Delta primaries: PDP governorship aspirants set for battle

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The fight and jostle for the ticket of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, have become clearer yet intense. This is so as the party has already foreclosed any internal contest for the Presidency. President Goodluck Jonathan is unanimously the party's flag bearer. Condemnations from the opposition apparently notwithstanding. It is clear. When he finally declares to run, he will only face the opposition party's candidate, of course with the party's full support. To this end, some PDP Governors like Jonah Jang are already making promises of 'delivering' to him. He promised to give the President two million votes from Plateau. It is hoped he knows how to actualize that.

However, this is not the case with Governorship election and others. Aspirants have to go through the primaries, slug it out through the fire and go to the battle line to war with opposition parties. In line with this, many persons have joined the struggle for the baton come 2015. Who will succeed the incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan? On whose shoulder should the mantle rest? These questions go to the party stakeholders who are the only persons who can select the candidate through the primaries. According to political constitution, they are the pacesetters for the populace. The onus of making the right choice lies with them.

Knowing these, aspirants from the three senatorial districts are now cutting their teeth for that hand that will be raised. Much as this responsibility lies with the party's delegates, one could not help but critically look at the most prominent of these hopefuls with the aim of helping to separate the chaff from the seed.

They say ladies first:

Ngozi Olejeme (Dr) is the Chairperson of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF and also the convener of the Subsidy Reinvestment Program (SURE-P) subcommittee on public works and road rehabilitation. Described as an acute Administrator, Entrepreneur, Finance and Insurance Expert, Philanthropist and astute Politician, she is aiming for the Governorship of Delta State. A member of the just concluded national conference, Dr Olejeme came into the politics of Delta when she contested for Governorship in 2007. With the powerful qualifiers, what many find almost untrue is her description as an astute politician as she has not really been an active politician especially in the state she seeks to govern before that 2007. There is also no history of learning the rope which is a requirement which cannot be wished away. Analysts also believe that even with her rumoured anointment by the First Lady through the gender affirmative theory, this NSITF boss is ill-fitted to govern Delta State with its peculiar complexities, multiethnic and diverse culture at this sensitive time when peace and unity of the country is being threatened and the Niger Delta region, Delta especially is fragile. The state needs the firm heart of a man who will not get beclouded by the emotions women are known for in critical decisions taking.

 

Godswill Obielum (chief) a security tzar is another aspirant on the 2015 race. He contested the PDP's primaries in 2006 as a governorship aspirant but lost to the incumbent Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan. This Ndokwa son is eminently qualified as a Deltan to be Governor but the worry to his large supporters is the belief that he is not likely to help the course of the Umbrella when it comes to the national elections. This is not because he will not want to, but because he cannot sway the votes of the majority in favour of the President and PDP. However, he is not daunted by this notion as he is still consulting and campaigning on his ambition.

Ifeanyi Okowa: Being a former Councillor, Council Chairman, Commissioner for Health, Secretary to the State Government and now a Senator, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa quickly appears very suitable for the job as number one Deltan. That he is well bred and well educated are not disputable. He also has the requisite political knowledge of the State having held the ropes. But for a keen watcher with retentive memory, all is not well for the Senator. The party's primaries at Ogwashi-uku in 2006 and remain evergreen. He was disqualified and his inability to challenge that in the court was not only seen as complacence but complicity. He had so many supporters and as far as these people are concerned, he threw away his chances of becoming Governor and is now seen as one you cannot go to the battle field with.

Apart from being seen as a clannish which is a major complaint from people in his Ika nationality, he is obviously out of favour with the powers that be in the State Government and the party. The PDP primaries in January 2011 and his hurried resignation as SSG in 2010 are pointers to this.

Victor Ochei: is the immediate past Speaker of the State House of Assembly. He has also thrown his hat into the ring for the State's most exalted position. It is pertinent to point out that he is on his third tenure as a legislator. Apart from resigning from office to save his imminent impeachment by majority of his colleagues, he is still seen as owing the State greatly through the IPP project which his company DAVNOTCH is yet to deliver. Every Nigerian knows how important power is to the country, Delta State included. Can someone who could not deliver on a project in that particular sector despite the billions of naira pumped in, the granted upward review and the extended time frame now come to lead Deltans? On what precedents? These are some of the questions they ask. Elder Statesman, Chief Edwin Clark had at different occasions said this Aniocha North son cannot govern Delta State as he is owing the state greatly. This is after the allegations of highhandedness have been sufficiently dealt with and answers are given on what he has done so far with eleven years constituency projects allocations.

Tony Obuh: Raising so much controversy and bad blood amongst stakeholders even in his senatorial district, is the entrance of Sir Tony Obuh who was until his voluntary retirement recently, the Permanent Secretary (PS), Protocol, Government House. In his 32 years of civil service, he served as the PS of Ministry of Health under Dr Uduaghan as the Commissioner then. When he was the SSG, he moved Sir Obuh with him as a Permanent Secretary too. In his seven years of being Governor of Delta State, Obuh who was also moved by him, has served as PS of Protocol in Government House. A surface scratch will conclude competence on the part of Obuh and love from Dr Uduaghan. A dig will question that and reveal more. Were there no other competent hands? Is one the other's smokescreen? These questions by political critiques hypothetically say that Obuh has been tutored by the Governor, making him feel so indebted that he will be so willingly to do whatever he requires of him.

It is also believed that not only will he be a lackey, his eventual reign as Governor will be Dr Uduaghan's third tenure which is very unconstitutional. The voice will be that of Esau while the hand will be that of Jacob. This is if the inevitable crisis this will cause in the party is surmounted. Already, party faithfuls who have been there for the party through thick and thin are disgruntled, spoiling for full blown war if he really gets imposed on them.

Ndudi Elumelu: A member of the Federal House of Represntatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu is another enthusiast of the number one seat in the State. He has set out his drums rolling for 2015. He is loved by his people who believe the family's name has made the Community proud. This younger brother of Mr Tony Elumelu of the UBA group still need to clear the air with people who think he has legal issues when he was the Chairman of the House Committee on Power even though he has been acquitted by a competent court of law.

These are some of the aspirants from Delta North.

The other two Senatorial districts, the South where the incumbent hails from and the Central also have aspirants in PDP too. Among these are Chief Kenneth Gbagi, Elder Godsday Orubebe and Obaisi (Barr) Ovie Omo-Agege. These fine gentlemen are also eminently qualified for the plum job but what Delta State is looking for is the first among equals; someone who knows the yearnings and needs of Deltans; and one who knows the dynamics of the State's politics when its multiethnic nature is recognized. For the good of the PDP too, a candidate who will prevent the impending implosion if a rookie is imposed on members is needed. Someone who appreciates the need to not dampen the spirit of the members and at the same time make the competition fluid. With the merger of opposition parties and the Democratic People's Party, DPP still hovering over the state's number one seat like a hawk over a chick, PDP cannot afford to gamble.

 

Obaisi Omo-Agege is not only experienced in governance as he has held leadership positions in the past. He is said to have held them with trust. His positions as Commissioner, Executive Assistant to the Governor and SSG, are judged fair. When the indices for party loyalty are considered too, Omo-Agege has shown he believes party is supreme when it comes to politics. He gave in to the party's decision on his ambition during the Delta Central Senatorial bye-election in 2013. Some may want to argue that he contested his other elections on other platforms other than the PDP. Majority of the political class say that even though he did contest against a PDP candidate, at no time did he, like other candidates, challenge the victory of his opponent at any court or grant press interviews speaking ill of the winner.

He is known to have always demonstrated the spirit of sportsmanship by congratulating the winner. This is seen as a manifestation of his inner person which believes politics is not a do-or-die affair. His ethnic group as the largest in Delta is an added advantage. PDP's major opposition has a strong base in Delta Central and the opposition aspirants are mainly from there. One of the people asked, "How more perfectly can the Umbrella deflate the wheels of her opposition other than choosing from within? Big battles are better fought when the camp of the enemy is infiltrated". "The PDP will be doing herself a lot of good if the ticket is handed over to this soft spoken Barrister to infiltrate the opposition camp and also prevent loss through protest votes to another Urhobo son in favour of an opposition party" another opined.

 

Godsay Orubebe: Elder Godsday Orubebe's ethnicity as an Ijaw man is being seen as a big minus for him because of President Goodluck Jonathan who is also Ijaw and expected to run for the Presidency in 2015. When Factnews spoke to a party loyalist who pleaded anonymity, he said, "PDP just endorsed President Goodluck as our sole candidate. How can we give governorship to another Izon (Ijaw)? Na only Ijaw we come for? It will cause disaffection. There are other tribes here with aspirants who are also qualified. Our delegates will not even try that else Delta will burn". A candidate of the party for the forthcoming Council elections also said, "What are you talking about? See, we have gone beyond that. A man who could not deliver the East-west road in how many years? That will be a joke taken too far".

Politics is not religion where a new convert or even an unbeliever will be heartily welcomed and ordained clergy on the premise that he has the calling even when he has failed in other fields of endeavour. It is an intellectual game garnished with experienced expertise with clout, astuteness and in depth knowledge of the board which is the grassroots. Boko haram is threatening the unity of the Country with the North's politicians angling to be President through the door or the window. MEND and Asari Dokubo's group are promising retaliating attacks if things go wrong with the presidency. A conflict resolver is needed to prevent and solve these problems in Delta State and also able to influence events in the entire Niger Delta region.


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