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Published On: Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013

Delta 2015: Who Wears Udughan’s Shoes?

WHEN Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan quits as chief helmsman of Delta State on May 29, 2015, who will be his successor? Will the person come from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or opposition parties like the newly registered All Progressives Congress (APC), Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) and others?
Will he come from Delta North, Delta Central or Delta South? Will the person be a thorough politician, technocrat, egg-head, man or woman?

These are some of the questions that the electorate must answer as posturing for the 2015 elections gathers momentum.
Though the polls are almost 20 months away the Delta State political landscape is already astir with an avalanche of aspirants, who want to succeed Uduaghan, the third civilian governor of the state.
The aspirants, drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state are currently strategizing, consulting, mobilizing, aligning and re-aligning to gain advantage at the polls. They are also deploying their pedigree – educational, economic and network of contacts into the race. There is also the question of zoning and ability to deliver.
Since the creation of the state, Delta North has not produced the governor while Delta Central and South have had turns through Olorogun Felix Ibru, Chief James Ibori and Uduaghan.
Among those considered to be jostling for the Asaba Government House are Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Hon. Victor Ochei, Elder Godsday , Orubebe, Chief Great Ogboru, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi and Chief Godswill Obielum.
Others include: Ndudi Elumelu, Ovie Omo-Agege, Chief Solomon Ogba, Ngozi Ulejeme, Saliba Umukoro, Peter Okocha and Hon Sam Obi.
The aspirants:
Chief Great Ogboru is a veteran governorship candidate in the state, who has been contesting for the post since 2003. He was in the last race on the banner of the DPP. He insists he had been robbed in the past contests and has vowed to take over power from the ruling PDP, which he described as cabals for corruption.
Hon Sam Obi is former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and was an acting governor of the state during the 2011 re-run election. Hon. Victor Ochei, an engineer is the present speaker of Delta State House of Assembly. He is said to be a creative and innovative philanthropist.
Chief Godswill Obielum is a security Czar, who has attained a statesmanship status in political circles both at the grassroots and national levels.
Hon Godsday Orubebe is the Minister, Niger Delta Affairs under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. He is said to have paid his dues in Delta PDP.
Clement Ofuani is a financial whiz-kid, who is said have unblemished public and private careers.
Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is presently in the National Assembly representing Delta North. He is a medical doctor with vast experience in politics and administration.
Chief Peter Okocha, a multi-millionaire businessman, who once contested for Delta governorship election against Dr. Uduaghan on the platform of the Action Congress (AC), is expected to join the race soon.
Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi is a veteran Delta State governorship aspirant, immediate past Minister of State (Education), a lawyer, philanthropist, seasoned business czar and one of the highest investors and employers of labour in Delta.
The first African-born member of the Rotary International’s Arch C. Klumph society once chaired the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria. He is considered a man of principle and means.
Festus Keyamo, a lawyer has made his mark as a social crusader and rights activist. He insists that it is time for Delta State to witness a progressive change.
Continuation of Uduaghan’s legacy: Giving the horde of aspirants, analysts have stressed the need for Deltans to elect a credible and capable person, who has the wherewithal to take the state to the next level after Uduaghan.
As the governor of Delta State since 2007, Uduaghan, in spite of the re-run hiccups in 2011 against Chief Great Ogboru and others, has been able to make some giant strides and deliver dividends of democracy to Deltans, his supporters claim.
Through his three-point agenda, Uduaghan has made efforts to leave Delta better than he met it. Essentially, he says he wants to prepare Deltans for life after crude oil.
The governor surprised Deltans last Democracy Day when he used the day to advise Delta youths to channel their minds towards entrepreneurship skills as opposed to dependence on crude oil and natural gas.
On this score, some stakeholders said the way forward for Delta State is for the people to look well and elect a governor who will build on the developmental strides of past administrations; a man of excellence who has the interest of development (human, material and capital) of the state at heart. In doing this, they want Deltans to take into account qualities of the man not his tribe, sectional interest or religion.
In other words they should base their choice of candidate and eventual governor on excellence. There are also critics of the governor and his predecessor, James Ibori. They say that Delta State needs a decisive change in 2015.
Conscripted leaders
They claim that over the years, Delta politics had been directly controlled by highly placed cabals in the state. According to them, the resultant effect is that the state resources have been politically mismanaged by imposed and conscripted leaders who never sailed through the choice of Deltans but selected by cabals of the state.
To this school of thought, Delta needs a fearless man to stop the rot, halt the slide into hopelessness and re-direct Delta to the course of recovery, growth and development. Such a person, they said, should be someone who is unblemished and principled and has not risen to prominence through government jobs and appointments.
He should also be a man of means with huge investments especially in the state; a man who is looking for the top most seat to offer service and not to amass wealth.
Need for security:
And to ensure a free, credible and violence-free election, some observers have urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to be vigilant and do the needful by beaming their searchlights on Delta.
Reacting to these issues, Olorogun Gbagi, an Urhobo, said Delta deserved to get the best in 2015. He urged all qualified sons and daughters of Delta to join the race to enable Deltans pick the best at the polls. He frowned at calls for zoning of the governorship seat to any zone saying it was counter-productive and infringes on the rights of citizens to aspire to higher offices in the state.
His words: “It is irresponsible to zone the presidential and governorship seats. Zoning has never worked in Nigeria.
“In the election that brought Governor Uduaghan, people from Delta North, Delta Central and Delta South contested. You must allow people to vote according to their beliefs.
“I welcome my brothers from Delta North and Delta South to the contest just as I from Delta Central I’m entitled by the constitution to contest. Zoning means my right of existence as a Deltan should be extinguished. I am a founding member of the PDP; I contested the PDP governorship primary in 1999 with Chief James Ibori and others.
There is no document or agreement to disenfranchise any senatorial district in Delta State governorship election. I respect the right of any Deltan to aspire to the office of governor of Delta State.”
Source: Vanguard

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