•Settled and unsettled truths
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
WHAT is open-ended at the moment in the rivalry for the successor of incumbent governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, is who precisely takes over from him in May 2023.
But barring any odd, it is foreseeable that the successor will spring from Delta Central senatorial district, adjudging from the parade of candidates by parties.
Could it be the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, who is the gubernatorial candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Deputy Senator President and gubernatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA contender, Chief Great Ogboru; or Social Democratic Party, SDP contestant, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, all Urhobo from the district?
Besides the above foursome, Comrade Efe Ekure and Mr. Jenkins Gwede, also of Urhobo ethnic extraction bear the governorship flags of African Democratic Congress, ADC, and Action Alliance Party, AAA, in the state.
Ofehe, Agbi challenge
However, the governorship candidate of Young Progressive Party, YPP, global environmental and human rights activist, Comrade Sunny Ofehe and his New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, counterpart, Dr. Goodnews Agbi, both from Isoko ethnic nationality in Delta South senatorial district, muscularly disagree that the next governor will come from Delta Central. On his part, Ofehe believes that he has the solution to economic emancipation of the state.
Actually, nothing is guaranteed, man can plan, only God knows for certain and has anointed the next governor of the state.
Nevertheless, if a Delta Central son, irrespective of party, triumphs in 2023, the reasonable supposition will be that Deltans have recognized rotation of governorship power on senatorial basis, a pointer that after another round of eight years for the district, Delta South will take over from 2031 in the order brought about in 2007 by ex-governor, Chief James Ibori.
On the contrary, that is Isoko, Delta South gubernatorial candidates, Ofehe and Agbi upturning the table, it will mean returning back to political drawing board.
PDP has performed, deserves continuity – Oborevwori
But Oborevwori, the Okpe-born PDP candidate is insisting that his party has provided standard governance to Deltans in the past 23 years and the people should give him their mandate to consolidate on the superb accomplishments of incumbent governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa with his MORE agenda.
PDP just carried out a masterstroke by picking the Executive Chairman, Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, DBIR, Sir Monday Onyeme, from Ndokwa area of the state as his running mate. Onyeme is one of the political “sons” of deceased Ndokwa political leader, Senator Patrick Osakwe and his choice is to give Ndokwa people, who had severally complained of marginalization a sense of belonging.
Oborevwori, a policy maker with street credibility and an unapologetic Warri boy was considered a small fry in the run-up to his party’s May 25 governorship primaries but he dumbfounded the big-timers by coming tops.
Those who thought he would be stopped by the landslide of court cases against him over his certificates are so far amazed at the manner a Federal High Court in Abuja threw out four or five of the matters lately, describing them as non-issues and lacking merit.
Oborevwori, who sees himself as a pencil on God’s hands is straightforwardly the man to beat in the upcoming governorship polls. His major target in 2023 is to validate the point that Delta is and remains a PDP state and also that Governor Okowa has done well enough for the people to continue to have faith in the party.
PDP, a catastrophe, let me lead– Omo-Agege
APC gubernatorial candidate, DSP Omo-Agege, who, at present, leads the opposition against PDP in the state does not believe that his former party, PDP, has done enough to warrant the trust of Deltans in 2023.
Recently, he criticized what he described as ‘the deplorable state of development indices’ under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration. Omo-Agege said despite receiving a whopping N770 billion in federal allocations in the last seven years, Governor Okowa had failed to deliver equivalent development to the people of Delta.
Omo-Agege, who spoke the director of communications and media strategy of his campaign organization. Ima Niboro, wondered “why far less endowed states in respect to receipts from the Federation Account and internally generated revenues such as Ebonyi and Borno states would be pulling landmark development projects back-to-back while Delta was nowhere to be found.”
He said he was on a mission to “rescue the state, enthrone good governance and reposition the state as a leading economic powerhouse in the country”, but the state government dismissed his outburst, saying he should properly crosscheck his figures and apprise himself with accurate facts on government projects in the state, including the ones dotting his area.
DSP as he is dotingly called is on the voyage with his colleague and chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi with whom wants to authenticate that he is the new face of Delta politics.
Some weeks ago, shots of him, Nwaoboshi, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, Executive Director, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration And Safety Agency, NIMASA, Hon. Victor Ochei and party chieftains, supposedly at loggerheads with him before now went viral on the social media to show they have reunited.
But former Executive Director, Projects and Administration, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and a vocal opponent of Omo-Agege in the party, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, has maintained a distance from DSP for some time running.
Available fact indicate that the major problem for Omo-Agege in the 2023 polls may not be even come from PDP, but the APGA gubernatorial candidate and his political benefactor, Chief Great Ogboru, aka Peoples General, who had vowed to stop DSP on account of what he assumed were treacheries against him by Omo-Agege.
Ogboru still strong, not exhausted fighter
But APGA platform saw him still taking a spot in 2023 Delta gubernatorial ballot, Ogboru, according to sources, felt humiliated by Omo-Agege, especially the sheer manner he was edged out of calculation in APC which he was the 2019 gubernatorial candidate.
Nobody needs a soothsayer to know that Delta Central is Ogboru’s turf in Delta state and contesting governorship election in the district with him will certainly be a kill-joy for the other three leading candidates- Oborevwori, Omo-Agege, Ogboru and Gbagi. Ibori and Olorogun O’tega Emerhor are the only Urhobo politicians that had faced Ogboru in a governorship contest in the district while former governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, is the other non-Urhobo governorship candidate that beheld his fireworks.
An APGA leader told this paper: “Ogboru will stop at nothing to stop Omo-Agege in Delta Central in 2023. Forget Omo-Agege, Ogboru will pay him back in Delta Central in 2023, which is a promise the people’s general will surely keep.”
It is, however, obvious that the major point Ogboru wants to prove in 2023 is that he is not a spent force as some people brand him because he had been contesting governorship election in the state since 2003 without winning.
No man can decided my destiny – Gbagi
Ex-Minister, Gbagi, who dumped PDP at the last minute to joint SDP, told newsmen, last Saturday, at his Oginibo country home in Ughelli South local government area that he wants prove that fact that he is a man and his proficiency by being in the 2023 ballot.
On his walking out from PDP, he said: ”Now, I have decided to leave the PDP with tears, with tears in my eyes because that was the house I built. One of Okowa’s greatest confidants met me on the plane when I was coming and said, eh you left a house you built as owner of the house?
“I said yes, let me be on the ballot and let God design my fate on the ballot. If I was not on the ballot, if I just agreed that what has happened has happened and go and sleep, it means I am not a man. I am a competent man and Okowa can tell all of you that I am a competent man. And that’s why I want to prove my competency at the ballot next year 2023.
On the fact that his new party was relatively unknown in the state, he said: ”The election we are going to hold in 2023 will not be on the basis of structure. Market women will vote, they do not have any structure, school teachers will vote, they do not have any structure, pensioners will vote, they do not have any structure, churches and church goers will vote and they do not have any structure.
“It will be an election where you are supposed to pick somebody that you believe can guarantee the future of your pregnancy, the future of your children and future of your state and the future of your children yet unborn”, he added.