Okowa battles ethnic bickering on choice of Deputy
The battle to pick the governorship ticket in Delta State may have ended but the contentions and intrigues of who becomes the running mate on the ticket for the contending political parties is raging from Asaba to Abuja as the gladiators plot their strategies.
The leading contenders for the office presently occupied by Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan are Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a medical doctor and senator representing Delta North Senatorial District, Olorogun O’tega Emehror who is banker and a businessman, flying the flag of All Progressive Congress (APC), while Chief Great Ogboru is the candidate of the Labour Party (LP).
As it stands today, Delta Central is presenting two candidates in the persons of Olorogun O’Tega Emehror and Chief Great Ogboru, to demonstrate its resolve to grab the governorship seat regardless of the state-wide demand for equity, fairness and justice, by the other ethnic nationalities in the state.
Olorogun O’Tega Emerhror
The first major challenge for Chief Great Ogboru and Olorogun O’ Tega Emerhror is how to convince the other ethnic nationalities that have been declared inconsequential by the Urhobo Progress Union which is favourably disposed to endorsing the candidate of APC.
Chief O’Tega Emerhror seems to be the bride of the vocal Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) which is insisting that power must return to Delta Central. The UPU had earlier had endorsed Olorogun David Edevbie of the PDP during the December 8, 2014 Governorship Primaries of the party.
Chief Great Ogboru
Chief Great Ogboru has always projected himself as a detribalized person with special relations with Anioma people. His mother hails from Ndokwa land but the baggage often dumped on him by ethnic bigots and monger in the state work to his disadvantages. He is running on the platform of the Labour Party which is not firm on ground in the state, but Chief Ogboru had turned round Democratic Peoples Party working closely with Prince Ned Nwoko in 2011. It is doubtful if he will re-enact the massive support he enjoyed in Delta North this time around with the exit of his henchmen in DPP. Another major Obstacle for Chief Ogboru is the emergence of APC which has become the preferred party of Delta Central.
Deltans are yet to know the programmes of the Labour party and the image if the party is built round Chief Ogboru. Chief Ogboru has lost considerable grounds in terms of appeal and a pan Delta support base, The Labour Party is relatively new in Delta North political terrain.
Chief Ogboru contested with Okenmou Fidelis Tilije from Obiaaruku in 2011. He may go back to Ndokwa land again to pick a running mate this time.
Okowa’s strength in the PDP primary elections shows that he has a state wide grassroots support. He draws strength from Isoko leaders namely Hon. Ross Uredi, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, Chief Mallam Obi. The same is the case in Delta Central with the likes of Chief Monday Igbuya, Chief Ighoyota Amori, Prof Sam Oyovbaire, the former Minster of Information, Mrs Evelyn Oboro, Miss Erhiata Ibori, Chief Olori Magege, among others who disregarded the directives of UPU to vote for Olorogun Davide Edevbie as the preferred candidate of the UPU.
The Balance of Power
Delta South seems to hold the balance of power in the unfolding democratic reality. The zone is favoured to produce a Deputy Governor in acknowledgement of the role delegates from the area played in Dr Okowa’s victory on December 8, 2014.
In this stead, the battle is draw between the Ijaws and the Isokos. Mr Patrick Sinebe an Ijaw has been mentioned. The Ijaws are claiming that they were more forth coming in their support for Okowa’s candidacy and would want to be rewarded with the office of the Deputy Governor.
The snag however, is that Chief James Manager, has already taken the ticket to return to the Senate. Chief Manager took over from an Isoko lady, Chief Stella Omu in 2003.
Chief Gab Awodeha said “giving the Deputy Governor position and the Senate seat to the Ijaws alone does not support the case for equity and fairness because the Isokos are the largest single ethnic nationality in Delta south and they were equally strong advocates of the Delta North Governorship bid”.
Gen. Paul Omu in a statement issued on Thursday said the Isokos have not been fairly treated in the distribution of political offices in Delta state.
The retired General stated categorically that the Isoko nation is demanding for the office of the Deputy Governor as a matter of equity and fairness”.
Resolving this issue requires a delicate balancing act as the candidates of the other major parties are also making overtures to the Isokos to pick the Deputy Governor’s spot in their parties.
Isoko South seems to have become a fertile hunting ground for APC. Dr. Okowa must win handsomely in Delta South to stand any chance of the gang up by UPU irredentists who are opposedto power shift to Delta North.
There is also a persuasive argument from Delta Central that they deserve a handsome reward in the distribution on positions in the PDP on the basis of equity and fairness.
The Zone produced Prof Amos Utuama as the Deputy to Dr Uduaghan. Delta Central is not interested in another four years on the same office.
Watchers of the unfolding horse trading going on in Asaba and Abuja believe that Delta Central should produce the next speaker in the State House of Assembly. While Ndokwa nation could expect the office of the SSG.
Barrister Ikay Molokwu said “the first challenge before Senator Okowa is he choice of his running mate, which is not going to be an easy task”.
According to him, “this is not going to be an easy task as each section of the state wants to be relevant in the new political dispensation.”
He said “Dr. Okowa faces the challenge of building a Pan Delta Agenda to consolidate on the good will that gave him victory on December 8, 2014.”
Ogbueshi Philip Ibonye said the first thing is to appreciate the contributions of all the ethnic nationalities that delivered the ticket and the thank them.
But the battle is far from over, according to Ogbueshi Ibonye, the Ijaws should recognise that every segment of the state should be carried along to avoid creating ill feelings for the Team Okowa as it settles down for the task of state wide campaign.
The Okowa campaign team has been put together with all the former aspirants being given a chance to work together to win the February 21, 2014 governorship election.
The Secretary General of Anioma Congress Sir Dan Okenyi said “the composition of the Camapign with all the former aspirant being brought on board is a good thing.
According to Okenyi “this will give Dr. Okowa the opportunity to tap into the wisdom and vision of the aspirants who were equally capable in their own right”.
He said “It is through this that he can he can integrate some of their ideas to build a better Delta State.”