By Ovie Okpare
Delta’s political godfather and former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori and his predecessor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on Thursday stayed away from the inauguration of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Governorship Campaign Council of Chief Sheriff Oborevwori in Asaba, the state capital.
Also absent at the inauguration are prominent members of the PDP including Senator Ighoyota Amori, Senator James Manager, Olorogun David Edevbie (who came second at the PDP Governorship primaries won by Oborevwori), former Deputy Governor Amos Utuama, two former Secretaries to the Delta State Government Chiedu Ebie and Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay and former Delta Assembly Speaker, Monday Igbuya.
Their boycott of the ceremony is not unconnected with the crisis rocking the state chapter of the PDP following the emergence of the Speaker of the State Assembly and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s protégé, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, as flag bearer of the party for the 2023 governorship election in Delta.
However, the state governor and vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Dr. Okowa led some leaders of the party to the inauguration of the council which he is to chair.
Meanwhile, the party has failed to name the Director General of the campaign council during her inauguration.
Sources close to the leadership of the state PDP confided on NIGER DELTA TODAY that the position was being kept for the Ibori camp of the party.
Ibori, who was publicly supporting the aspiration of Olorogun Edevbie as the PDP candidate, is yet to publicly endorse Oborevwori since the Supreme Court affirmed his candidature as the governorship candidate of the party.
But speaking at the inauguration of the Council, Delta PDP chairman, Olorogun Kingsley Esiso, charged members of the council to take the campaigns to the unit, ward and local government levels.
“We want your services most at the units, wards and LGAs. This state campaign is for the grassroots.
“For state and national assembly elections, please stay in your constituencies to the lead the campaigns there, and stop coming to Asaba or going to Abuja,” Esiso said.
The party chairman said the inauguration of the council was the beginning of the campaigns to reset Nigeria and rescue the country from maladministration by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
He boasted that most members of the opposition party in the state would be retired politically after the 2023 general elections.
Meanwhile, state PDP governorship candidate and speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Oborevwori, said his election will consolidate on the achievements of Governor Okowa if elected as governor.
Oborevwori, who scored Okowa’s administration high on infrastructure and human capital development, stressed that his party would win the forthcoming elections in the state.
The Speaker also scored the State Assembly high in assisting the current administration delivering on her campaign promises to Deltans.
“Those of us who live in Asaba know what it used to be like living here pre-2015. Thanks to the Asaba Storm Water Drainage, we can now sleep with both eyes closed when it rains. The Prof. Chike Edozien Central Secretariat Complex stands tall above the noise and cynicism of naysayers, mischief makers, and armchair critics. Roads and bridges of strategic importance have been, and continue to be constructed across the length and breadth of Delta State. Testimonies abound of our youths who are now successful business owners and employers of labour following their empowerment through the administration’s multiple entrepreneurship development programmes. I can go on and on but the point is that we have what it takes to convince our people that PDP remains their best option.
“It is axiomatic that you do not change a winning formula. Hence, my M.O.R.E agenda is geared at consolidating and extending the gains of the current administration. It is designed to continue and expand the infrastructural and human capital development programmes of the Okowa administration. The vision is to keep Delta State ahead in all aspects of social and economic wellbeing.
“At this juncture, permit me to comment on my stewardship as the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly. I am very proud of the job the 6th and 7th Assemblies have done in working with the executive to implement its policies and programmes. There are some misguided people who think that the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive must be adversarial. How mistaken!
“The idea of checks and balances is not for the legislature to become a clog in the wheel of progress but to ensure that there is mutual respect and cooperation in handling governance issues. The fact that you sometimes disagree does not mean you have to be disagreeable. But through dialogue you can iron out your differences in a mature and civilized manner in order to move the ship of state forward. This is what the House has done under my stewardship, and the evidence of the positive impacts of government’s policies and programmes abound everywhere in the state.
“The other day I listened to the brash and unguarded utterances of the APC governorship candidate in Delta State. I wish to remind Deltans that all well-meaning Nigerians agree that the current Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of which Omo-Agege is the Deputy President, is the worst in the history of Nigeria. Courtesy of this toothless, docile, and rubber stamp Senate, Nigeria’s external debt portfolio currently stands at $40b as at the second quarter of this year. With hyperinflation, naira free fall, escalating food prices, widespread poverty, dilapidated state of federal roads, labour discontent, and general insecurity, let Omo-Agege tell Deltans what these monies were used for.
“Lest we forget, Omo-Agege’s tenure as Secretary to the Delta State Government was characterized by parochialism, greed, abuse of power, and undemocratic tendencies. The records are there for anybody who cares to check. Let me stop here for now but suffice it to say that Deltans do not need a despot like Omo-Agege, but a liberal, broadminded, and selfless leader like myself who stands for equity and fairness.
“Finally, Your Excellencies, party leaders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I wish to appeal to all of us to remain focused and dedicated to delivering all the PDP candidates at the federal and state levels. The strength of the PDP is in the grassroots. I, therefore, enjoin us to pound the pavements in our wards and units and make door-to-door campaign our priority. Unity must be our watchword. Where there are disagreements or grievances, we must act fast and resolve it quickly to ensure that everybody is carried along. The umbrella is big enough to accommodate everybody. Together, we can get it done”, he stated.