- Vows To Stop Governor from Single-handedly picking Successor
- Nwaoboshi’s Man, Akpowowo Defends Okowa
Delta state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa’s denial of a gentleman’s agreement to rotate the governorship position in the state among the three Senatorial districts has continued to create ripples as those who claimed to be part of the meeting where such agreement was arrived at, have been speaking up against the governor’s denial.
Governor Okowa had, in response to a question posed to him on power rotation in the State during the quarterly press briefing in May, had said that he was not aware of any such meeting that was held where such agreement was reached on power shift in the State.
“A gentleman agreement is an agreement that is not written. I want to believe that that is what it is supposed to be. But whether there was any further meeting in which a gentleman agreement was reached, there has been no formal meeting in which a gentleman agreement was reached as at today.
“It means that whatever we are doing and talking about today, it is about what is fair, what is equitable, and how to define what is fair, and to define what is equitable, and justiceable.
However, fielding questions from journalists who paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba recently, one of the foremost PDP leaders in Delta North Senatorial District and Senator representing the Zone in the National Assembly, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (aka Oracle) described Okowa’s denial of existing PDP gentleman agreement on governorship rotation in the state as most disappointing.
Senator Nwaoboshi, said he was baffled to hear such statement was made by Gov. Okowa, pointing out that the rotation principle of presidency between North and South of Nigeria was not expressly stated in the Nigerian Constitution.
He lamented that Okowa, being a beneficiary of the governorship zoning to Delta North, and in such an exalted position was not expected to come out to publicly condemn the existence of the structure which lifted him to power no matter the pressure.
Nwaoboshi chided the governor, saying that, assuming without conceding, that the governor feels the rotation principle is by ethnic nationality, then there would be a whole gamut of confusion because, after Ika has taken his turn as he is doing already, then Oshimili will argue it is their turn, then Aniocha and Ndokwa – all in Delta North. In the same way, when the governorship was in Delta Central, it would have been rotated among the Ethiope people, the Ughelli, the Orogun, the Okpe, the Uvwie, Ughievwe and Udu speaking people.
The Senator stated that by conceding this, Gov. Okowa was not only creating confusion and instability in the hitherto peaceful state, but expressly destroying the PDP in the State.
He said: “It baffles me that Okowa can make such a statement against zoning. If you say it is on ethnicity, okay we agree. Ika man has gone, it is now the turn of Oshimilli and Ndokwa after that it goes to Urhobo and the Okpes, Ethiope and Ughelli will say it is their turn and before you know we will end up with town by town zoning.
“In Nigeria we are talking about north and south. We don’t say after Yoruba it will come to Midwest. Is there any written agreement in our constitution where it is said north and south? I don’t want trouble in this state. Many of us have put our lives on the line to fight for this power shift.
Nwaoboshi recalled that he staked his life fighting to ensure that the agreement to continuously rotate the governorship among the three Senatorial districts in the State worked, adding that he lost his position as a Commissioner in the State as a consequence of his struggle for power shift from which Gov. Okowa is now benefiting.
“I lost my commissionership because I was fighting for power shift which he is a beneficiary, then at the tail end of your tenure you are saying there is no written agreement.
“My brothers from central rose against me including the present Deputy Senate President. I stood my ground. I formed ‘Equity 2006’ to challenge the power that was in power in Delta State.
“And himself who is now the governor, participated in the struggle. He was sending people to the meeting even though he was romancing with the government that time.
“But, he was sending his people to participate in my struggle to shift power. In fact the first meeting we held in Chief (Mrs) Giwa-Amu’s house on this issue, Okowa was there himself. So what we were saying there is that power must rotate amongst the three senatorial districts that it cannot remain in the central”, he recalled.
Senator Nwaoboshi disclosed that Gov. Okowa utterances and actions were for him to single-handedly determined who succeeds him as the next governor of the State, adding that the decision on who becomes the flagbearer of the PDP in the next election was a collective one.
According to him, no one person can sit down and pick the next governor of the state, assuring that resources are available to stop the governor if he insists he will do it alone.
He said, “No man can sit in his office and determine who the next governor in this state becomes.
“We have the resources to fight and stop him from picking his successor alone,” Nwaoboshi added.
Meanwhile, the immediate past Commissioner for Urban Renewal, Chief Barr. Arthur Akpowowo, has defended Gov. Okowa who reportedly denied existence of any agreement by the PDP which has been facilitating rotation of governorship position among the three Senatorial districts since the advent of the present democracy in 1999.
Akpowowo who had his political tutelage under Senator Nwaoboshi, reacted in a rejoinder to a write-up which accused Gov. Okowa of denying the existence a PDP gentleman agreement for power rotation among the three Senatorial districts, describing the governor as a statesman who is not expected to confirm that the party stakeholders sat down and agreed on a zoning arrangement. According to him, such statement would amount to lack of political wisdom, adding that it would have caused ripples across the state.
“Yes, Governor Okowa is not just a statesman, but the shepherd or father of all as far as Delta State is concerned. One therefore does not expect him to categorically say “oh yes, we sat down to configure a zoning arrangement that should now be in favour of so and so”. Such a statement is politically unwise as it would have caused ripples across the state”, he said.
Also, Urhobo youths under the aegis of Urhobo Youth Leaders Association, UYLA, has debunked allegation that Okowa was planning to dismantle the Ibori political family, calling on the Amori-led DC-23 group to exercise caution in its drive to produce the PDP governorship candidate for 2023.
While addressing newsmen in Ovwian, Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, last week, the President of the group, Chief Tony Ofoni, called on the three senatorial districts in the state to unite towards producing the next governor just as they advised that political actors should not create rancour between Gov. Okowa and Chief Ibori.
According to the group, there is no evidence to show that Gov. Okowa is planning to bring down the Ibori political family to enable him produce the next governor of the state.
“We are worried about a well-orchestrated plot to drive a wedge between former Governor James Ibori and the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, a man with the incredible reputation of being a promise keeper.
“Governor Okowa has no plan to dismantle Chief James Ibori structure as being alleged in some quarters. His remarks so far on 2023 do not in any-way suggest betrayal as being quoted. He has openly told the Ijaw nation he never promised them the governorship of Delta state in 2023.
“The State Chairman of the party, Chief Kingsley Esiso has in a statement during an occasion 2020 stated that it was only fair for Delta Central to have the governorship in 2023 and that statement did not earn him any query from the Governor.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is presently the leader of the party in the State. For the purpose of emphasis, our Governor has no running battle with Chief James Ibori and his structures as being claimed in some quarters by mischief makers who want to distort the unity, we enjoy in the state with Governor Okowa as the driver of the progressive and highly performing party and Government”, Ofoni said.
It would be recalled that a former Senator of Delta North, Senator Patrick Osakwe had also confirmed that there was a subsisting gentleman agreement between PDP stakeholders which facilitated the rotation of governorship from 1999 till date, adding that Gov. Okowa was being economical with the true situation which he is a beneficiary of.
Senator Osakwe’s position which was published in a Vanguard interview of Saturday September 19, 2019, clearly indicated that rotation of governorship among the three senatorial districts in the state which started in 1999 was like a political tree planted by the former governor of the State, Chief James Ibori for which Deltans would forever remain grateful to him.
He said: “It is foolish for anybody to think that rotation of governorship will die in Delta after 2023. We will put every arsenal at our disposal to make sure that the rotation continues and that we succeed. Anybody jumping out of the ship will not be allowed, I know we are going to sit down and talk but as far as I am concerned, the rotation is going to work.
“Anybody having aspiration outside the rotational formula will exercise his fundamental rights of wanting what he wants, but I am very sure that majority of Deltans would want the rotation to continue. In addition, we will do our best to make it work.
“Our leader, Chief James Ibori cannot be forgotten for the tree he planted in Delta state, the tree of rotation has been sustained with the second tenure of Governor Okowa. The second tenure shows that all the three senatorial districts had done eight years each and no Deltan, both living and dead, will say that this arrangement is not well intended which is to the admiration of all of us.
“In fact, Ibori has done something for which posterity will remember him. He is a fantastic leader, we do not have another leader like him and it is difficult to have another Ibori in Delta. Whatever you are doing in Delta, whether you invite him or you do not invite him, he would come to rejoice with you.”