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.