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2023: I Am Disappointed With Okowa Over Statement On PDP Zoning Arrangement –Nwaoboshi

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-Vows That They Will Stop The Governor From Singlehandedly Determining Who Succeeds Him
-Says He Championed The Struggle For Powershift From Delta Central, Deltans Will Determine Who Takes Over

By Daniel Dafe, Abraka

Member representing Delta North in the Senate, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has vowed to stop Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa from singlehandedly determining who takes over from him in 2023, adding that he is very disappointed with him (Okowa) over his statement that there was no agreement for governorship zoning by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

The PDP senator who responded to questions from media practitioners during a parley with members of the Association of Community Newspaper Publishers of Nigeria (ACNPN), Delta State Chapter, on Saturday, wondered why Okowa, being a beneficiary of zoning is determined to jettison the arrangement on ground.

He recalled how he fought for power shift in 2006 when James Ibori’s tenure was coming to an end, saying that the body language of the then governor showed that he was likely to handover to a successor from Delta Central.

He continued: “I rose and told him that in our meetings at various places the notion is that power will rotate amongst the senatorial districts and that he cannot hand over power to another person from central; that this is the understanding that we all have.

“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. It was in that meeting we coined the name Equity 2006. It became the vehicle with which we fought the government that be. That was how power left central and went to the south. The Urhobo people would have killed me then if they saw me.”

He also commended Ibori for standing his ground, stressing that while he (Ibori) was in prison, he told him that it must go to Delta North after Delta South.

“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 dont want trouble in this state. Many of us have put our lives on the line to fight for this power shift.

“I lost my commissionership because I was fighting for powershift which he is a beneficiary, then at the tail end of your tenure you are saying there is no written agreement.

“No man can sit in his office and determine who the next governor in this state becomes,” he averred.

“We have the resources to fight and stop him from picking his successor alone,” Nwaoboshi added.

According to him, the cohesion that existed in the PDP has been eroded, noting that during Ibori’s tenure, everyone of them were treated as stakeholders.

“There were times we even overruled Ibori. Ibori was the one that funded the party’s election in 1999. That is why I am disturbed about the noise of the return of Ibori loot from UK. That money is nothing to him. But, I am not standing for his defense. But, despite his wealth, he still consulted with all of us unlike what is seen now when one man thinks he knows it all. We are watching him.

“Then, we worked as a team. Ibori treated us as colleagues and did not take decisions on his own. When Ibori won his election, he summoned many meetings in Warri for us to discuss the government. We saw the government as our own were collective decisions are taken.”

Buttressing his points, he recalled how Humprey Iwerebo picked Okowa after he graduated from the university and made him Secretary and then Chairman of the council, adding that he stood for Okowa when the man felt betrayed by Okowa and stood his ground that he would not be a commissioner.

“We all stood for Okowa because the decision to be a commissioner was a collective one. You saw when Ibori had his problem, everyone was trouping to UK to see him because we saw him as the leader of the struggle.

“When Uduaghan was governor, we used to meet, share ideas and also advise him on some of the things he was doing. At the beginning of Okowa’s government, Ibori had gone back, but then he (Ibori) wanted us to meet from time to time. It is not happening again. Since I am not wanted, I have decided to stay on my own,” the senator added.

Asked if he is leaving the PDP, he said: ”I am a PDP senator. There are rumours and there must be rumours in the rumour mill. If I decide to go to APC, it is my legitimate right. But, as I am talking to you now I am a member of the PDP and a PDP senator. That is all I can say for now.”

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