Omo-Agege upstages Ogboru

Akpabio outflanks Akpanudoedehe

Obaseki halts Orbih, Uroghide; Onor shakes  the table in C’River PDP

Losers go after delegates who collected money without voting for aspirants 

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Jimitota Onoyume, Festus Ahon, Gabriel Enoghalase, Egufe Yafugborhi, Ike Uchechukwu, Chioma Onuegbu and Ochuko Akuopha

Political parties, at the weekend, concluded their governorship, Senate, House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries in the South-South ahead of the 2023 elections, exposing previously incognito agendas of several state governors, betrayals by political godfathers, power brokers, delegates and withdrawal of livid governorship aspirants. 

One prevailing upshot, across the states, is that some defeated aspirants are hunting delegates they suspected did not vote for them with political thugs to return the inducements they collected. How they conclusively determined the said delegates never voted for them in the primaries is yet to be clarified, but since the ambush commenced, delegates are reportedly on the run.

Okowa outflanks Ibori

 In Delta State where a contestant, who supposedly spent N80 million collapsed after losing the House of Representatives ticket to an incumbent lawmaker in Ika Federal Constituency, Olorogun David Edevbie, the candidate of former Governor James Ibori, lost the gubernatorial primaries, proving bookmakers wrong. 

Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, long speculated to be the favorite of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, which he controverted, was the lucky person that picked the gubernatorial ticket.

However, with the aftermath, the Ibori PDP political family is not sunk as some unacquainted individuals presumed. But the truth is that Ibori, who is the leader of the political family; Okowa; and former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan will most likely have more mutual respect for each other having played politics and appraised their present-day powers. 

Okowa has also not superannuated Ibori from politics. In fact, Ibori evidenced his potency by producing his buddy, Chief Ighoghota Amori, as the party’s standard-bearer in his senatorial district, Delta Central, and his daughter, Erhiatake Ibori-Suenu, as Ethiope Federal Constituency standard-bearer, among others.

The governor’s men, Chief John Nani and Chief Askia Ogieh, lost the Delta Central senatorial and Isoko House of Representatives’ tickets, but he validated his prowess with the emergence of Prince Ned Nwoko and Hon. Michael Diden, aka Ejele, as Delta North and Delta South senatorial district flag-bearers of the party. He was predominantly in control of the party’s delegates at the primaries.

The principal shocker ahead of the PDP primaries in the state was the pulling out of former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, citing maltreatment and other undemocratic practices towards him.

Sunday Vanguard’s phone calls to Gbagi, Friday, for comments were not returned, but we learned he may fall back to his Plan B, contesting the 2023 governorship poll on the platform of another political party.

Curiously, Okowa did not ratify the ambition of his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, who, paralleled with Oborevwori’s 590 votes in the primaries, balloted below par nine votes.

However, Okowa, Ibori and Uduaghan, whose daughter, Orode Uduaghan, was not advantaged to win the Warri North primary, are anticipated to meet with other party leaders to strategize on the way forward though some overpowered governorship aspirants, acting through proxies, have dragged the governorship standard-bearer, Oborevwori, to court over certificate issues.

Omo-Agege’s plan against Ogboru

In the opposing All Progressives Congress, APC, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, consummated his course-plotting the party’s 2019 governorship aspirant, Chief Great Ogboru, at the party’s primaries in Asaba, Thursday, with only him (Omo-Agege) standing as aspirant and ultimately picking the gubernatorial ticket. 

Ogboru, who foreknew the design, had already moved to the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, on whose platform he will contest the 2023 governorship election. With this development, the gubernatorial candidates of the major parties in the state are from Delta Central (Urhobo), meaning that Ijaw ethnic nationality lost out in its 2023 bid.

Wike, Amaechi astonish Ijaw

In Rivers State, the case was different as Governor Nyesom Wike and former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who lead PDP and APC respectively in the state, for the first time since 1999, ensured that riverine stakeholders, mainly Ijaw, produced the gubernatorial candidates in the two top parties. 

The lingering agitation in the state, over the years, has been that only upland dwellers have enjoyed exclusive occupation of the Government House, Port-Harcourt.

On Wednesday, Rivers PDP delegates elected immediate past state Accountant- General, Sim Fubara, an Opobo son, as governorship flag bearer, in deference to the will of Wike.  The day after, Thursday, it was Kalabari -born business mogul and confidant of Amaechi, Tonye Cole, who mopped the overwhelming votes to clinch the gubernatorial ticket.

Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Banigo, apparently looking up to Wike for direction, never expressed any ambition to succeed her principal. However, apparently for her loyalty through the years, the governor rewarded her with the PDP senatorial ticket for Rivers West.

Eno emerges in Akwa Ibom

In Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel, who took charge of delegates, produced not just the governorship candidate, Pastor Umo Eno, but also the House of Assembly, House of Representatives and senatorial candidates.

Angry at the governor’s domineering influence, Onofiok Luke, Bassey Albert Akpan, a.k.a OBA, Michael Enyong, Akan Okon and other governorship aspirants shunned the primaries on the grounds that the voting arrangement schemed out their delegates.

Besides a pending court case at Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the illegality of the ad-hoc delegate congress of April 30, a two-term member representing Uyo Federal Constituency, Michael Enyong, conducted a parallel primary in which he scored a total of 2, 448 votes to defeat other contestants.

Many PDP stakeholders are furious about the ugly developments in the party with some threatening to quit.

Akpabio outmaneuvers Akpanudoedehe

As of the time of this report, Friday, there was serious crisis between the two factions in Akwa Ibom APC, one led by Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, who is also a governorship aspirant, and the other by the immediate past Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, over the governorship primary.

Akpabio’s faction is, however, enjoying the support of the national leadership of the APC in the state, hence the Akpanudoedehe’s faction did not have the materials to conduct its analogous primary.

But amid the power play, Akan Udofia, Akpabio’s candidate, won the governorship primary of the APC conducted at about 1.00 am, Friday.  Udofia, who defected from the PDP to the APC, about two weeks ago, defeated seven other contestants, including Senator Ita Enang, immediate past Special Assistant to the President, to clinch the APC gubernatorial ticket.

Onor shakes the table

The emergence of Senator Sandy Onor as the PDP gubernatorial flag-bearer in Cross River State came as a rude shock to many. 

Onor, who clinched the ticket after polling 236 votes against the predictions of bookmakers and beating heavy weights like Sen. Gershom Bassey, is a political revolution in the state.

The late withdrawal of a former Deputy Governor, Mr. Effiok Cobham, and the “quiet” collapsing of structures by aspirants from Efik extraction could not save Bassey who left the Venetian Arena, venue of the primary in Calabar, even before collation was concluded because he read the hand writing on the wall.

As it is, Bassey can neither go back to the Senate nor become governor unless he decided to defect to another party. The same goes for Daniel Asuquo who also has to wait till after 2023 or move to another political party.

Christened the ‘King of the unconquered generation’, the structure of the party in the state now resides majorly with Onor who is the new bride. Though former governor and political avatar, Sen. Liyel Imoke, remains the leader of the party, he may not be able to totally control the structure statewide any longer due to the power shift, occasioned by the advent of Onor.

Orbih, Urhoghide lose to Obaseki

In Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki pulled the rug under the feet of the senator representing Edo South, Matthew Uroghide, who lost to his fierce rival, Matthew Iduoriyekenmwen, in the primaries of the PDP.

Also in Edo Central, Ose Anenih, son of the late legendary politician, Chief Tony Anenih, lost his bid to win the ticket for the House of Representatives. Ose Anenih was defeated by Lewis Osobase in the PDP primary for Esan North-East and Esan South-East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

In Edo North, some favored aspirants of the party’s National Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih, lost their bids to pick tickets in the House of Representatives and the state House of Assembly segments of the primaries. 

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