•As Oborevwori (PDP), Omo-Agege (APC), Gbagi (SDP) give tone
•PDP inducts peace emissaries to placate Ibori, Uduaghan, Edevbie, others
• Otuaro, dep gov lives to fight another day
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
PDP/Oborevwori strategic move
WHEN the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State, last week, announced a chartered accountant and Chairman, Delta State Board of Internal Revenue, DBIR, Sir Monday Onyeme, as Deputy Governorship Candidate to its Governorship Candidate, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, political tacticians knew it was a political masterstroke.
Ndokwa nation comprising Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West and Ukwuani local government areas is one of the indigenous configurations that constitute Delta North senatorial district. It is a cultural bridge to Ika, Aniocha and Oshimili. It is like a melting pot of sort with residents who speak Isoko, Ijaw and Urhobo languages of Delta South and Delta Central senatorial districts.
One problem Ndokwa people have cried over the years is marginalization, both in the old Midwest region, defunct Bendel state and now Delta state. Some Ndokwa natives had made efforts to govern Bendel and Delta states but have not achieved the dream. Even those that gunned for deputy governorship candidate in the past lost out.
The late Prof Eric Opia of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, and Chief Joshua Enueme readily come to mind, just as Chief Godswill Obielum and Chief Johnson Opone had also made efforts before the current governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, from Ika area of Delta North senatorial won the governorship election in 2015.
Hon Fidelis Tilije, the current Commissioner for Finance in the state, also from Ndokwa, was a three-time deputy governorship candidate to Chief Great Ogboru and had also made attempt to run for governorship in the past.
However, in the present alignment in the state, governorship eluded the people since the incumbent, Okowa, is from Ika, same senatorial district with Ndokwa.
Born on March 30, 1965, Onyeme, the PDP deputy governorship candidate hails from Ibabu community of Onicha-Ukwuani in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Omo-Agege/APC counter strike
To counter the obvious advantage PDP wants to exploit in the 2023 elections with the choice of Ndokwa man as deputy governorship candidate, All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate and Deputy Senate President, DSP, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege went former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Friday Osanebi from Beneku town, Ndokwa East local government area.
Unveiling Osanebi born October 7, 1980 on Wednesday, Omo-Agege said it was in furtherance of the firm resolve of the party “to provide responsible and balanced leadership to realize our strategic vision to take Delta from extreme bad governance and Build A New Delta (‘BAND’) on the four pillars of Employment and Empowerment, Development, Good Governance and Enduring Peace and Security (‘EDGE’).”
Gbagi/SDP already made up mind
Before PDP and APC announced their deputy governorship candidates, industrialist and SDP governorship candidate, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, had indicated that his running mate would come from Ndokwa nation.
“Quite honestly, my running mate will come from Ndokwa nation. I am working on that and have up to July 15 to announce my running mate, and I am working hard on that,” he told journalists over three weeks ago.
Gbagi had a hearty relationship with the late political sage of Ndokwa nation, three-time Senator Patrick Osakwe, who wished before his death that PDP should give Gbagi its 2023 presidential ticket.
Otuaro programmed for another dispensation
Except for the Deputy Governor, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, Hon Ejaife Odebala and few others, many of the other PDP governorship aspirants, who contested the PDP May 25 governorship primaries, but lost to Rt. Hon Oborevwori, the 2023 gubernatorial standard-bearer of the party, some of the defeated contenders, including Olorogun David Edevbie and Senator James Manager, first and second runner-ups, have, until date, not acknowledged the winner while Edevbie had legitimately gone to court to challenge his victory.
One of the persons also touted not to have formally cheered Oborevwori and even his boss, Okowa, who also emerged as the party’s vice presidential candidate is the deputy governor, Deacon Otuaro, motioning that their relationship had become frosty.
But that is poles apart from the truth, Otuaro, an Ijaw from Delta South senatorial district, clearly lost out in his political permutations for 2023, but his relationship with his boss, Okowa and political associates remain buoyant.
Days after the victory of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborovweri as PDP gubernatorial candidate, Otuaro, accompanied him on a thanksgiving service in church. He had also vowed to stand with the governor to finish strong, in fact, when some people rumored that he should be considered for vice presidential candidate, a position he knew his boss was angling for, he quickly shot down the campaigners.
At his own thanksgiving service in Warri shortly after losing the primaries, Otuaro said he was contented in the personal love of God, Who additionally made him a centre of attraction over his governorship aspiration.
“I have never been this fulfilled in my spirit. I am so happy and fulfilled because God told me to go and contest and I did. I am not an impressionistic person. I am a child of God. He spoke to me and I heard him. I was restless and peace came over me when I responded ‘yes I will’.
“I told my principal and dear friend, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa about my divine call and must thank him for his support. If I had not courageously gone ahead to complete the processes and contest the election with all my resources as directed by God, I would not have been this fulfilled in spirit”, Otuaro asserted.
Beyond the call of duty, the conflict management expert in jubilant mood led crowd of Deltans to physically welcome Governor Okowa in his penultimate last Thursday homecoming as vice presidential candidate.
Well-versed political strategists said contesting the 2022 governorship primaries was actually the first real “baptism of fire” Otuaro had undergone in PDP politics and his underpinning for 2031 governorship ticket, expected to rotate to Delta South senatorial district then.
“Age is on his side, what Otuaro should do now is to build his political structure across the state and wait for another eight years. It is a settled political fact that 2023 governorship will go to Delta Central senatorial district, which is already manifesting but in another eight years, Ijaw and Isoko will the main contenders in Delta South by the unwritten PDP power sharing arrangement.
“ Otuaro is the only political front-runner that former governor, Chief James Ibori, his successor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and incumbent, Senator Okowa will not oppose his ticket in future. He should plan for his future in PDP,” the source said.
Can Aguariavwodo, Biakpara pacify Ibori, Uduaghan, Edevbie
The party, Wednesday, inaugurated a Peace and Reconciliation Committee in the three senatorial zones headed by Chief P.Y. Biakpara – Delta South; Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo- Delta Central and Chief Edwin Uzoh- Delta North to reconcile aggrieved members.
The principal task for Aguariavwodo, himself a former governorship aspirant, and his five-man Delta Central trouble-shooting squad is how to convince Edevbie to pull out his court action against Oborevwori and the party and calm the frayed nerves of a national leader of the part and head of the Ibori PDP political family in the state over the rebuff of Edevbie in the next four weeks.
For the Chief Biakpara team, the retired wing commander of the Nigerian Air force has to also mollify Dr. Uduaghan on why he should cuddle peace after what came to light in May.
In its three terms of reference to the trouble-shooting committees, state Publicity Secretary, PDP, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, charged them to meet and reconcile aggrieved members of the party and report back to the State Working Committee in four weeks from the date of inauguration.