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Published On: Sat, Jun 26th, 2021

Delta 2023: How Scramble For Senate Ticket Tears Okowa, Nwaoboshi Apart

Peter Nwaoboshi and Ifeanyi Okowa when the going was good…


LAGOS JUNE 26TH (URHOBOTODAY)-It has become conspicuous even to the tone-deaf, lately, that the handshake between the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi representing North Senatorial District, Delta State, both political giants of Anioma assemblage in the oil-rich state, has gone beyond the elbow.
When such ensues, it stops to be a hospitable gesture. Rather, it points to a combat and that is what has broken out between former Delta state chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Nwaoboshi, aka Oracle and Okowa, popularly known as Ekwueme.
Delta South, Central leaders alarmed
Political tacticians and people of South senatorial district comprising Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri ethnic nationalities and Central senatorial district, mainly Urhobo, are taken aback at the market square dance between the two political titans.
Though Governor Okowa has not spoken openly on the hostilities, his men were responding measure for measure to Nwaboshi’s bombshells.
Few also expected Okowa and Nwaoboshi, who succeeded him at the Senate in 2015 after the former took over the governorship of the state from ex-governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to go into a fight.
This especially surprising given the camaraderie and unity with which they resisted and fought for the party’s ticket and governorship to revolve to the North senatorial district in 2014/2015 respectively.
Nwaoboshi stirs hornets’ nest
An angry Nwaoboshi was first to publicly stir the hornet’s nest when he lashed the governor, last month (May), accusing him of betrayal for saying he (Okowa) was not aware of any formal agreement on rotation (zoning) of governorship in the state.
He insisted there was understanding, which the governor was not privy to, but benefited.
Former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, and other leaders of the party defended the governor, saying that there was, indeed, no official agreement on zoning of governorship in the state.
But, Nwaoboshi, took on Okowa again, last week, railing that he has paid lesser attention to Anioma nation than former governors, Chief James Ibori and Dr. Uduaghan, whereas he was allegedly whipping up ethnic sentiments against other sections of the state.
Chiazor replies Oracle
Governor Okowa’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Norbet Chiazor, in a riposte, said: “Senator Nwaoboshi seems to have gotten an obsession in recent times, attacking Governor Okowa each time he has the microphone for indistinct reasons.
“Is it smug pleasure or malignant anxiety?
“The senator can live in vainglory under the vaunting comfort of an office made soft by the widespread goodwill and tenacity of Okowa since the 2015 senatorial election.
“But two things are clear. One, Okowa has done well for Asaba, nay Delta North. Two, the governor is more Anioma than Nwaoboshi.”
How Okowa soundlessly flattened Nwaoboshi
Saturday Vanguard finding from its discreet inquiry is that the current no love lost relationship between Okowa and Nwaoboshi is traceable to who represents Delta North senatorial district from 2023.
Okowa, who vacated the seat after one tenure in 2015 to become governor wants to return to reclaim the position, but Nwaoboshi, who is serving his second tenure would want to continue in 2023.
To get the party’s ticket, the governor started very early in the day to strip Nwaoboshi of his enormous power in the North senatorial district by disassembling his political structure and putting his own men in strategic positions in Nwaoboshi’s Oshimili North local government area and Delta North as a whole.
As a politician, Nwaboshi, having read the handwriting on the wall was said to have practically made up his mind to join the rival All Progressives Congress, APC.
Surprisingly, however, Governor Okowa has not made public his intention to contest the 2023 Delta North senatorial ticket, which Senator Nwaoboshi would want to retain. Many political followers know that is his game plan.
Nwaoboshi, Omo-Agege newfound romance
In fact, the blossoming relationship between him and Deputy Senate President, DSP, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, widely expected to fly APC flag in the 2023 governorship election is already causing ripples in Oshimili North and Ndokwa axis of North senatorial district.
Many PDP chieftains and leaders who are Nwaoboshi’s men in Oshimili North, including former chairman of the local government area, Mr. Louis Ndukwe and ex-Commissioner, Chief Iwezu, have deserted the party for APC.
Ndokwa could be some political masterstroke of Nwaoboshi. He has sponsored a bill for the establishment of Federal University in Ndokwa, which had passed second reading and scheduled for Public Hearing, June 29.
There are talks in Delta that Nwaoboshi may run with Omo-Agege in 2023 and both have been involved in lots of sensitization projects in the North senatorial district in recent times, which could be why former Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, during the week, wondered if Nwaoboshi was still a member of PDP.
However, there are bound to be political differences among politicians and the rift between Okowa and Nwaoboshi is not strange.
Okowa had a brush with predecessor and friend, Uduaghan, before he finally emerged governor in 2015.
The governor has a reputation of being a resilient and quiet fighter, which was why not many knew he had stripped Nwaoboshi of his political influences in the North senatorial district until a furious Oracle exploded in May.
Nwaoboshi’s outburst is actually located in his realization that Okowa has plan to outsmart him in 2023.
Nwaoboshi had also boasted, last month, that they would stop whatever plan Okowa has to palm off anybody as his successor in 2023, despite the governor’s explanation that he had no authority to make anybody governor, as such power belongs to God.
PDP suspends Nwaoboshi
Joining the disagreement, the State Working Committee, SWC, of PDP, rising from an emergency meeting, Wednesday, suspended Nwaoboshi, for a period of one month.
State Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, in a statement, said: “This action has become necessary against the backdrop of the recent romance with an opposition party, verbal recklessness, and unprovoked utterances of Senator Nwaoboshi, particularly against the person of His Excellency, Senator Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State, which the PDP SWC views strongly as totally unacceptable, disturbing and unbecoming of a politician and party member of his stature.”
“The PDP State Working Committee is in no doubt that the rash, unguarded, confused and heavily noxious, and vitriolic attacks by Senator Nwaoboshi, a serving Senator and a very recent chairman of our great party, are potentially inimical to the peace and harmony of the Party and tantamount to causing discord and disaffection among loyal party members.
“The suspension, therefore, though obligatory, has sadly become imperative and inevitable, especially given the dramatic spontaneity and over-zealousness of his verbal attacks, which are totally out of character and may have suspiciously been induced by circumstances which defy immediate rational analysis and comprehension,” the party spokesperson added.
Wise men don’t wrangle — Dunkwu
However, adjudging from what exists between the two political elephants, a group of Anioma political strategists led by Chief Ifeanyi Ndunkwu, opined: “Governor Okowa and Senator Nwaoboshi should quickly meet and sort out whatever grievances they have because of what they represent to their followers and Anioma nation.
He asserted: “There is a Hebrew proverb that says ‘When two men quarrel, the one who yields first displays the noble character’ and another Spanish proverb that declares ‘It takes two to make a quarrel, but only one to end it.
“My point is that the disagreement between Okowa and Nwaoboshi is not healthy for two of them and Anioma nation, one of them. Okowa in my view should quickly end it. As far as I know, wise men do not quarrel with each other.”
Only a blind person will accuse me of nonperformance – Okowa
But, just when it was thought that both leaders would meet and resolve their issues, Governor Okowa responded to Nwaoboshi’s criticisms for the first time on Thursday.
He said: “If anyone says he is not seeing what we are doing, it’s either that they are blind or they don’t live in Asaba.
“Their attempt to pitch me against my predecessors will not work because I am not quarrelling with them.
“My predecessors laid the foundation for what we are doing in the state and I am building on the foundations they have laid.
“I am building on the foundation that I met. Some people are angry and want to cause quarrel between me and my predecessors but they have failed because no stranger will deceive us in this state.’’
Nwaoboshi finally quits PDP
Confirming the notorious detail that he was hobnobbing with APC, Nwaoboshi, on Friday morning, dumped PDP for APC.
He was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari and National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, at the State House by Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, with whom he already had the arrangement to give the PDP the battle of its life in Delta state in 2023, underestimating Dunkwu’s guidance that sensible men do not fight.
Vanguard News Nigeria

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