Friday, 23 January 2015

Ifeanyi Okowa: Most beneficiary of Ibori's dynasty

                       Ifeanyi Okowa                                 
The various political parties in Delta State have conducted their primaries and had picked the candidates that would fly the flags of their parties in the February general elections. The primaries of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) were more of intrigues, manipulations and scheming. The Peoples’ Democratic Party had more contestants than other political parties vying for the governorship ticket being the ruling party in the state and at the national level. Contestants employed wits to outwit their opponents. It was alleged that money exchanged hands during the primaries and delegates who collected money from aspirants were compelled to swear with Bible and anointing oil so they would not vote for their opponents. At the end of the day, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, emerged the candidate to fly the flag of the PDP in the February governorship election.
It is evident that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is the greatest beneficiary of the Ibori’s dynasty owing to the fact that he occupied various political appointments during the administration of ex-governor James Ibori and also continued with that of his successor Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. At the commencement of the James Ibori’s administration in 1999, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa was appointed Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources; that was between July 1999 and April 2001. He was again appointed Commissioner for Water Resources Development between April 2001 and May 2003. Okowa appeared on the scene once more as Commissioner for Health; that was between September 2003 and October 2006. In addition, he became Secretary to the State Government in June 2007 immediately Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan assumed office. Okowa also occupied the office of the Secretary to the State Government till he was elected Senator to represent Delta North  in the National Assembly. One may be tempted to question the reason behind the recount of the political journey of Okowa in Delta State. It is to state the fact that Okowa was the longest serving political office holder in Delta State government since the country returned to democracy in 1999. The retell of the political journey of Okowa in Delta State is vital at a time like this.
Unambiguously, Mr. Tony Obuh was the choice governorship candidate of incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan but the Sunday which preceded Monday 8, December, 2014, the primaries were held, it was alleged that Governor Uduaghan had dumped Obuh for Olorogun David Edevbie. This position allegedly taken by Uduaghan is doubtful because he couldn’t have garnered support for Edevbie over night! David Edevbie was the Commissioner for Finance during the administration of Governor James Ibori. This sudden change of the political plan came as a rude shock to the people of Delta North who had demanded for the governorship seat for the sake of equity. Delta North people were of the belief that if Edevbie was allowed to win the governorship election, it would be a continuation of Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of the state. The concern of this writer is this, how would the election of Olorungun David Edevbie have been a continuation of Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of Delta State? What is Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of the state? What does Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of the state implies? Does it also mean that if Senator Ifeanyi Okowa wins the governorship election is a continuation of Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of the state? These questions need urgent answers to clear the confusing minds of the people of Delta State. Edevbie served as commissioner only in the Ibori’s administration. Certainly, Okowa had the longest service in Delta State beginning from 1999 to 2011 before he was elected a senator same year. Okowa served both ex-governor James Ibori and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administrations. If he was not favourably disposed to both, it wouldn’t have been possible for him to have been appointed to the various offices he occupied. He won the senatorial election owing to the supports and popularity he had garnered over the years from the offices he had held from 1999 to 2011.
 The emergence of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as the PDP governorship candidate was to a large extent the supports accorded him by staunch supporters of ex-governor James Ibori who believed the next  governor should come from Delta North. Thus, delegates from Ethiope West, Ethiope East, Okpe, Sapele, Uvie, Warri South Local Government Areas and some from Ughelli North voted for Okowa at the primaries. Without these delegates who were committed to the actualisation of Delta North governor, there was no way Okowa could have won the PDP governorship primaries!  
Another thing that also attracted the attention of this writer in certain publications was the insinuation by the people of Delta North that the advertorial in some newspapers by the Urhobo Progress Union, directing all Urhobo delegates to vote for Edevbie as their consensus candidate from Urhobo land amounted to seeing the state governorship as a preserve of Urhobo land was worrisome. This is so because the delegates from the local government areas mentioned above were all Urhobos yet they voted for Okowa in the primaries. This explanation is necessary to disabuse the minds of the people of Delta North that Urhobos do not see the state governorship as their exclusive right; the incumbent governor is not an Urhobo!
 From all indications, if Okowa wins the governorship election is a continuation of Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of the state; this is so because he served in both ex-governor James Ibori and incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administrations. Olorogun David Edevbie only served in the government of ex-governor James Ibori; his election couldn’t have been a continuation of Ibori’s dynasty in the affairs of the state.


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