By Jon Egie

 

 

Great Ogboru flanked by wife and running mate, Peter Erebi at the Warri city stadium

Great Ogboru flanked by wife and running mate, Peter Erebi at the Warri city stadium

The PDP is set to harvest the fruit of her labour for the past 16 years in the farm land of Delta State, Feb. 28, 2015. But it is hard to tell if the harvest would be of joy or of sorrow as the land owners have decided to demand the replenishment of the land which they accuse the PDP of exploiting and left to fallow.

 

The PDP has also defied the threat of the land owners to resist them from harvesting their crops as the party has renewed its force to crush any opposition that would come between it and the land for harvest.

 

In the stalemate, a tug of war is building up with both sides amassing the best of their men to participate in the pull.

 

 

Ifeanyi Okowa and PDP Chieftains at the rally in Ughelli

Ifeanyi Okowa and PDP Chieftains at the rally in Ughelli

At one side of the rope is ex-governor James Ibori represented by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the governorship candidate of the PDP ably supported by Barr. Kingsley Otuaro. Those adding weight to the duo include Chief Ighoyota Amori, Dr. Pius Sinebi, Comrade Macaulay Ovuzorie, Chief Solomon Ogba, Dr. Joseph Otuamare, Dr. Steve Oru, Chief Mike Diden, PDP local councils chairmen, all PDP delegates for the February elections and the invisible hand of Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo. Coach Paul Obire who jumped ship from the other side of the rope has also added weight to the side of the PDP.

 

At the other side of the rope is the masses of the land owners represented by Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru ably supported by Chief Peter Erebi with Obaisi Ovie Omo Agege, Chief Jomo Akpore, all candidates of the Labour Party for the February elections and a multitude of the masses of the land owners comprising of market women, Okada riders, students, the unemployed and all the common folk trailing behind to add weight.

 

The tug of war between the PDP and the Labour Party commenced as soon as the PDP governorship primary election produced Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as its flag bearer in a free and fair contest.

 

 

Crowd of Ogboru supporters at the Ughelli township stadium

Crowd of Ogboru supporters at the Ughelli township stadium

Although he was generally accepted by the members of the party yet the opposition see him as an appendage of the Ibori political dynasty that has ruled Delta for the past 16years with attendant hunger and despair and are poised to reject him at the polls.

 

They believe that should Okowa emerge as governor of Delta State in the 2015 election, their hope of a better living would continue to be forlorn.

 

They complain about the crop of candidates of the PDP that are sported to be elected into offices to be such that had been in the circle of power for the past 16years with little or nothing to impact on the welfare of the people. In fact, the opposition grossly made up of the masses of Deltans are very bitter with the PDP and have decided to show them pepper on the elections day.

 

For them, the PDP is a public enemy. For the past eight years they have nursed this feeling and have been making futile efforts to salvage the situation. This time around, they believe, it is the last fight. So, the masses continue to pile in number to add weight to their front runner at the head of the rope for the tug.

 

But the position of the PDP is clear that they are the ruling party and means well for all Deltans.

 

In his campaign message, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa preaches the message of unity and prosperity to all Deltans. He sees himself as the expression of the unity of the various ethnic groups in Delta State. He promises massive infrastructure and economic development across the state once he becomes the governor but the people do not believe especially as he is still tied to the apron string of Chief James Ibori who they allege of bringing the state to its knees to reduce the values, self respect and dignity of the citizens of the state. These loss, they believe they can regain through Great Ogboru who they acclaim is the masses messiah of hope.

 

 

Ogboru addressing his supporters

Ogboru addressing his supporters

The PDP in its bid to convince the people of Delta that it means well for Deltans this time around has begun aggressive campaign rallies to sensitize and mobilize Deltans to vote for the party. Huge crowd of the party members converged at Oghara where the PDP campaigns were flagged off. They proceeded to Ughelli, the hot bed of Delta politics where they registered a significant impact by the long queue of exotic cars that trailed Senator Okowa with the henchmen of the PDP to support.

 

The Ughelli rally was described as one of the best after the Oghara flag off considering the number of persons who attended the event. Seen as the battle ground for the election, Senator Okowa and indeed the PDP were enthused that such a huge crowd could attend the PDP campaign at the Ughelli township stadium reflecting on the threat of the popular Uvwiamuge Declaration.

 

At the Ughelli rally, Prof Sam Oyovwaire commended the Ughelli people for their support. He urged them not to flirt around but remain steadfast with the PDP to secure victory at the polls.

 

 

OmoAgege addressing the people in Warri

OmoAgege addressing the people in Warri

Olorogun Oscar Ibru, a one time governorship aspirant for the state and son of Ughelli pledged support for Okowa saying “if you work, you chop”. He promised to follow Okowa up to let development come to the people. “I guarantee you, Okowa is for the people” he said adding that what he intended to do for Deltans if he were the governor, Okowa would do the same.

 

Then entered Coach Paul Obire who claimed to be a two time Director General of the opposition group headed by Great Ogboru. He said on behalf of his group, the National Renaissance he was decamping with 1200 members of his group to the PDP. According to him, for the past 16 years that he had been in the camp of the opposition, it was an experience of stay in the wilderness where they attempted to fight the PDP from all corners.

 

“But we have realised that PDP is a force to reckon with and having listened to what Okowa has for Deltans, we decided to come over to the PDP with the mission statement to join forces with the PDP to take PDP to another level”.

 

The rally also witnessed the admission of politicians from the APC to the PDP who promised to lower all the APC flags in the LGA.

 

 

Oscar Ibru canvassing support for Okowa in Ughelli

Oscar Ibru canvassing support for Okowa in Ughelli

Mounting the podium, Okowa said, “What I see today indicates that we should thank God because we have won the election”. He raised songs of praise to God and introduced his deputy, Barr Kingsley Otuaro as well as Olorogun David Edevbie, his major contender during the primaries election.

 

“I am very proud of Ughelli people because this is one local government area where I had the strongest opposition especially with the Uvwiamuge Declaration. But so far now, I can conclude that there is no opposition again and I thank you for what you are doing for the PDP.

 

“I respect Ughelli North LG, I respect the Ovie of Ughelli and because of that we shall pay very special attention to Ughelli. We shall particularly turn Agbarho around, when we shall do appointment Ughelli North shall smile.

 

 

James Manager pleading support for the PDP in Ozoro

James Manager pleading support for the PDP in Ozoro

“Every youth shall be given employment and the women and men shall be empowered through agricultural investments. We seek for the unity of Delta State, we do not want division among the ethnic group in Delta, there will be justice, equity and fairness to all. Vote President Jonathan, vote for me, vote for Amori vote for all PDP candidates”, he sued.

 

Earlier in Ozoro, at a PDP rally Senator James Manager begged the Isoko people to give the PDP a second chance regretting that as representatives of the people, the PDP failed to perform but promised to do better if given the second chance, “and we will not let you down again”.

 

At Uvwie and Warri Senator Okowa promised to better the lives of the people by the provision of infrastructure development and overall development of the areas that analyst say are not clear cut deviation from the Uduaghan’s effort. Critics expressed pessimism especially as the outgoing governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan called for support for Okowa and President Jonathan. They believe that since Uduaghan’s administration is rated low. Okowa would not perform better since they are from the same stable.

 

To corroborate the fears of the critics, Chief Ighoyota Amori had affirmed the tight knot enclosing Okowa and the Ibori political dynasty which endears Okowa to benefiting from the political gambit.

 

 

Amori pledging support for Okowa

Amori pledging support for Okowa

“We won the 1999 election in Ika East and Ika North when Senator Okowa was in charge of that area. He supported us, he helped us and we won overwhelming in Delta North. To whom much is given, much is expected. Okowa has been a very loyal, committed, dedicated, trusted and a valuable ally of Chief James Ibori. He has supported us so strongly that this time I will do everything humanly possible to enable Okowa become the governor of Delta State” Amori said at a PDP function held at the Wellington Hotel, Effurun.

 

In contrast, the opposition shut down Warri when the Labour Party flagged off its campaign at the Warri city stadium. At the rally the LP leaders assured that Delta will be great again if Ogboru is elected governor. Significantly, a stronghold and chieftain of the PDP, Obaisi Ovie Omo Agege injected fresh hope and assurance of victory to the opposition.

 

Speaking, Obaisi Ovie Omo Agege who is contesting the Delta Central senate seat on the platform of the LP said, “I am here today to announce to you that the journey to the liberty of Delta State has commenced. As some of you are aware, sometimes ago I put myself forward for the office of the governor of Delta State. I did not succeed. I did so because I believe that Delta needs a change and I am here to announce that the only man who can bring the desired change is Great Ogboru.

 

 

Coach Paul Obire decamping to the PDP in Ughelli

Coach Paul Obire decamping to the PDP in Ughelli

“For so many years Ogboru has been running for the governorship seat and every time he wins. Now no trick can stop him because we were the tricksters. I am here to tell you not to fear, work hard, I, Ovie Omo Agege will ensure that your votes count”.

 

The tension of the tout of the tug increased with the confession and declaration of support by Omo Agege a former leader and front line fighter of the PDP. His defection to the side of the opposition analysts, say is a big advantage to the masses’ side of the rope of the tug of war.

 

At that rally Ogboru really needed not to speak so much. His body language and charisma was all the people needed to cherish but when he said “your pains, your aspirations, your wants and needs are mine” the people yelled an approval for his support at the polls.

 

When the ship of hope berthed in Ughelli a day after the PDP’s train left, the Warri episode was dwarfed as Ogboru stirred the Urhobo town.

 

Considered as his second home the Ughelli people, came all out to welcome Ogboru. The market women particularly stopped his convoy and demanded that their messiah came out so they could feel and touch him and when he obeyed, they were excited.

 

Okada men, the common folk and all that had lost hope in the system trailed his convoy to the Ughelli township stadium. At about 4.20pm when he entered the stadium there was no space for him to get out of his car and he was holed in for close to 30 minutes before security managed to smuggle him to the podium to address the people.

 

In his speech, Ogboru assured the people of victory at the polls through religious and motivational songs. The people responded and danced in harmony.

 

He told the people not to worry about the distraction of the APC governorship candidate stressing that at the end of the day he (Otega) would appreciate the pains of the loneliness of a long distance runner.

 

He quoted the media as reporting that his visit to Warri “shook” and ‘shut down’ the town, “but in Ughelli as I came in, the sand, the stones all stood up.

 

He continued, “You know what I can do, I will do for you and by the time we finish with Delta State, mumu no go fit rule Delta again. All these Jankara people will not be there again. We have great news for you, the coming government will develop this state and the pride of the people will be restored. You will no longer be looked on as a threshing floor. There will be employment, you are going to work and get paid. Your roads will be safe again, there will be zero tolerance to crime, and there is crime because the people are hungry and because even the fading government itself is criminal. There are kidnappers because the outgoing government kidnapped the mandate of the people…”Ogboruo went on and on and the people cheered.

 

But the reality of the success of the opposition was called to question. A source told SPY News that of the multitude of the common folk vouching support for Ogboru, very few have the Permanent Voters’ Cards and hence would be mere spectators during the election. To counter this view, a source said those who would effect the desired change and secure victory for the opposition are actually disenchanted members of the PDP who were already establishing clandestine contacts with Ogboru for support. They will do the magic”, the source said.

 

But a chieftain of the PDP, Chief Pius Ovbije (POC), queried the structures and strongholds that the opposition has to secure victory at the polls. He said the former henchmen of Ogboru have all decamped to the PDP. He also punctured the claim by the opposition that the sins of Ibori, Uduaghan and indeed the PDP for the past 16 years will backfire during the election to put the PDP in trouble saying that Ibori did well for Delta State as governor and had the constitution allowed for Ibori to contest the governorship again, “He would win clean”.

 

So far, Feb. 28 will tell if the alleged sins of PDP will backfire and throws the PDP into trouble.