By Annabel Ogheneganre
The 2023 general elections promise to be unpredictable for many reasons. The new Electoral Act is not a friend of anti-democratic elements which had held the political space by the jugular since 1999. With the introduction of BVAS, electronic transmission of election results and other sensitive democratic features designed to make votes count in a true democracy, Nigeria may get it right in 2023. Therefore any political party that wishes to post impressive showing in the coming polls must endeavour to field popular candidates with street credibility in all 8 local government areas of Delta Central.
In Ethiope West where Chief John Nani and Chief Ighoyota Amori hail from, delegates are most likely going to split the votes between Nani and Amori. By now, everybody is aware of what the system wants. Some of the delegates no doubt will defile the system but since both men are from Ethiope West, the votes are most likely going to be split. Political office holders from Ethiope West who hope to retain their positions in the next one year may wish to flout Chief James Ibori’s stand on the matter and align with Nani. Amori has a slight possibility of winning Ethiope West though. Ibori’s daughter is running for House of Representatives and if Ben Igbakpa is truly in the race for re-election, he may mobilize for John Nani and that could swing the pendulum against Amori.
In Ethiope East, Ibori’s plan to take Amori and his daughter across the deep sea of delegates’ election may erode Amori’s chances. The same reasons why Nani may cause upset in Ethiope West hold same prospect in Ethiope East. Amori’s popularity rating has dropped drastically since the last election when he mobilized massively against the PDP in the general elections having lost the 2018 PDP primaries to Evelyn Oboro with over 100 votes. Amori seems to have more supporters in the APC family than in the PDP. That can only help him in the general elections not in the PDP delegates election. Nani and Amori also have a 50:50 chance of winning Ethiope East.
For Sapele, Okpe and Uvwie where the Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the favourite gubernatorial aspirant of the PDP hail from, Chief Ighoyota Amori stands no chance at all. Chief Kingsley Esiso is in firm control of delegates from Sapele and to a reasonable extent Ethiope East. The PDP Chairman from Sapele resigned to run for House of Assembly, and such other forces in Sapele are most likely going to align with the system which gave Kingsley Esiso political oxygen to command so much power today. Sapele will vote John Nani as Kingsley Esiso cannot allow the system to be humiliated in his backyard.
In Okpe LGA, there is no way Amori can get 30 percent of votes from the LGA. That is the home LGA of Sheriff Oborevwori. If Oborevwori and his supporters wish to win the gubernatorial primary which is most likely going to be the situation, he must prove himself on May 14. Oborevwori is in firm control of the delegates in Okpe LGA. The party structure, majority of the political office holders and ad-hoc delegates from Okpe are product of Sheriff Oborevwori’s goodwill. Amori should simply forget Okpe LGA because John Nani will coast home to victory in a smooth ride in Okpe.
In Uvwie, it will be pay-back time for Amori who denied them the opportunity of producing the first female senator in 2019. One wonder what Amori would be telling the Uvwie people for working against their daughter during the last elections. Evelyn Oboro, Solomon Ighwrakpata and their supporters are still in firm control of the delegates. Uvwie will vote massively for John Nani. Amori stands no chance here.
In Udu where the likes of Chief Eddie Ono-Sorhue, Chief Henry Sakpra, Vincent Oyibode and others are in firm control of majority of delegates, the pendulum will most likely swing in favour of John Nani. Though the council Chairman, Jite Brown is behind Ighoyota Amori in Udu, his support cannot swing Udu in favour of Amori because most politicians in Udu are in support of the system which is behind John Nani.
Ughelli South is also most likely going to support John Nani. Chief John Oguma, who always fights to retain the stand of the system, will not fight the system now. Chief A.P Fovie, Chairman PDP Delta Central cannot fight the system. The Council Chairman, Dr Richard Kofi, councilors and party leaders are most likely going to obey the system because, John Nani posts an innocent face without blemish. Chief Ighoyota Amori does not stand any chance in Ughelli South.
Why Ughelli North is the home LGA of Chief David Edevbie, the favourite gubernatorial aspirant of the Ighoyota Amori-controlled and almost defunct DC-23, the LGA is control of forces beyond the reach of the Amori backers. Majority of delegates, ad-hoc and statutory from the LGA are in support of the system-backed John Nani. Winning Ughelli North is almost beyond Amori because the Council Chairman, Coach Tete, party Chairman, Pastor Namuoja, party leaders like Terry Noah, Ovie Agas, Samuel Mariere and others will most likely fly with the system. Though David Edevbie, Solomon Awhinawhi, Dr Isaac Akpoveta are fully in support of Amori for the senatorial ticket, the odds are in favour of John Nani.
In the final analysis, Chief Ighoyota Amori does not seem to have full control of any local government area in Delta Central, unlike John Nani with very high prospect of winning block votes in at least 4 LGAs. There are many political office holders who were compelled to resign to be delegates and these would need to obey the system to be sure of returning to office in June. The greatest mistakes some people will make is to think nobody will know how they voted during the primaries. There are many ingenious strategies in place to keep the delegates in check. John Nani stands a better chance of winning the PDP ticket for Delta Central.
Annabel Ogheneganre writes from Garki, Abuja. (Send reactions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
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