By John Oghojafor
After reviewing his methodology, quantum and spread of political appointments across the state, a chieftain of APC in Ethiope West Local Government Area, Chief Hope Abijor has stated that the incumbent governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa is, an Ika governor and not a governor for the entire state.
Abijor who stated this recently during an exclusive interview with The New Diplomat in Oghara, headquarters of Ethiope West Local Government Area, accused the governor of lopsidedness in his appointment, especially those heading sensitive positions, pointing out that of the entire statutory boards in the state to which the governor appointed various chairmen to head in the past two years of his administration, about 70 percent of the board chairmen are from Delta North Senatorial District of the state, and that out of that 70 per cent, 80 percent of them are from the Ika-speaking tribe of the governor. He also observed that a greater chunk of his political aides are comprised of the Ika-speaking people, noting that because of that some members of the PDP were becoming disenchanted with the governor.
Said he: “You will agree with me that initially when Okowa came on board everybody seemed to love him. But today, the reverse is the case. Even people that are in PDP no longer like him. If you ask me, Okowa is not governor of Delta State, but Ika governor. You know why I say he is an Ika governor? I believe you know the number of statutory boards we have in the state. Do you know that 70 percent of these boards are being chaired by people from Delta North? And that 70 percent that are being chaired by Delta North 80 percent of them are from Ika. Is such man a Delta State governor or Ika governor?
“Then, take the SA’s, SSA’s, Special Advisers and all that, if they are 500 altogether, I can beat my chest to tell you that more than 300 of them are from Agbor.”
According to Abijor, Okowa decided to extend some few appointments to the Urhobos of Delta Central Senatorial District because he was beginning to entertain fear about the stand of the Urhobos especially as 2019 approaches.
“It is just recently that they started giving some appointments to the Urhobos because Okowa is beginning to understand that there will be serious problem from Urhobo in the next election. So, on that note he is trying to appease some people so that he can have some votes from Urhobo”, Abijor said.
The chairman of the Leaders and Elders Forum of APC in Ethiope West Local Government Area also averred that the recent PDP mega rally held at Sapele was not really a demonstration of how strong the party is in Delta Central, rather it was indeed “a revival of a dying party”, adding that they only summoned that meeting to test if they still have the capability to win election in Delta Central.
Said he: “And even that event that took place in Sapele which you are talking about, it wasn’t a rally, it was a revival. Because PDP is a dying party, they want to revive it and how do they go about it, let us call for a meeting. That was what happened. They just want to test their capability if they will still be able to in election.”
Abijor wondered if Okowa can still win election in Sapele considering the role he allegedly played in the recent impeachment of the former governor of the state, Hon. Monday Igbuya.
“And you can imagine what is happening between the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Igbuya and the governor now. I read something on facebook yesterday. Do you think if there is election now the governor can win in Sapele?”, Abijor said.
The APC chieftain also maintained that members of his party were more in number in Ethiope West Local Government Area in spite of the presence of PDP heavy weights in the area, adding that in Oghara, home of the former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, it is constituted by the former governor himself and APC party members only. He noted that PDP was absent in Oghara because if Ibori crosses over to APC today, there will not be one single member of the PDP again in Ethiope West.
He said: “As I speak with you, even people that are in PDP, I can bet you that if election comes up tomorrow, they will cast their votes for the APC. Very many of them are angry with the PDP but they would not come out to say their minds because of, maybe, the fear of the unknown. Like as I have just told you, we only have APC and Ibori in Oghara. There is no PDP in Oghara.
“But I can assure you if election comes up tomorrow, they will work for APC. If you observe the number of people that hold meetings with PDP and those that hold meeting with the APC, you will know that we in APC are more than them.”