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Delta Decides 2023: Intrigues And Gale Of Defection Heighten In Delta

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Delta Decides 2023: Intrigues And Gale Of Defection Heighten In Delta

By Annabel Ogheneganre

These are interesting times. Political prostitution has been institutionalized in Delta State. Never before had PDP, the ruling party in the state, been faced with such degree of worrisome defections in an embarrassing manner. Since the beginning of the 4th republic, beside the 2011 general elections when some state government officials dumped the party for the opposition, PDP had never faced the kind of embarrassment it is now facing in Delta State. Elections had always been won easily by the party and things had never been this bad. Today, no day passes without news of one government official or the other dumping the PDP for the opposition. And elections are still over 30 days away.

If the defections continue, PDP may be a shadow of itself before the polls. Many people are angry with the way and manner Governor Okowa and Chief Kingsley Esiso had managed the party over the years. While Okowa and his boys accuse Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of running a one man show, Okowa, like a pregnant woman who accuses another woman of having sex, parades a worst degree of tyranny in his management of the PDP in Delta State. In the APC, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the party leaders decided on whom to fly the party flag and prevailed on the other aspirants not to waste their money, but in the case of Okowa and PDP, the aspirants were allowed to spend their hard earned money and in the end, he ensured his preferred candidate got the ticket. And in the event that his preferred candidate failed to secure the ticket through the ballot, he scuttled the process and roll out his arsenals to secure victory for his preferred candidate as in the case of Hon Talib Tebite and Hon Solomon Awhinawhin.

Talib Tebite won the PDP primaries in a clean and clear manner for the Ughelli/Udu federal constituency ticket in a free and fair primary election. But Okowa insisted it must be Awhinawhin. He scuttled the processes, have Awhinawhin declared winner in the second ballot and followed it up to the Supreme Court to ensure Talib Tebite never recovered his mandate. It doesn’t matter whether the crude seizure of the party ticket could affect the chances of the PDP in the general elections. Okowa’s unrepentant posture on his choice of party flag-bearers is one reason why many party faithful are switching to the opposition to teach him and his preferred candidates lessons he may not forget in a hurry.

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When the defections started in Delta central, I thought it was going to follow the old pattern of 2011. But today, the defections have occurred in all parts of Delta State sending the PDP into a panicky mode and fueling the ‘cash out’ business which has forced Governor Okowa to open the state vault to buy over APC members or retain those who are desirous of leaving the party. From Rt Hon Olisa Imegwu of Delta North to Hon Faith Majemite and Evance Iwurie of Central and Daniel Reyeneju and Hon Bullet Otuaro, younger brother to the Deputy Governor, the defections have been very critical against the PDP. This development is a sure evidence of some deep-rooted frustrations and mismanagement of the fortune of the party by Chief Kingsley Esiso, who like an emperor, have suppressed the will of the people over time just like it happened during the last local government polls. Now, the people have risen to fight back and a visibly worried Governor Okowa has resorted to the politics of ‘cash out’ to retain his party followership. How far this will go, no one can tell.

What the development subsumes is that 2023 is pay-back time. The coming election is massive opportunity for the people to pay their tormentors in their own coin. Governor Okowa may be deluding himself as having Delta state in his pocket but February 25 and March 11 will tell whether the people are truly behind him or not. Those around him may be telling him what he wants to hear. That is the fate of tyrants whom acolytes dread to tell the truth. The PDP in Delta State is collapsing by the day. The odds are against the PDP not because of any crime Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori may have committed but he may pay for the sins of Okowa against the people on March 11.

The most worrisome part of the story is the ‘Nichodemus meetings’ by state government officials including serving commissioners and Council Chairmen, former and serving, with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege in ungodly hours. Okowa does not even know who to trust anymore. His Deputy Governor, Barr Kingsley Otuaro is aggrieved and not totally committed to the Sheriff Oborevwori project. Senator James Manager is holding meetings with opposition element all in a bid to teach Okowa some hard lessons in ‘politics 2023’. Chief James Onanefe Ibori, the leader of the PDP in Delta State hurts and cannot be fully identified with the Okowa gang in the state. He is like the snake that moves at night with difficulty in identifying the head and tail. Where the pendulum will swing could be determined by the mood and disposition of the Odidigborigbo in the coming weeks.

As remarked earlier, Governor Okowa has opened the state vault to bribe as many APC leaders as possible to cross to PDP in order to save his face and career. All over Delta State, the mood in the streets does not favour the PDP. The APC is gaining ground everyday while PDP is hemorrhaging. Those PDP warlords grandstanding in the media do so as a face saving mechanism. The ‘PDP House of Commotion’ is collapsing and the tell signs are ominous. One major challenge before the party is that members who are prepared to work against the PDP are more than the faithful ones. Anything can happen in the coming polls. But nobody should grandstand that all is well with the PDP in Delta State. It happened in Bayelsa state in 2019. It happened in the 2015 presidential polls. Nobody is unbeatable in Nigeria, not anymore. Let our day break!

Annabel Ogheneganre writes from Garki, Abuja. (Responses can be sent to ananabel4christ@hotmail.com)

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