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Delta 2023: Professor Sam Oyovbaire’s Statement, Misleading –Group



Professor Sam Oyovbaire

Generally, democracy is about free choice and it is within the constitutional right of members of any organized and duly registered political party to aspire for the office of the Governor of any particular state, just as they cannot also deny others of this same right. Indeed, unhindered freedom of association and expression is what makes democracy beautiful and desirable.

It is against this backdrop that we consider as disturbing the apparent decision of the nascent Delta Central 2023 or DC-23 to act in breach of the country’s Constitution by attempting to gag or shut out other bonafide citizens of the state from aspiring and vying for the governorship position in 2023.

Ironically, major political players within the fold of the new DC-23 have all contested in all the gubernatorial primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since inception in 1999 to 2019. Therefore, it is surprising that what they preach now is contrary to what they did by contesting all the primaries of the party.

While we do not question their individual right to aspire for the office of Governor of Delta State, we wish to appeal that leaders must always put the facts in their proper perspective in the interest of the party and the overall well-being of our dear state.

Rising from a meeting the nascent group had few days ago in Asaba, the leaders, in a statement, “warned members of the group, particularly governorship aspirants and stakeholders in Delta Central, never to accept Deputy Governorship cum Running Mate offer, so as to effectively drive the desire of the senatorial district to a logical conclusion in her quest to produce the party’s governorship candidate in 2023 gubernatorial election.”

Specifically, the Delta United Front take exception to the statement credited to elder stateman, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, whereby he reportedly stated that there is a power rotation agreement of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under which Delta Central senatorial district handed over power to the South senatorial district and the South, in turn, handed over to the North senatorial district. He went on to state that it was necessary, if not practically mandatory, for the North district to hand over to the Central.

This is erroneous and misleading. What necessity is he talking about? How seamless had the respective processes of transfer been under the so-called power rotation agreement?

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So, it is only necessary that transparent party primaries be emphasized and not the obvious and unwarranted threat to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the PDP. Delta South has remained the pride of the PDP since Chief James Ibori left power in 2007. The records are there; and, the district cannot perform less in 2023.

The correct position regarding the order of gubernatorial primaries within the Peoples Democratic Party since 1999-2019 is as follows:

That in 1999, the contest for the Governorship was open and aspirants from all the senatorial districts contested it. And, in that contest Chief James Onanefe Ibori emerged as the flagbearer.

Again, in 2007 it was thrown open and in this case not less than 40 (today’s) DC-23 members contested the primary and Dr Emmanuel Eweta Udughan, Delta South, emerged as the flag-bearer of the PDP. Of particular note is the 2015 governorship primaries in which members of DC-23 were active participants!

Where then was the agreement of power rotation? We challenge them to produce it where it is written or orally agreed? Or are they telling Deltans that where had they won in these primaries they wouldn’t have accepted the mandate?! These questions are begging for answers.

The PDP went to general elections in those years and was victorious; but the people from Delta Central it had been who appeared determined to hold on to power tenaciously by seeking to upturn the mandate even up to the Supreme Court.

If indeed there was an agreement, why this persistent violation by DC-23 members and Delta Central leaders?

The elder statesman went further to even deny the constitutional right of people to associate by saying that, they (Central district elders) forbade members of DC-23 “accepting Deputy Governorship slot in 2023!” If this statement is correct, then, we are disappointed that this could come from the eminent leader!

Now, it could be stated unequivocally that by implication, it was wrong for Benjamin Elue (Delta North) to be running mate and later Deputy to Chief James Ibori, who is from Delta Central. If not, we cannot fathom how such absurd proposition would work in a democracy. We, therefore, implore our leader, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, to advise DC-23 members to reach out and campaign at the appropriate time. He cannot deny people the will and right to associate for political leaning of groups and interest.

The Nigerian Constitution forbids what the erudite professor of political science is said to be advocating especially in a democracy, because it is an interest-driven game of trust and loyalty.

Where they spoke of equity; and we wondered what really is equity? Equity to people who are seeking for fourth term supposed to say: from Olorogun Felix Ibru and Chief Ibori making third term in all now seeking for fourth term! This is not equity. Though, we do not speak for anyone as our group is apolitical. However, if there must be equity it should be for either the Ijaw or Isoko in 2023. These are the ethnic groups that rightly deserve PDP or any other political party that considers the aspirations of all. We can assuage them the next Eight years for the sake of inclusive governance of the state.

Looking forward:

Going forward, what is expected of our leaders across the political divide is to emphasize and encourage the unity of the state, transparent primaries and demonstrable experience, and support for a leader that is acceptable and that will spread development across the state.


Mr. Ikechukwu Lawson, Esq., Delta North

Alagbaria Belford, Delta South

Mr. Alexander Obruse, Delta Central

For: Delta United Front


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