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Published On: Wed, May 1st, 2013

Delta 2015:Orubebe Declares Intention for Governor .. Says it’s Ijaws’ Turn to Produce Governor

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Over the weekend, Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godsday Orubebe, brushed aside a series of corruption allegations dangling around his neck and publicly declared his intention and preparedness to run for the office of the Delta State governor in the 2015 election.
The embattled minister made his intentions known during his condolence visit to the family of the late Alam Barovbe in Ovu Inland, Ethiope East local government area of Delta State. He made it clear that ethnicity would be given priority in determining the state’s next governor. “It is the turn of the Ijaw people to produce the next governor of Delta State,” Mr. Orubebe stated.
The minister boasted that God had made him the unanimous choice for the post of state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, added that he expected to be unanimously elected as governor in 2015.
Contacted late last night, a source at the Presidency told SaharaReporters that President Goodluck Jonathan was backing Mr. Orubebe’s gubernatorial ambition. “The fact that Chief Orubebe is so confident of becoming the governor come 2015 is because Mr. President is solidly behind him,” the source stated.
In his statement over the weekend, the minister stressed that the Ijaws must produce the next governor of Delta State irrespective of the next governor’s senatorial district. He stated that the Urhobo and Itsekiri ethnic groups had produced governors, but that the Isoko and Ndokwa have yet to produce one. He therefore insisted it is now the turn of the Ijaw, adding that the various ethnic groups within the state must have “a taste” of the governorship.
“I must say categorically that all the ethnic nationalities of this state must have a taste of the governorship of this state,” Mr. Orubebe said. “Urhobo people have gotten it, Itsekiri have gotten it, Ndokwa has not gotten it, Ijaw has not gotten it, Isoko has not gotten it. And so we are appealing to others that, this is the turn of the Ijaw people. We are appealing that it is the turn of the Ijaw people now because all the ethnic groups must have a taste.”
In 2012, a group known as the Anti-Corruption Network had petitioned the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), accusing Mr. Orubebe of extensive acts of corruption and abuse of office. The complaint, which was dated November 19, 2012, was signed by the network’s executive secretary, Dino Melaye, a former member of the House of Representatives. The petition accused Mr. Orubebe of accepting the gratification a huge mansion on a parcel of land allocated to him in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, adding that the minister’s acceptance of the real estate gift violated the country’s anti-corruption laws.
To add to Mr. Orubebe’s troubles, Edwin Clark, a major Ijaw political figure last December demanded that Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies investigate Mr. Orubebe on corruption.
Late last year, ex-militant Asari Dokubo criticized Mr. Orubebe for enriching himself whilst doing nothing for the Niger Delta area. In a widely circulated statement, Mr. Dokubo recalled that Mr. Orubebe used to be economically wretched before he was appointed into Mr. Jonathan’s cabinet. The ex-militant leader particularly assailed the minister for failing to work on the dilapidated East-West Road, the main highway artery into and from Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta.
A close source to the minister told SaharaReporters that Mr. Orubebe had no fears that his image as one of the most corrupt cabinet members would jeopardize his governorship aspirations. “So far as Chief [Orubebe] has the full support of the president, nobody can stop him,” the source said. He added that President Jonathan would not fire the controversial minister despite the series of corruption allegations swirling around Mr. Orubebe. “Mr. President has an interest in making him the next governor of Delta State. How then can Mr. President sack him?” the source said.
However, several political figures from the Niger Delta confided in SaharaReporters that a coalition of forces was emerging within the state to frustrate Mr. Orubebe’s governorship ambition. One source told our correspondent that prominent Ijaw leaders were part of the coalition.
“We are prepared to use the last drop of our blood when the time comes in 2015 to stop Chief Orubebe,” said one source. Another added that the minister “will never have a single vote” if the PDP’s primaries are free-and-fair. He said, “We all know that corruption runs in his veins. He is a well known monumental failure.” Then he challenged Mr. Jonathan “to wake up from his slumber and pilot the affairs of the nation and refrain from coming to create problems for Deltans.”

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