By Joe Ogbodu
Deputy President of the Senate, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, has been ‘voted’ by delegates as governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general elections in Delta state in a sole primary election.
The beginning of his tall dream of becoming the governor of the oil-rich but insufficiently developed Delta state by successive government has just began.
Bigpenngr.com reports that Omo-Agege stood unopposed in the craftily planned political game which he hatched up long before 2019 when he reportedly played the spoiler role for a now disgruntled all-time contestant, Chief Great Ogboru who was primed to dislodge Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the time.
Having polled a total of 1,190 votes out of 1,235 accredited delegates votes in the sole primary election held at the Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba, Omo-Agege is set for the biggest contest of his life with PDP’s Oborevwori and some other possible aggrieved aspirants who may likely join the fray in the coming days.
With his 2023 game plan up his sleeve, Omo-Agege had in 2019 outsmarted Messer Victor Ochei, a former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly and Pat Utomi, a Nigerian professor of political economy, both of Delta North extraction who were favoured to clinch the governorship ticket at that time against Ogboru.
The APC faction headed by O’tega Emerhor which has now reconciled its long-drawn battle with Omo-Agege’s tendency had reasoned that since power was in the Northern part of the state through Okowa of PDP, it would be easy for the party to gain a statewide acceptance if they field a Delta Northerner at that election, but Omo-Agege having his eyes fixed in the governorship in 2023 had hoodwinked a power-hungry Ogboru to believe that they would use ‘federal might’ to scuttle Okowa’s second term.
Ogboru felled for it and was convincingly defeated by Okowa in an Omo-Agege’s hatched up political game plan. While Omo-Agege went back to the senate for an unprecedented second term of office as Urhoboland senator riding on Ogboru’s overwhelming cult-like following to clinch his mandate with Ighoyota Amori helping him from Ethiope West axis, a now estranged Ogboru was left betrayed.
Both Ochei and Utomi who had at that time vowed that APC Delta would pay dearly for undermining the feelings of Anioma people in the hijacked governorship primary, left Omo-Agege with a tattered APC which was just a smokescreen arm of the ruling PDP not without a major legal battle that took months to settle after the primary.
In the build up to the 2023 general election, Omo-Agege took grip of the entire structure of the party edging out nearly all the various leaders of the party except a handful of the Emerhor’s political bloc who later took side with him.
Political analyst says from ward to local government councils, from senatorial zones to state executive of the party, Omo-Agege had his footprint with his men planted in various strategic positions of the party for fear of the D-day.
This had unsettled Festus Keyamo, the current Minister of State Labour and Employment who was jostling to give the governorship a shot again having failed in his bid in 2015 and a 2023 governorship hopeful, Jaro Egbo who later dumped the APC alleging hijack of the party’s structure by Omo-Agege.
Keyamo who took side with Ogboru’s stance on the festering cold war between the leaders of the party, later failed in his bid to reclaim the party’s structure from Omo-Agege.
Pundits believe that the efforts Omo-Agege put in to make himself a sole governorship aspirant of the party undermining the support of some bigwigs of the party, could have been use to unite the party ahead of the 2023 general election.
It is believed in some quarters in the state that Omo-Agege may be banking on impression that Okowa had thrown up a weak candidate to give APC a chance in the race.
Some school of thought are saying that APC faithfuls in the state are rejoicing over the emergence of Oborevwori as PDP governorship candidate, alleging that Okowa had used Oborevwori as a pawn from the onset to get Omo-Agege to power having apparently helped him to retain his seat in 2019.
Political analysts are of the views that what could have altered the political applecart in the governorship race was averted on Wednesday when Okowa bracing all odds, ensured Oborevwori becomes a PDP flag bearer for 2023 governorship election. But observers are worried over the way and manner Okowa and his men instead of opening up window of reconciliation immediately for disgruntled members had celebrated the Oborevwori’s primary victory as if a section of the PDP have been conquered and defeated.
Interestingly, in the days to come, how Omo-Agege will be able to unsettle the PDP without the support of bigwigs like Ogboru, Ochei, Ojougboh who were conspicuously absent in his primary, in all the wards, local government, senatorial district where PDP has thrown up several set of new leaders who will be battling to ensure they deliver and win their own election, would remain a mystery to unravel.
Between an Okowa who would spend more tax payers money to market Oborevwori, James Ibori who is ‘nursing his wound’ of not having Edevbie as the PDP flag bearer and Omo-Agege who is crookedly cutting corners to get to power, one thing is clear it is the state, her people that will bear the brunt of the outcome of the scheming, plots and intriguing epic drama between friends and foes to install a new governor in 2023.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Delta State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Rev. Monday Udo Tom, on Wednesday said that Omo-Agege’s affirmation was done to “fulfil all righteousness”, as according to the Electoral Act, INEC officials must monitor primary exercise, pointing out that the rules states that there must be physical voting even if it’s only one person that is the aspirant’.
Joe Ogbodu, is a public affairs analyst and Managing Editor bigpenngr.com