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DELTA 2019:  Anioma people, Ibori recapture initiative for PDP, Gov Okowa

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By Emma Amaize,

Regional Editor, South-South

Battle of wits

UNTIL  the Saturday, April 21 coronation of Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, by the people of Anioma (Delta North senatorial district) as their sole governorship candidate for the 2019 governorship election, the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship aspirants from his home base seeking to take over his office, had launched an aggressive campaign that his (Okowa’s) time at Government House, Asaba, would be over, next year.

Among them are professionals and shrewd politicians including former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Victor Ochei, Prof Pat Utomi,    Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and Engr. Enuha, who had traversed the state letting it known that Okowa had failed and is not the best Anioma could offer.

Gov. Okowa

The contention is that since it is politically expedient in the state for Anioma to complete an eight-year tenure, which the People Democratic Party, PDP, has taken the first under Okowa to accomplish a budding power rotation arrangement, the most viable option was for the party (APC) to support an Anioma gubernatorial ticket in 2019. Save for some few dissents, who are insisting on “no zoning”, the APC seemed to have bought the idea of an Anioma gubernatorial candidate.

With the intimidating APC propaganda and thin responses from Okowa, who simply mouthed that he would return to power in 2019 with his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, there were concerns as to the support he was enjoying from his Anioma home base until the events of last Saturday. The opposition had momentarily seized inventiveness from the ruling party in the state.

Game changer

The political dynamics, however, changed with the grand reception by Anioma nation, tagged “Celebrating A True Son of Anioma”, where the leaders of    Delta North senatorial district joined by leaders of other ethnic groups in the state, adopted Okowa as their sole governorship candidate.

The event was a political master stroke to dislodge the APC, which was already making strategic inroads in the state. It was palpable that the PDP tacticians in Anioma did some homework, as no less a person than nationalist and renowned adventurer, Chief Newton Jibunor, moved the motion on behalf of Anioma nation for the adoption of Okowa as the sole governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election. It is not customarily a task that Jibunor would want to perform, but he carried it out without prevarication.

It takes a political strategist to read what played out, last Saturday, at the Anioma assembly and former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, the leader of the Ibori political family that produced Okowa on PDP platform in 2015, accentuated the maneuverings.

Face governance, leave politics for us, Ibori tells Okowa

Former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori revealed that leaders in Delta Central and South senatorial districts have resolved not to take Delta North Senatorial District for granted in 2019 governorship election. He said they have resolved that equity and fairness bring peace and it is only when they take the people for granted that there will be trouble.

Apparently speaking as a veteran, he spotlighted the threat by the opposition party to Okowa, but quickly added that it was easier said than done for opposition parties frantic to dethrone him in 2019 to make headway, pointing out that they had the right to be go-getting and get some votes, but PDP would continue its winning streak.

He said his major worry was the support from Anioma people and now that they have spoken, Okowa should face governance and leave the real politicking to the masters of the game.

The former governor, arguably, the undisputed political kingmaker asserted that  since Anioma people have adopted Okowa, he would mobilize the Ijaws, Isokos, Itsekiris, Urhobos and others in the state to ensure he emerges victorious and rules till 2023.

His words: ‘’I have one vote, my family shall vote for you, I am from Oghara, majority of the people in Oghara shall vote for you. It is impossible in a democratic setting for everybody to vote one way. We all have our PVCs to vote for the governor”

Maintaining that Governor Okowa has done well and the people of Delta North made a right choice well, he said he would convince other leaders to rally round him when they consult him on the way forward.

‘’My mother is Itsekiri, I am part of Itsekiri, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan,    the highest political office holder from there has spoken to support him (Okowa), Ijaws have spoken, I am a title holder there too, Isoko leaders have spoken in support of the governor, I am an Urhobo man, a title holder there. We shall all join them to actualize the mandate,” Ibori declared.

Anioma, others speak

From the collection of Anioma people that congregated for the coronation of Okowa, it was manifest where they stood. Former  Deputy Governor of the state under Ibori, Chief Benjamin Elue led the pack with Chief Jibunor and Ide of Ahaba, Chief Sunny Odogwu.

Jibunor’s motion was collectively endorsed by the President General of Isoko, Urhobo nation and the Ijaws on behalf of their people. Immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, spoke on Okowa’s virtues just as  former Minister of Information and    the governor’s political father,  Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, spoke for the Urhobo,    while former Minister of Police Affairs,    Alaowei Broderick Bozimo ventilated on behalf of the Ijaws and Chief Iduh Amadhe spoke for the Isoko nation.

The Itsekiri nation beamed through Chief Solomon Areyenka and Chief Elue delivered the Anioma Congress address. Ndokwa Neku Union lent support through its National President, Chief Johnson Opone, while Mr Kester Ifeadi and others, who spoke at the occasion, gave reasons why Governor Okowa should re-emerge in 2019.

Why we approved Okowa – Chief Asiodu, Prof Azinge

Chairman of the occasion, ex-super Permanent Secretary, Chief Philip Asiodu, explained that the decision to receive the governor three years into office was intentional, and within the period, he has  delivered dividends of democracy  to all parts of Delta State and deserves re-election for second term in office.

He commended the governor for yielding to the persistent request to be hosted by the people of Anioma nation, saying that he has consolidated on the achievements of his predecessors in office, especially following on the excellent foundation laid by Chief James Ibori, the father of the modern Delta state

Chairman of the Planning Committee of the event, Prof.  Epiphany Azinge shed more light, “The decision to honour our son,  Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, three years into office is purely  deliberate, we recognize that he is more of the son of Delta  state, the entire Delta State remains his constituency; his commitment to actualization of his campaign promises is resolute and irreversible.”

“His track record as an expert in prudent financial management  has helped him to navigate the early challenges  of inheriting the treasury of a state with lean resources,  that he is able to stabilize the ship of a state amidst these challenges is not only a cause for admiration but also a reason for commendation.” he said

“Anioma nation has resolved  to adopt our son, His Excellency, Senator (Dr)Ifeanyi Okowa as the sole candidate of Delta North for  re-election as governor, come 2019, he has the blessing

of entire Anioma nation to proceed as our candidate for  2019 governorship election for Delta state,” he added.

Ojougboh disagrees, says Anioma never certified Okowa

On the other hand, a distinguished Anioma son and APC gubernatorial aspirant, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, disagreed when contacted by Saturday Vanguard that Anioma people sanctioned Governor Okowa for 2019.

He said: “Last Saturday, the Anioma people celebrated his exit because they were happy that he is going. They gave him a send-forth party because they saw that he is not coming back. When I watched it, I said these people know what they are doing, because they have never seen such a corrupt government, they gathered and said bye-bye to him. That was what they celebrated on Saturday, you saw it on television.”

“It is not the who- is- who in Anioma that went there as you said- those who went there did so to send him forth because they know he will not come back. I can name the prominent people, who make up Anioma political family. Those you saw are creation of the cabal holding the state to ransom, the who-is-who, I mean the masses were not there, you are talking about the bourgeoisie wearing white and celebrating the end their tenancy at Government House,” Ojougboh asserted.    He insisted: “What Deltans are concerned now about is removing Ibori from power, even the foot soldiers of Ibori agree that Okowa should go, so the battle to remove Okowa is a task that must be done. The masses have their PVCs to do that, not those people gathered there, those you saw there are praise singers.”

The post DELTA 2019:  Anioma people, Ibori recapture initiative for PDP, Gov Okowa appeared first on Vanguard News.

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