Ogboru crosses over
*Scores over 98 percent of votes in each LGA
*Faces Okowa at polls
*Okowa gets Ibori’s support, prepares for showdown
*APC set to outsmart Okowa
*Deltans anxious for a change
By Jon Egie
The dial of the political compass of Delta state was read on Sunday, September 30, 2018 when the APC and PDP, the opposition and ruling party in the state crossed the Rubicon as both parties determined their individual flag bearers for the 2019 guber election.
It was given that through political manipulation, the PDP obviously had no person to contend the governorship seat with the incumbent, Governor Okowa and as such, his sole candidacy for the election was reaffirmed in a congress (primary election) held at the Cenotaph, Asaba with Okowa polling 3, 252 votes.
At the Cenotaph, ex-governor James Ibori gave assurance of firm support for Gov Okowa’s return after casting his vote for Okowa.
Same day, the quartet of Chief Great Ogboru, Prof Pat Utomi, Rt Hon Victor Ochei and Dr Cairo Ojuigboh slogged it out during a delegate congress for the governorship primary of the APC held at the Federal College of Education (Technical) at the outskirt of Asaba.
The APC governorship primary was conducted by Maj Gen Lawrence Onoja (retd) on behalf of the National Working Committee of the party. Deltans in their numbers anxiously kept vigil as they awaited the outcome of the governorship primary but voting continued to the early hours of Independence Day, Monday October 1, 2018.
With the emergence of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru as the flag bearer of the APC, the die is cast for the 2019 governorship election in Delta state as he faces the incumbent, Governor Okowa of the PDP in what analyst described as a historic democratic contest in the annals of democracy in Delta state where the titans will feature in a tug.
On PDP side of the tug would be Chief James Ibori closely followed by Okowa and other members of the party while at the APC side would be led by Adams Oshiomhole closely followed by Great Ogboru, Prophet Jones Erue and others.
The crossover of Chief Great Ogboru and indeed, the APC led by Prophet Jones Erue is a great fete following the in- house schism that had bedeviled the party recently and now ready to march on with the force of the invading locust.
Before voting commenced, Gen Onoja cautioned the party members on the need to stay united in order to form a formidable force that could defeat the PDP in the general election.
The emergence of Great Ogboru portends dark days ahead for the PDP as the united APC gets set to outsmart Gov Okowa and his PDP with the support of the common folk of Delta citizenry who earnestly yearn for a change in the governance of the state because in their assessment, Okowa’s administration has performed far below expectation.
But Okowa and his PDP are prepared for a showdown with the APC in Delta and their external collaborators. This James Ibori clearly showed when he proclaimed and called for support for Okowa at the Cenotaph.
The preparation for showdown with the opposition political party roots from the eye-opening realities demonstrated in the recently held governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states and the earlier threat by the National Chairman of the APC, HE, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, that he will unseat Gov Okowa and install an APC governor in Delta state.
Responding to the threat, PDP political and election tacticians have been activated and are proceeding with precision, to mobilize the over 2000 Special Assistants to the governor on youth and community development with an aim to garnering sufficient support for the governor and where necessary, resist any attempt to put the threat of Oshiomhole to action.
The SAs who for the past three and half years had been earning salaries for doing close to nothing are now to justify their pay by doing what they had been engaged for in the retainer contract so far.
In nearly every political ward across the state there are at least two SAs who we learnt have now been placed on alert for action when the ‘go’ word is given.
Apart from the individual SAs who are already on their feet for the job for which they have been getting fat and prompt pay, other groups are being recruited to galvanize support for Governor Okowa and ensure his return to office for a second tenure.
Recently, the Campaign for Good Governance, in collaboration with some faceless civil societies and NGOs supported by an army of ex-militants gathered in Ughelli and called on the “troublesome” APC in Delta state to leave Okowa alone.
At a press briefing in Ughelli, the group’s National Coordinator, Prince Obaro Unuafe and Secretary, Engr Azuka Wekwuno said “no stone will be left unturned to see that Okowa is returned as governor”.
They took a swipe at the threat by Adams Oshiomhole to unseat Gov Okowa and install an APC governor describing the threat as serious and real considering the recent political development in Ekiti and Osun states.
They believed that the threat implies that the security agencies and INEC will be compromised and the Army, Police and other security agencies will be heavily deployed to Delta state to intimidate the PDP in 2019.
They added that the recognition of Prophet Jones Erue as the Chairman of the APC in Delta state by Adams Oshiomhole was the first step in putting force to the threat to remove Okowa from office.
They however warned that they would deploy their combined strength and resources to ward off any unwarranted attack on the democratic regime and prevailing political system in Delta state.
“We will be even more determined to protect our votes and guide against every external aggressors or interlopers who desire to reap where they have not sown.
“There are also reports of other persons who are determined to truncate the hard earned achievements of Governor Okowa by unleashing terror on our peaceful environment and to those group of persons, we shall meet and prove to them that they do not possess the exclusive knowledge or expertise in fomenting trouble.
“We shall resist any attempt by external force, intimidation or coercion, to drive fear into the electorate in Delta.” The group cautioned.
Meanwhile, political appointees in the Okowa administration have been given marching order to ensure that Okowa is returned to office to complete his second tenure.
At a meeting convened by Dr Isaac Akpoveta in his country home in Ofuoma-Ughelli, the appointees were directed to deliver their respective wards come rain or shine.
A couple of days ago, the Executive Assistant to Governor Okowa on Communications, Mr Latimore Fred Oghenesivbe called on Governor Okowa to prepare for war in 2019.
He said APC moles in PDP were happy at the denigration of PDP in the public domain and hence, Governor Okowa should shun gentleman politics which has not favoured Ekiti and Osun states PDP.
Latimore described APC and Oshiomhole as practicing radical politics, fearing that they would unleash mayhem in a fiercer dimension in Delta state through comprehensive political thuggery, police and military brutality as well as funded alliances with the principal intention of achieving Oshiomhole’s threat of forcefully taking over power in Delta state, come 2019.
But aside these fears, the PDP has the majority of the citizens of Delta state to contend with.
In the eyes of the average Deltan, Governor Okowa is seen as a ghoul who has caused so much pains and sufferings to the citizens due to his self-centered approach to governance.
Primordial issues such as ethnicity and power rotation have been consigned to the lower wrung of the ladder and the issues of nepotism in government patronage and unfair and sub-standard infrastructure as well as indifference to the welfare of workers in the state have taken the front burner that are to be raised to confront Okowa and the PDP at the polls.
The people yearn that the removal of Okowa from office would restore their socio-economic dignity that have been briskly eroded in three and a half years of Okowa’s administration and believe their only hope for a change lies on the APC.
This hope, Chief Great Ogboru has repeatedly assured Deltans and recently, in his consultation visits across the state, he reassured that he would not surrender the mandate freely given to him by the people of Delta state, 18 years ago, but was stolen by the Prince of Persia.
“This mandate will be released”, he said and Deltans will be happy again and now that the die is cast, there is no going back to Egypt, Deltans must be resolute to march behind him in support, as he leads them to the polls next year for a total victory and economic and political freedom from the clutches of the PDP Ogboru had sued.
In response to the call, Deltans kept an all night vigil in prayer and supplication for the emergence of Great Ogboru and when the results finally came in the late afternoon of Independence Day, Gen Onoja declared Great Ogboru as the APC guber candidate for the 2019 governorship election in Delta state having scored 3,292 votes, representing 93.6 per cent of total valid votes cast and scoring over 98 percent of total votes cast in each of the 25 local government areas of Delta state. Rt Hon Victor Ochei polled 160 votes being 4.6 percent of votes cast, Prof Pat Utomi scoring 26 votes (0.7%) and Dr Cairo Ojuigboh scored 12 votes (0.3%) of total valid votes cast.
Soon after the declaration, Deltans in their numbers burst out in wild jubilation and by the frenzy of jubilation, the PDP knew that what was done cannot be undone as they were familiar with the sound of the knock; to knell, to knell, to knell.