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Ken Gbagi’s Edge In Delta Guber Election

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By IFEKAONYE UGWALA

Delta State is enriched with a long list of contestants for the gubernatorial election holding in few days but each of them embodies a distinctive character informed by individual perspective to public governance. As the gladiators naturally fall into two classes, the first group has strong contenders bolstered by formidable campaign machinery, unlike the other group which is comprised of politicians apparently disadvantaged by obvious factors.

A proper assessment of these men can be gleaned from the roll call which has Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi of the Social Democratic Party(SDP), Chief Great Ogboru of the All Progressive Grand Alliance( APGA), Deacon Ken Pela of the Labour Party(LP), Dr. Goodnews Agbi of New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and Mr. Sunny Ofehe of Young Progressive Party(YPP).

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Despite contesting under the platform of a smaller party, Olorogun Ken Gbagi, a lawyer and former Minister of State for Education is on a firm pedestal as a frontrunner. The combined factors of a respectable background and a broad-based vision of governance has had tremendous impact on his penetration of demographic groups with the resultant swell of a support base for him across the 25 local government areas of Delta State.

It’s to his credit that he had stayed the course since 2019 when he unveiled interest in occupying the plum position. With somewhat providential role, a lot of things have gone on well for him to the consternation of detractors who had erroneously dismissed his quest as a flash in the pan.That he is made of sterner stuff is evident in his capacity to endure a long haul and deflect trenchant criticisms from opponents who probably thought he would chicken out of the race after the leadership of Delta State PDP had contrived his exit, but he was sagacious enough to take shelter under the SDP, which he subsequently built and raised to a considerable level of acceptance in the space of eight months.

The serial endorsements of the SDP candidate by Deltans is an approbation of his six-point agenda primed to usher in all-round development and progress, industrialisation, enhanced security, quality education, job creation and women and youth empowerment. His emphasis on the second, fifth and sixth points at campaign grounds shows his passion to grow the state’s economy beyond the official obsession with oil revenue and provide jobs to the youths and take them off the path of hopelessness.

To a large extent, Gbagi’s presence in the race has promoted greater scrutiny of the character and antecedents of those seeking the governorship office. His disposition towards probity, transparency and frugality in resource management added to his unblemished record in public service provides a counterpoise to the alleged corrupt background and unexplained deep pocket of two contestants in the establishment political parties.

He may have his flaw which is inherently human, but he is not at the present time encumbered by any baggage which impinges on his integrity. He is not a puppet in the derisive manner in which Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP is generally perceived on account of the latter’s imposition by Governor Okowa, ostensibly for sheer egoistical reasons. Besides, he is not haunted by infamy associated with Deputy Senate President and the APC standard- bearer, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who allegedly masterminded the mace theft at the Senate plenary to stave off commencement of impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.

All in all, Gbagi is in a class of his own battling others for the soul of Delta. His edge over other politicians aptly captures the fortuitous presence of a lone tree in the midst of variegated shrubs.

*IFEKAONYE UGWALA writes from Asaba, Delta State.

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