Ijaw community threatens protest vote against Okowa in 2019 over alleged imposition of candidate

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From: Ben Dunno, Warri

The people of Tuomo community, in Burutu council area of Delta State, have threatened to pull out of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and vote en mass against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, in the 2019 governorship election.

The people’s anger against Governor Okowa emanated from the alleged substitution of their preferred choice for the councillorship position of Ward 5, Burutu council, Adesefuobo Emokpo in the upcoming council election in the state.

It would be recalled that the people of the community had, last week, raised the alarm over plots by a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Godsday Orubebe, to foist one Benemone Ebodezi on the party as candidate for Ward 5.

Describing the mood in the community to newsmen, in Warri, on Monday, immediate past vice chairman of Burutu council area, who is also a leader in Tuomo, Hon. Samuel Peremoke, said the people had been unhappy since the news of the substitution filtered out.

According to Peremoke, “I received a call last night informing me that they have substituted the name of the boy who won the primary, there’s a big crisis brewing in our town right now”.

“The people of Tuomo, the biggest community in Burutu council area, are currently very bitter with the governor for plotting against their wish and they are threatening to work against him and the PDP in 2019. Come 2019, our people are going to vote Against Okowa in protest”, he said.

Also speaking on the development, another leader of the community, Hon. Jonathan Gbelele, said they had expected that the governor would not allow himself to be turned against the people of Tuomo, noting that the man who influenced the governor into taking the decision is not from the community.

In the words of Gbelele, “It is the turn of Tuomo to produce the councillor and the people should naturally have been allowed to choose their preferred aspirant as PDP candidate, but Orubebe will not allow that and it is sad that the governor is joining him to allow what is not right.

“I can remember that when a similar situation arose in one other ward in the council, the governor told the person trying to impose to stay out of the affairs and allow the people choose who they want, ‘you are not from the community’. I am now surprised that the governor is behaving differently in this case”, he said.

When contacted, a prominent leader of the area, Chief Mike Loyibo, appealed to the people for caution and be calm, promising to see the governor and work out a solution

According to him, “I have appealed to the people to be calm and apply caution, we are planning on speaking to the governor on the matter to see to it that a solution is arranged. Meanwhile, I will still want to call on our people to follow this situation peacefully, remembering that we are all brothers and whatever happens eventually should only be in the overall interest of Tuomo”.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach Pastor Orubebe for response through a phone call and text message were unproductive as he neither returned the call nor replied the message.

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