By Wilson Ruvwoghor
When Arthur Akpovwovwo, Eku born serial elections loser, left the substance and got fixated on calling me names in guise of right of reply to “Okowa’s ‘no governorship rotation’ denial: Too early for Ijaws to cheer”, there was a little temptation to break a personal protocol of not joining issues with carriers of frenzied reactions to public debate on an agenda set off from my viewpoint.
The pain of Akpovwovwo was that I labeled his paymaster, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, a liar for paradoxically denying a tacit agreement, from foundation, of Delta People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to have Delta state governorship rotated among senatorial districts, a bond on which he’s been among the prime beneficiaries as incumbent governor.
There was absolutely no attempt by Akpovwovwo to disprove the fact that the Governor’s lied, other than putting words in his master’s mouth that he had to barefacedly deny that governorship rotation exists in Delta because as incumbent Governor, he was father to all Deltans and that for he, Okowa to “categorically say, ‘oh yes, we sat down to configure a zoning arrangement that should now be in favour of so and so’ would be “politically unwise” and “cause ripples across the state.”
Interestingly, after reading and hearing prominent Deltans, including PDP top guns and confidant of Okowa, senior citizen Prof Sam Oyovbaire, delightful public affairs analyst and late Sen Pius Ewherido’s brother, Francis Ewherido and least expected Sen Peter Nwaoboshi express disappointment at Okowa for denying the rotation agreement, all urge to pick on Akpovwovwo evaporated. Instead, the greater temptation has been to not just repeat that Okowa lied in denying rotation, but to qualify him as a ‘clinical liar” for barefacedly denying a bond he helped entrenched.
However loud he sounds it, Okowa singing “no governorship rotation” in Delta is least of worry or threat to Delta Central’s turn to takeover reigns in the state. The greatest threat to Urhobo’s time to reclaim power in Delta is DC-23 and the propensity majority gullible Urhobo electorate, induced, more by hunger of the mind than the stomach, to pander to this lunatic fringe within Delta Central PDP.
In “Okowa’s ‘no governorship rotation’ denial”, it was exposed that DC-23 was same untrusted clan of political chameleons merely changing their spots from Urhobo Political Forum (UPF) foundation in 2007. Towards the leadership transition in that year, Governor Thief, sorry again, Chief Ibori had mobilized his prime shoeshiner, Chief Ighoyota Amori to fabricate UPF, a tool of deceit to tele-guide then Urhobo governorship aspirants to believing he, Ibori, was in support of retaining the governorship in Delta Central.
After collecting hundreds of thousands of Naira in kolanut wedges from hosting of UPF by the late Sen Pius Ewherido, Chief Charles Obule, aka Ekparigho, Ejaife Odebala, among other Urhobo aspirants at the time, Amori led all Delta Central delegates to the 2007 PDP guber primary at Ogwashi Stadium to hand the party ticket to Ibori’s real choice of successor, his elder cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (in power shift to Delta South) who was last to initiate intent to run for the office barely a week to the primary, Ibori citing rotation in defense of his clannish decision.
With the usual suspects, Amori at the helms, leading a buried UPF, exhumed as DC-23, where is the element of trust on this sneaky investment to win the confidence of the larger Urhobo. They weep sentiment of Urhobo needing to be unified to be next Governor, but their true context of unity is the rest of Urhobo pandering to their narrow minded choices.
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And every dissenting Delta Central voice, DC-23 judges, in the estimation of Akpovwovwo as “those with little or no knowledge of what politics is all about.“ This petty disposition, allowing spent politicians who have outlived their electoral value or outright failures to lead its enclosed aspirations to drive Ibori political hegemony’s desperation to continue to dictate power sharing in Urhobo is what has reduced Delta Central to beggarly spectator in the power equation of a state where Urhobos are majority.
Take for instance, Akpovwovwo, the serial election failure, DC-23 adopted as Chief Spokesman. When in 2015, riding under an obscure Labour Party, then total stranger to active politics of Delta, Evans Ivwurie, entered the race for Ethiope East Constituency seat in the Delta State House of Assembly, hardly anybody gave him a chance against rambling Akpovwovwo, who had all the backings of Delta ruling PDP as the party’s flag bearer.
Then what happened? Ivwurie took Akpovwovwo to the cleaners, recording the first time a PDP flagbearer would lose such high profile election to a grossly unknown opposition in Ethiope East. Akpovwovwo’s diary as serial election failure doesn’t end there. In 2019, Ivwurie moved into Ethiope East PDP where Akpovwovwo has played lord of the manor all these years. The encroacher took over the party structure and seized the assembly ticket, brushing aside Akpovwovwo again. Ivwurie would go to lose the election to the opposition with aggrieved internal collaborators allegedly helping to pull down the flag-bearer.
Now, be the judge; why should any informed Urhobo bother about a serial election loser tagging others as having no knowledge of politics? The added risk of giving in to DC-23 in the drive for next Urhobo Governor is their maniacal will to ensure that the choice of who becomes stays within the Thief, again forgive the usual slip, Chief Ibori’s political dynasty.
The greater risk in Urhobo yielding to this parochial conspiracy is that Delta Central could be cajoled to bet on an Ibori disciple that is on anti-graft agencies watchlist. As Zik Gbemre of Niger Delta Peace Coalition has repeated reminded Urhobos, Ibori couldn’t stolen so much of the commonwealth all by himself.
Urhobos were prominent among managers of the state’s treasury then appointed by Ibori. According to Gbemre, the fact that these likely accomplices who helped Ibori loot the commonwealth have not been called up to answer for their roles does not mean they’re left off the hook or untouchable, knowing to what extent corrupt politicians can induce evasion of justice as virtually everyone, including anti-graft agencies’ stakeholders have a price in Nigeria’s politics.
If in risky defiance of Gbemre’s warning that the DC-23 is infested with probable accomplices of Ibori’s looting of Delta treasury, Urhobo now entrust a ticket to a DC-23 governorship candidate on EFCC watchlist and loses such ticket to sudden corruption probe, Delta Central stands to lose such ticket if a PDP second best aspirant during her primary comes from another senatorial district.
Will the greed saturated DC-23 be willing to support an Urhobo candidate outside its fold if their choice of candidate loses the PDP ticket come 2023. The predictable answer is they telling you it won’t come to that as such is not likely to happen because they would ensure Delta Central gets the best candidate. Even if DC-23 produces the next Governor assuming without conceding to the likelihood, how safe is our commonwealth in the care of a Thief Ibori disciple?
Endnote; Urhobo shine your eye. DC-23, no go area in the quest to produce next Urhobo Governor of Delta. There are more than enough credible Delta Central achievers outside DC-23 to fly Urhobo flag at Government House, Asaba. We can’t do one thing, same way all the time and expect a different result.
Mr. Ruvwoghor, a communication expert, wrote from Asaba, Delta State capital.