By Ovie Okpare
A former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori and the senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, were on Saturday absent during the congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where the State outgoing chairman, Olorogun Kingsley Esiso, was returned unopposed.
Their absent further fueled ongoing rumour that there is a major crack state chapter of the party in what sources claimed is prelude to the scheming for the 2023 governorship election among leaders of the party.
The congress attended by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Asaba, the state capital, was to elect new officials to run the party affairs in the state for the next four years following the expiration of the State Working Committee in May.
Nwaoboshi, elected on the platform of the PDP, is being rumoured to have concluded plans to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) where he is being alleged to battle Okowa for the soul of the Delta North Senate seat in 2023.
There has been cold war between Okowa and Nwaoboshi, a former chairman of the party in the state over alleged differences emerging from the 2019 general elections where the lawmaker was almost edged out of the seat by billionaire lawyer, Prince Ned Nwoko.
The tenure of the Kingsley Esiso-led state executive council of the PDP had expired in May, this year but due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, the exercise could not be conducted.
Although no reason has been adduced for their absence, sources claimed that they had lobbied for a different chairmanship candidate to replace Esiso who was gunning for second term.
The party sources said the leaders were not impressed with Esiso’s performance in his first term, adding that his chances for re-election were further dimmed when PDP stakeholders in his Sapele Local Government Area allegedly rejected him.
However, Esiso emerged after consensus arrangement purportedly championed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Moreover, majority of the 39-members executive council were also returned unopposed due to the consensus arrangement.
Addressing party faithful and the newly elected party officials, Governor Okowa urged them not to be distracted by the antics of opposition parties, noting that the consensus arrangement showed that the PDP was very united in the state.
In his acceptance speech, Esiso however thanked Ibori and other party leaders particularly in Delta central, for the role they played to ensure he re-emerged as state chairman.
Esiso appealed to aspirants for the 2023 elections to exercise restraints and avoid distracting the present administration.
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He told opposition political parties to forget about winning the state in 2023, describing the PDP as a moving train that will crush any party that stood on its way for the 2023 polls.
The congress which was witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was conducted by a committee from Abuja led by Lawrence Ezewan.
During the congress, Mr. Val Arenyinka was re-elected as Deputy Chairman while others were Mr Moses Iduh, Vice Chairman, Delta North Senatorial District; Dr Patrick Fovie, Vice Chairman, Delta Central Senatorial District; Chief Julius Takeme, Vice Chairman, Delta South Senatorial District.
Chief Godday Obi-Nzete is Secretary; Hon. Deinghan Macaulay, Treasurer; Hon. Collins Bello, Financial Secretary; Dr. Michael Osuoza, Publicity Secretary; Chief Sunday Onoriode, Organizing Secretary; Mr Bernard Odior, Legal Adviser; Lady Kawulia Omoko; Woman Leader; Mr Bino Obowomano, Youth Leader and Chief Owen Erirhomuru, Auditor.