Okowa and Ogboru

By Onome Oghenetega

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are reportedly overwhelmed by fear of the unexpected ahead of Delta State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal ruling following recent annulment of the election victory of Sen James Manager in Delta South Senatorial District.

The governor and PDP are said not to have been at ease as the Election Petitions Tribunal is billed to possibly rule on the petitions filed by Chief Great Ogboru and the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the victory of Okowa before the end of this week.

WARRI TODAY gathered that Okowa, Sen Manager and the PDP leadership in the state were yet to come to terms with the National Assembly Election Petitions ruling which sacked the Ijaw lawmaker who had spent over 16 years at the Senate.

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The Justice O.O Onyeabo-led tribunal panel had while ruling on the petition filed by former governor of Delta State and senatorial candidate of the APC, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, cancelled the February 23, 2019 election and subsequently ordered for a re-run in Delta South.

Another National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal also sacked a PDP House of Representatives member representing Ethiope Federal Constituency, Hon. Ben Igbakpa, and declared the candidate of the APC, Hon. Halims Agoda, winner of the election.

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Some PDP leaders in the state told our reporter that the party and the state governor were not satisfied with some of the tribunal rulings in the state, adding that the development was creating fears that the tribunal could also void the election victory of Governor Okowa.

The Justice Suleiman Belgore-led tribunal had reserved judgement after respective parties in the petition on Wednesday August 12, 2019 adopted their final written addresses, and the tribunal adjourned sine die.

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Ogboru is asking the tribunal to annul the Delta governorship for massive rigging, over voting and non-adherence to the electoral law during the election.

PDP raises suspicion

A top leader of the party in the state who spoke on condition of anonymity said “Yes, there are fears on our camps (Okowa and PDP). Our fears are borne out of some of the tribunal rulings which are not favourable to our party particularly the one nullifying the elections of Sen Manager and Hon. Ben Igbakpa.

“The way some of these rulings are skewed towards APC indicate there is something fishing. Governor Okowa won the last election convincingly but the way tribunals are ruling in favour of APC is something to be worried about. The way it stands at the moment is a 50/50 chance.”

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Also, a serving lawmaker on the PDP platform in Delta State House of Assembly confirmed the anxiety on the PDP side. The lawmaker alleged that some the tribunal rulings reflect there was so much influence from some top APC bigwigs who are interested in capturing the state from PDP.

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The lawmaker who pleaded not to be mentioned reminded our reporter of the recent statement where the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege threatened that Ogboru would be governor in ‘weeks.’

Our source said, “Senator Omo-Agege during his homecoming reception in Orogun said Chief Ogboru will be governor of Delta State in six months. How will Ogboru be governor if they are not trying to influence the judgement. I tell you, this is not a mere threat especially when it comes from Omo-Agege. He means it!

“Was anyone expecting that Sen Manager’s election will be nullified? How about Ben Igbakpa? Ethiope is the Chief Ibori’s constituency. These people are not joking with every word they spit. Irrespective of these fears, we are still hopeful that the tribunal will affirm Governor Okowa’s election.”

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Efforts to speak with the State Publicity of PDP, Dr Ifeanyi Osuoza, proved abortive as repeated calls to his telephone line on Sunday were not picked nor return until the time of filing this report.

Ogboru, APC hopeful, excited over judgements so far

However, WARRI TODAY can report that there so much hope on the camp of Chief Ogboru and candidate of the APC in the last election. Almost every leader that this reporter contacted share in this enthusiasm.

The party leaders have been very elated about some of the judgement that the party had gotten from the various tribunals in the state. They described the ouster judgement of Senator Manager as a test for the party quest to claim Delta.

Speaking on the party’s expectation at the tribunal, APC Publicity Secretary, Mr Sylvester Imonina, said Chief Ogboru will win at the tribunal, adding that the party  is already sighting Government House Asaba.

 According to APC spokesman, “We are very very hopeful in respect of the tribunal judgement that will be delivered in no distance time. The legal team of the party did a marvelous job and we are expecting nothing short of victory.

“God being on our side will come victorious. We are calling on all members of party to be patient and pray for our governorship candidate, Chief Great Ogboru. We are seeing the land of Canaan – Delta State Government House – already. We are about to possess the land of Canaan.”


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