By Ovie Okpare
Urhobo youths under the aegis of Urhobo Youth Leaders Association (UYLA) has cautioned the newly established DC-23 group, a socio-political group in Delta Central, to exercise caution in its push for the district to produce the 2023 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The group also debunked alleged rift between Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and a former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, over choice of who succeed him in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The youths specifically stated that Governor Okowa has no running battle with Chief Ibori or plans to dismantle Ibori political family which produced him as 2015 governorship candidate of the ruling PDP in the state.
It, however, warned political actors jostling for elective position in 2023 general elections to desist from drawing the two political leaders into unnecessary and unwarranted rift ahead of the elections in the state.
President of the group, Chief Tony Ofoni, addressing journalists on Tuesday in Ovwian, Udu Local Government Area of the state, noted that all districts in the state must unite in producing the next governor of the state.
Ofoni, flanked by other leaders of the group including Olorogun Vincent Ogheneruemu Oyibode (Deputy President), Chief Austin Atiti (Vice President) and Oghotomo Samuel (Publicity Secretary), disclosed that from their findings, the relationship between Okowa and Ibori remained cordial and peaceful.
He added that for Delta Central to produce the next governor, leaders and stakeholders from the district must partner their colleagues in Delta South and Delta North.
“We are worried about a well-orchestrated plot to drive a wedge between former Governor James Ibori and the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, a man with the incredible reputation of being a promise keeper.
“Governor Okowa has no plan to dismantle Chief James Ibori structure as being alleged in some quarters. His remarks so far on 2023 do not in any-way suggest betrayal as being quoted. He has openly told the Ijaw nation he never promised them the governorship of Delta state in 2023.
“The State Chairman of the party, Chief Kingsley Esiso has in a statement during an occasion 2020 stated that it was only fair for Delta Central to have the governorship in 2023 and that statement did not earn him any query from the Governor.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is presently the leader of the party in the State. For the purpose of emphasis, our Governor has no running battle with Chief James Ibori and his structures as being claimed in some quarters by mischief makers who want to distort the unity, we enjoy in the state with Governor Okowa as the driver of the progressive and highly performing party and Government”, Ofoni said.
The group, which also endorsed the dissolution of the State Executive Council by Governor Okowa, said the step was in right direction as well as to stabilize the polity in the state.
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“We are constrained to react because, a statutory right of the Governor to take steps to reinvent his cabinet through dissolution of the former State Executive Council is generating such degree of bad blood and negative comments from a section of the populace.
“The Urhobo Youth Leaders Association has resolved not to keep mute while the well-considered actions and activities of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa are being discredited through a well-oiled campaign of calumny designed to pitch the governor against the interest of Delta Central in the politics of 2023.
“Firstly, we want to declare total support for the dissolution of the State Executive Council by His Excellency. A situation where over 10 members of the State Executive Council including the SSG, Chief of Staff, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Chief Strategist and others were nursing one ambition or the other particularly to take over from the incumbent was a huge distraction to the smooth running of the wheel of governance and only a proactive and decisive action of the governor could save the situation and put the Stronger Delta vision of the administration back on track.
“The dissolution is therefore a laudable master-stroke to keep the ship of governance in the direction of progress”, they added.
On the formation and activities of DC-23 group, Ofoni stated, “On the role of the novel DC-23 group in the 2023 push towards Delta Central producing the next governor, we want to applaud the initiative. However, we must be quick to point out that the way and manner the group has conducted her affairs since it was formed left much to be desired.
“As openly admitted by members and leaders, DC-23 is a lobby group designed to work with the government of the day towards producing the next governor. A lobby group influences the policy of government and is discreet in their covert operations without a loud outing with the tendency of taking the shine off the incumbent governor.
“The approach adopted by DC-23 in designing a constitution, calling on aspirants to declare their intentions to them and making public statements to put the governor under pressure was not the right thing to do. They ought to work underground, lobbying others to buy the idea of power-shift to Delta Central without beating war drums.
“The combative stance of DC-23 cannot achieve the Delta Central dream for 2023 and to that extend, we wish the group tread with caution so as not to jeopardize the common interest of the people.”
They, however, appealed leaders and people of Delta South and North senatorial disricts to allow Delta Central produce the next governor of the state in the interest of equity and justice in line with the rotational agreement within the party.
“We members of the Urhobo Youth Leaders Association, UYLA wish to appeal to those who are causing confusion in Delta Central to refrain from their destructive path. All Delta Central people should unite behind and work closely with Governor Okowa in the search for a successor in 2023.
“As youths, we are also lobbying interest groups from other senatorial districts without seeking publicity. We insist that lobby groups must work underground without making the noise. It is trite to note that only Delta Central cannot go alone. We need the other senatorial districts to be able to achieve this goal”, he added.
8. We humbly appeal to other senatorial districts of Delta North and South to show understanding and allow Delta Central to produce the next Governor come 2023 so that after 8years it will rotate to Delta South.
We call on our leaders and elders to be more civil in their approach so as not to jeopardize our political future. Finally, we appeal that all lobby groups should work discreetly to achieve the Delta central dream for 2023.