you have always been there for me.”
Uduaghan sends heart touching message to Martin, Warri North delegates, makes commitment
Meanwhile, Orode Meyiwa Uduaghan, the daughter of former Delta State Governor, Uduaghan, has sent a heart touching message to her opponent and delegates after losing the primary election. She also made her commitment to a better Warri North constituency.
She called on the winner to ensure a robust and better representation of the people, saying: “I want to thank everyone who has offered support since I declared my intention to represent Warri North constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly under the People’s Democratic Party.
“The journey was not without its challenges, we fought well and hard and your immense support served to strengthen the conviction for what was possible.
“I would also like to congratulate Honourable Alfred Martins on his victory at the PDP primaries. Our conviction is that service is a privilege, and we will hold you to the highest standards of this privilege ceded to you today by the party. We entrust to you again the vision for a greater Warri North and beseech you to serve our people dutifully as you vie for your second term.
“There is no political title as important as the title of citizen, and our political choices must match our aspirations. I therefore call on all well-meaning Nigerians to participate actively in the electoral process come 2023. I remain committed to serving the people of Warri North, Delta State and Nigeria in my own capacity. “
Agofure emerges DTHA candidate for PDP Ughelli North constituency II
Also, the Deputy Leader, Ughelli North Local Government Legislative Arm, Onos Agofure, has emerged candidate of Delta State House of Assembly to represent Ughelli North Constituency ll, on the banner of the PDP.
He commended all the ad-hoc delegates and others for the confidence reposed in him to fly the flag of the party and promised to run an open door policy, adding that he will never disappoint them for the confidence repose on him to represent them at the state House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen on his victory at the party primary, Agofure said he would consolidate on the achievements recorded by the past and present representatives, appealing to all his co-contestants to join hands with him so that together they can offer the area quality representation.
He said: “As a two-time councillor, l have in the past years embarked on rehabilitation and commissioning of Agbarho entrance, market road, renovation of public schools at Oguname, Ohrerhe and Orhokpokpo communities, provision of food and relief materials during the COVID-19 pandemic to constituents; provision of borehole water at Ohrerhe community, rehabilitation and contribution of Ohrerhe and Oguname community town halls, furnished with industrial fans, tables and chairs; provision of cash grant to small scale traders at Orhokpokpo, Uvwiamughe and Ohrerhe communities and others too numerous to mention.
“I promise to take Ughelli North Constituency II to the pathway of growth, Infrastructures and Human Capital development, hence, l want to appeal to all Ughelli North constituency II for their massive votes, support and prayers to succeed as member Delta State House of Assembly during the general elections come 2023.”