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Published On: Tue, May 31st, 2022

2023 Primaries: Uneasy Calm In Delta Over Delegates’ Role

LAGOS MAY 31ST (URHOBOTODAY)-Governorship primary elections held on Thursday, May 25, across the country by the PDP, and on Friday, May 26, by the APC, seemed to have eased tension in the states including Delta State where it is now clear who are the elected candidates of the two major political parties.

There is however, uneasy calm as concerned citizens are shocked how delegates are made powerful before and during the elections courtesy of their roles.

Sherrif Oborevwori, the speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, won the Delta PDP guber ticket while Ovie Omo-Agege, the deputy senate president and member representing Delta Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was returned the APC guber candidate unopposed.

Oborevwori emerged winner having scored 590 votes out of the 821 valid votes cast by 824 delegates from the 25 LGAs of the state, that voted in the election. Three votes were void. INEC official that conducted the election announced that 14 persons participated in the election but eye witnesses said two aspirants including Kenneth Gbagi and Braduce Angozi were absent in the election.

On the other hand, Omo-Agege who was the sole guber aspirant of APC in the state, won with 1,190 votes to clinch the guber ticket of the party. A total of 1,350 voters were expected while s total of 1,235 voters were accredited. In all, 1,191 votes were cast, with one invalid vote, leaving Omo-Agege with a total of 1,190 valid votes.

‘Powerful delegates’

The elections just as the state’s House of Assembly elections and those of the House of Representatives and the Senate were seen to have made the delegates look so powerful as the aspirants allegedly paid much attention to them since their votes determine who wins or loses at the polls.

While the PDP heavy-weight candidates were said to have lavished their monies on the delegates, the APC sole candidate was said to have made the party uncomfortable early enough for those who had the intention of contesting against him. It was said that he had the backing of the APC national to be the sole candidate thus the guber primary election was seen as just a formality to seal his sole candidature.

Oborevwori to lock horn with Omo-Agege:

Analysts believe that unless David Edebvie who came second to Oborevwori with 113 will head to court to challenge his victory, Oborevwori would fly the Delta PDP guber flag in the 2023 general elections. He would lock horns with Omo-Agege but the issue is whether APC has put it’s house in order to fight as a party and take over power from the ruling party (PDP) in the state.

From the comment of the major aspirants that participated in the PDP guber primary election, they may have accepted Oborevwori’s victory for the sake of the party and the development of the state.

Edebvie Said: “Though the result was unfavourable, I am humbled by the immense goodwill shown to me across the entire state. I thank all Deltans and members of our party, particularly the youth, for your enthusiasm and support through the process (election).

“We are driven by the vision and a strong passion for the development of our dear state, and we remain encouraged that most Deltans share in this vision. Though several unsavoury factors came into play in our politics, particularly over the last few months, we remain steadfast in our aspiration for a modernised Delta to be bequeathed to the next generation.” He prayed God to bless Deltans and the state.

Peter Mrakpor, the former Attorney-General of the state, had nine votes said, “With love in my heart, I want to sincerely thank all my teeming supporters and friends for the massive show of love, financial support, sacrifices, and show of solidarity throughout the process.

“I want to assure you all that we will do better as we grow together politically for this was not a loss to us, but we should see the outcome as an encouragement to learn and do more as we grow and wax stronger politically and as one big family.

James Manager, senator representing Delta South District in the National Assembly who contested and scored 83, stated, “I want to thank God Almighty for his mercies and grace upon my life.

“I also want to thank my teeming-supporters, and well-wishers for standing and identifying with me in these times. Finally, I wish to particularly thank my brother and wonderful friend, HE Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for all he has done for, and with me. Yesterday has come and gone, Today is with us and tomorrow is yet to come. God bless Delta and her People,” he said.

Kenneth Gbagi’s allegation against Okowa:

Less than 48 hours to the election, Gbagi had written to the national headquarters of PDP, alleging threat to his life by Okowa’s security aide who he claimed was acting on the instruction of the governor. He said that he could only participate in the election if the issue of the threat to his life was addressed else he withdrew from the guber race.

Since the election took place, Gbagi has never commented on the outcome, though he had accused Governor Okowa of not allowing for a level-playing ground for free and fair elections as the governor earlier promised. He had accused the governor of frustrating the founding fathers of the Delta PDP out of the party but it is not certain whether Gbagi would go a step further to fight back.

Omo-Agege and his APC believes that the disagreement in the PDP as a result of the primary elections, would make way for APC to win in the 2023 election and take over the governance of the state. He foresees the disagreement between Okowa and former governor James Ibori to plunge the PDP into factions.

Oborevwori and Edebvie are all from Delta Central. Ibori is said to have wanted Okowa to choose Edebvie as his successor and work to deliver him in the guber primary election but Okowa preferred Oborevwori, thus, the power of incumbency may have been at work, delivering the speaker as one to now fly the party’s guber flag come 2023.

Omo-Agege’s prediction about PDP would come to pass if Ibori and Okowa chose not to mend their fences and forge a common cause for the unity of the party.

Many see Oborevwori’s victory as an end to Ibori’s political dynasty but another section of Deltans believes that should he play a fatherly role and strongly support Oborevwori’s candidacy, Delta would still be a PDP state after 2023 elections.

Bribing of party delegates a dangerous aspect of the elections:

Fejiro Oliver of Secret Reporters, on his Facebook page alleged that there had been a rain of dollars on the delegates at the venue of the primaries in Asaba.

He said they were competing in the amounts they were offering the delegates – from 1,000 dollars to 7,000 dollars for each delegate.

The development led to Deltans seeing the delegates as ‘super power’. Some call them the ‘mighty king-makers’. You must grease their palms if you want to emerge the winner. Unfortunately, only one person emerged the winner after all the heavy financial inducements by the bouyant aspirants and their godfathers.

Business Day

 

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