Published On: Thu, Oct 2nd, 2014

2015: Delta North Guber Aspirants Set to Tear PDP Apart over Obuh Imposition

LAGOS OCTOBER 2ND (URHOBOTODAY)-Since there is no registered political party in Nigeria that is exclusively for the good people or for the bad people, decamping and recamping, which have become a part and parcel of the country’s political lexicon, may soon gain the centre stage in Delta State.
Over 20 aspirants, who are currently jostling to take over from the incumbent Governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, 15 of whom are members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, The Eagle Online gathered, are set to spill the beans, should what they tag “the politics of elimination” play out.

Chief Peter Okocha, who contested the outcome of the election that produced Governor Uduaghan in 2007 for three years, has declared for the race next year on the platform of the PDP.
For Okocha, any attempt to use unorthodox means to exclude him from contesting, win and govern the state for the next eight years of Delta North Senatorial District’s slot, would trigger another round of legal fireworks.
He vowed: “Now I am in PDP, I will win my primary election there, win the election proper and govern the state for the next eight years. If anyone encroaches on my liberty again, I will not fight and take the law into my hand. I will go to court again.”
Okocha dumped the ruling party in 2006 and joined forces with the defunct Action Congress, the platform on which he claimed to have been unlawfully excluded.
Corroborating Okocha, the Deputy Campaign Director to Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, the chairperson on the Board of Directors of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, who hails from Asaba, the state capital, in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta North Senatorial District, Barrister Raymos Guanah, who was former Governor James Ibori’s former Senior Political Adviser, said whatever conspiracy game that may be orchestrated ahead of 2015, the joy of democracy would surmount it. “Those plotting it may bank on their chariots and swords but for us we trust in the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth,” Guanah said during Olejeme’s Campaign Stakeholders’ meeting in Asaba recently.
While the battle rages on who wears the crown next year, the campaign group of the estranged former Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, an Engineer, known as “the Purifiers”, have advantageously and optimistically positioned the former speaker to succeed the governor.
According to one of the staunch members of the campaign organization: “We have succeeded in recruiting all the ‘recruitables’, including some of the Speaker’s aggrieved predecessors.” He said the jinx of the age-long hegemony would end next year.
He said Governor Uduaghan “can only finish strong” following what he told those who care to listen at different fora, “if he handed the baton to Ochei next year”.
Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, a Medical Doctor turned politician, representing Delta North Senatorial District in the upper chamber and currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, who pundits have said “will emerge as the greatest loser by next year should Governor Uduaghan fails to handover to him”, is still undeterred despite the antics of the powers-that-be in the state.
Okowa has remained unstoppable in the race. He rose from a counselor to council chairman. He was appointed the Commissioner for Health by Ibori. Shortly after he stepped down for Uduaghan in 2007, he was appointed the Secretary to the State Government, a position he held until 2011 when he picked the Delta North Senatorial form to replace Senator Patrick Osakwe, who spent 16 years in the Senate.
His body language is synonymous to that of 2007 when he swept the PDP primary election at the Austin Jay-Jay Okocha Stadium in Ogwashi-Uku before he was prevailed upon by the national body of the PDP, in a give-and-take politics of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibori, to step down for Uduaghan. Okowa has been a loyal party member. Hence he is referred to in the political parlance as “the Ekwueme of Delta North politics”, but he was recently tested but not trusted by the powers-that-be in the state, hence the searchlight was beamed on his next door neighbour – the incumbent Chief of Staff, Dr. Festus Okubor, who The Eagle Online also gathered “became an abandoned project” for one reason or the other.
Although Okubor has not pasted any campaign posters neither has he mounted his billboards, political pressure groups are started falling on themselves, urging him to declare for the race. He has also paid his dues as a loyal PDP man. A PDP source in the state said “the caucus of the party will soon spring its surprise as Ibori did in 2007, when he waited till the 11th hour before anointing Uduaghan.” The source said the pendulum may eventually settle on him.
Okubor has since embarked on ‘mosquito campaigns’ ahead of 2015, having distinguished himself in various political appointments since the time of Ibori. Although, he has been categorized among the heavyweight contenders for the race, a new game-changer has been introduced into the race by the powers-that-be in the state last month. The emergence of the ‘preferred man’, Sir Tony Obuh, who retired from being the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Asaba, to contest the governorship, even though he has three more years in civil service, has thrown the gauntlet of Ika nation, the Delta North Senatorial District, and the entire state into a theatre of battle.
Since Obuh’s dashing entrance into the race, and he went to submit his application for employment into the Government House, Asaba, next year to the First Republican Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, top contenders, including the former Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Engr. Victor Ochei; the Senator, representing Delta North Senatorial district, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; the incumbent Chief of Staff, Dr. Festus Okubor; a former Assistant Commissioner of Police in River state, Chief Godswill Obielum; the Lagos-based multi-millionaire, Chief Peter Okocha; the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme; President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Projects’ Monitoring and Evaluation, Prof. Sylvester Monye; and the former Acting Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Sam Obi, who hails from his senatorial district, have started plotting fresh way to undo his rising intimidation.
Obuh, who piled his civil service trade for 15 years, said he has prepared for the continuity of the good governance entrenched by Governor Uduaghan. While he made bold to say his retirement has made him jobless and he was willing to be “employed” in a higher capacity as soon as possible, he said most of the posters and billboards that littered the every nook and cranny of the state were handiwork of his well-wishers. “I see the posters as messages of goodwill. Its a measure of people’s desire for me. There may be a meeting point for them and I. They are all messages of goodwill and I like them. I state unequivocally, I need further employment. Majority of our people want me to serve in that capacity and I say glory be to God, Amen. I re-emphasize, I am looking for employment. By the time I finish with my consultation, I will make a formal declaration and what I have in mind. I will call you people and tell you what I want. For now, give me time to finish my consultation.”
As it is now, Obuh is unapologetically committed to the 2015 course, having allegedly been assured adequate safety by the powers-that-be as their last option. No wonder, victory singers and professional kite-flyers have littered the streets of the state, especially Asaba metropolis, with his colouration, maintaining: “He is the Right Man for the Right Time for Delta State Governor 2015.”
It is obvious that Okowa knows that Obuh’s footprints in the neighbourhood of politics, especially his antecedents when he was Governor Uduaghan’s Permanent Secretary when he was former Governor James Ibori’s Commissioner for Health, Secretary to the State Government and now as his Permanent Secretary in Government House, spells doom for his ambition, because he saw it all in the past 15 years.
As it is now, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macauley, who The Eagle Online gathered is been considered as his deputy, being a man from Delta South, where the deputy has been zoned to, following PDP’s internal arrangement, has corroborated the elder statesman, Chief Clark, who referred to Obuh as “my son” when he said: “Obuh is eminently qualified to be Governor next year.”
Besides, the state chairman of the party, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, has favoured Obuh, when he said of him: “Obuh is far better than other contenders for next year governorship.”
If Obuh is the awaited Governor of the state, then Okowa, who lost his chance of becoming the governor in 2007 when he bowed to pressure, will emerge as the greatest loser. As a matter of fact, he will become the laughing stock of his teeming supporters who queued behind him during the party’s primary election in 2007 but were not consulted when he stepped down for Governor Uduaghan.
Except the unexpected wind of change blows hot from the opposition parties’ camp in the Finger of God state next year, especially from the All Progressives Congress, whose state Publicity Secretary, Isaac Adaka Adakpo, has vowed to resist the “covering up by INEC for the 15 years of PDP barrenness and sinister umbrella politics in Delta state”, the ruling party’s ‘anointed one’ will again emerge as the Governor of the state.
But one thing is indisputable in the state: the highly speculated ‘almighty defection’ will occur after the “unorthodox” means, alleged by Okocha, has played out.
Source: Eagles Online

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