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Published On: Sun, Oct 4th, 2020

Discordant Voices Unsettle PDP In Delta 2023

LAGOS OCTOBER 4TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Although the 2023 Delta State Governorship Election is not due anytime soon, issues surrounding zoning formula within the Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have taken centre stage with early birds in the gubernatorial race intensifying consultative meetings as new political alignments take shape.
These intense activities appear to have caught the attention of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who counseled party men against overheating the polity.
He said early commencement of political activities by party men was causing division within his cabinet.
Recently, he wielded the big stick; barring PDP members, especially political appointees, from accompanying aspirants on consultative visits.
According to him, “such early consultations were capable of causing distraction in governance and polarisation among State Executive Council members”.
Speaking through his Senior Political Adviser, Chief Funkekeme Solomon, Okowa maintained that “such early politicking was hasty, premature and capable of undermining the unity of purpose of the Okowa administration”.
According to the statement, some government officials have been found accompanying their colleagues on the consultations in furtherance of their 2023 political ambitions.
It said that such action was a distraction and was totally unacceptable as it divided members of the executive council.
It stressed that the governor had directed that members of government were forbidden from accompanying anyone with political ambitions for any consultations forthwith as punitive measures await anyone who defied the directive.
Part of the statement reads, “Sequel to my earlier Press Release on Political Activities ahead of 2023 – A Call for Caution – wherein it was clearly noticed that barely nine months into the second term of this administration that:
“Some members in positions of responsibility in this administration have begun consultations on their political ambition for 2023 general elections.
“Such early politicking is hasty, premature and is capable of undermining the unity of purpose of this administration.
“Following from the above, His Excellency, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, has cautioned members of government to exercise restraint.
“Consequently, the governor has prohibited forthwith, senior officials of government from accompanying anyone with political ambition on any consultations till further notice.
“It is to be emphasised that appropriate sanctions await anyone that flouts this directive”.
But it would appear the governor’s warning was observed largely in the breach, as aides continued politicking to the dismay of the governor.
But political pundits believe Okowa’s unease stems from a disagreement amongst party leaders over which senatorial district the next PDP governorship flag bearer should emerge from, despite the party’s long-standing rotation policy.
The Nation gathered that while ex-Delta governor, James Ibori, is rooting for a trusted member of his political family and current Chief of Staff to Okowa, David Edebvie, Okowa is exploring other options working in close collaboration with his political godfather, Prof Oyobvaire.
But with the less than a passing interest shown by his Deputy, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, in the governorship race, Okowa’s eyes may have been opened to new possibilities.
Pundits believe that Okowa may be secretly engineering a political alliance between Delta North and Delta South that effectively neutralises the political clout of the Urhobos in Delta Central.
With the numerical advantage such an alliance portends, Delta Central’s political ambitions may suffer come 2023.
Investigation reveals that some influential PDP politicians in Delta South Senatorial District are spearheading the argument to discontinue the zoning policy in the 2023 gubernatorial race.
A PDP source from Delta South, who spoke on condition of anonymity said,”The governorship position has gone full circle, with the three senatorial districts having had stints since 1999. We want a situation where all Deltans have equal stake in our common patrimony; so the 2023 gubernatorial elections should be a free for all contest.”
The 2023 gubernatorial election is a litmus test of how deeply rooted the zoning formula is and how much trust Deltans repose in the process.
But Delta PDP chairmen, Kingsley Esiso, who spoke recently at an event in Ovoire, Ethiope East LGA, opposed agitations against the party’s rotational policy, stressing that “noise making or airing personal, narrow opinions” were allowed in politics.
He said zoning was sacrosanct and urged Deltans not to be swayed by comments against the time honoured system.
Esiso said power rotation in Delta State is on the basis of senatorial districts; and neither by tribe nor ethnic nationality.
He added that the party leadership in the three senatorial districts of Delta North, Delta South and Delta Central had always been in one accord as to the devolution of power to Delta Central in 2023.
But, the National President of National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators (NCNDE-A) Eshanekpe Israel, while backing Delta PDP Chair, Kingsley Esiso, said the Urhobo should produce the governor in Delta State in 2023.
He decried insinuations that some persons from Delta South were angling to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The ex-agitator noted that such persons were chasing shadows, advising them to support an Urhobo candidate.
Israel, in a statement at a recent meeting of NCNDE-A leaders, said the Urhobo out of equity, justice and fair play, agreed to rotate power among the state’s three senatorial districts.
He noted that this magnanimity from a people with the voting strength to perpetuate themselves in power should not be taken for granted.
The NCNDE National President wondered why people would want to thwart an arrangement that promotes peace, unity and friendship, for selfish reasons.
Akpodoro, who doubles as National Coordinator of Urhobo Youth Forum for Change (UYFC), said power should return to Delta Central, and precisely Ughelli axis.
The Urhobo, he noted, didn’t breach agreement, stressing that anyone aspiring to be governor from the two other districts was betraying an arrangement that worked for the state.
In an interview, the Senior Political Adviser to Okowa, Solomon Funkekeme, gave a ringing endorsement to the rotation policy, stressing that the process has served the party well in the past.
He said, “I have said it several times that the rotational governorship arrangement has benefitted Delta State massively. It has brought stability, mutual respect and sense of equity to the state and that has enhanced development. So, I believe that policy is on and it will continue as far as PDP is concerned. As to whether it will be respected or not, it has never been without contest. At all times, there are people who contested in spite of the rotational arrangement. The only time we had something different within PDP was in 2019.
“Every other challenge was from other parties, who I believe don’t have the rotational arrangements. If there is any party that respects the rotational governorship arrangement, it is the PDP.
“Let me re-emphasise that at all times, there have always been contests, particularly in 2015. There was Professor Amos Utuama, who stepped down on the day of the congress. He is from Delta Central. David Edevbie, who contested with Okowa, is from Central. From the South, we had Elder Godswill Orubebe and from North we had Rt Hon Victor Ochei.
Continuing, he said, “You noticed that all senatorial districts contested but we continued to preach and to emphasise that it is in our best interest to honour the rotational governorship arrangement in the state because of the sensitive nature of how we are brought together by God. It is better for us to be patient enough to allow others to have it and let it come back to us again.
“As of today, as a party, we believe in turn by turn. Whether there will be micro zoning, it is not an issue that has come up for discussion as a party.
“Ambition is personal. It is open to all and anybody who thinks he has the ability and all it takes to govern Delta State has the right to aspire either within PDP or any other party.
The PDP as a party has always believed in rotational and zoning arrangements.
The Nation

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  1. I.O 'Kori says:

    Discordant Voices Unsettle PDP In Delta 2023: What the mess being dished out to the Urhobo Nation in PDP is theirs (Urhobos in PDP’s making)
    The Urhobo leaders in PDP called for this huge insult against Ur
    hobo Nation.
    1) Was it zoning that Produced Chief Felix Ibru against Professor Opia when even IBB tried to rigg for Prof. Opia?
    2) Was it Zoning that produced Chief James Ibori? Do you remember that his closest rival was also an Urhobo?

    Numerically, Urhobo numerical Census figures surpassed both of Delta North and South combined

    Urhobo command about 58% of the State population figure ( Delta Central + Warri South -Warri Urban/Central and the Metropolis + Urhobos in Patani LGAs)

    Its the greediness of some Urhobos that gave room to all these insults. They selling the Urhobo interest because they want to buy Cars, build mansions and go on holidays in Dubai.

    Is the Delta South Zone relying on the Toxic votes from the Creeks, Riverine areas? RIGGING?


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