Thursday, 4 September 2014

Delta 2015: Tension Looms as PDP schemes-out some Guber Aspirants

Image result for pictures of Gov Uduaghan
As the political calculations for the 2015 Delta governorship race begin, the political atmosphere in Delta State is already tensed up following a plot to scheme out of the race some prominent aspirants from Delta North Senatorial District who are already gearing up to take over from the incumbent governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
It was learnt that going by ‘zoning arrangement’ reportedly working for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the Delta North Senatorial District is supposed to produce the next governor of the state but there appears to be plans to ‘zone’ the governorship by constituency, a move that is already being resisted by key players in the zone.
Political analysts close to the party told our correspondent that the Governor had allegedly adopted a ‘system’ which will cut off some parts of Delta North from the race, adding that several aspirants from such areas were on a daily basis calling the state party chairman, Peter Nwaoboshi to clarify the insinuation which is making the round in the state.
Political pundits in the state said that in 1999, when PDP reportedly ‘zoned’ the governorship to the Delta Central Senatorial District, Chief James Onanefe Ibori clinched the ticket on Senatorial District formula of which his administration lasted for eight year.
Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan also clinched the party’s ticket in 2007 when there was a strong agitation for power shift to Delta South following the supposed zoning arrangement of the party.
It is expected that based on the ‘senatorial district’ arrangement and not ‘zoning by constituency’ that is being peddled currently by the governor and some of his foot soldiers so as to technically block at least four formidable aspirants, the Delta North Senatorial District would also take its turn to produce the next governor by the PDP ‘arrangement’ when Uduaghan’s tenure expires.
But dependable sources said that going by the maneuvering currently playing out in the state, the Governor is adamant on ‘zoning’ the governorship to two Federal Constituencies within the Delta North Senatorial District in a grand plot to ‘zone out’ some aspirants who the ‘system’ feel may pose grave threat to the plot to foist a stooge as Governor on May 29, 2015.
Our correspondent learnt that by the calculation, aspirants from Ika North East/Ika South Federal Constituency and those from Ndokwa East/Ndokwa West/Ukwuani Federal Constituency within the Delta North Senatorial District are more favoured to the detriment of others in the race who might be ‘zoned out’ if the permutation is anything to go by.
Our multiple sources said that if the ‘arrangement’ is the determining factor, it means that aspirants from Aniocha North/Aniocha South/Oshimili North/ Oshimili South Federal Constituencies may have been tactically disenfranchised from the race.
Although the Chairman of the party in the state, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, could not be reached on phone as he didn’t respond to calls or reply to text messages sent to him on the issue, the state Commissioner for Transport, Hon. Ben Igbakpa, had earlier alluded to the game plan by the Governor and a clique in the party when he said that “the system and party” had agreed that the governorship should go to Ikas or Ndokwas council areas of the state.
Igbakpa, a close confidant of Uduaghan who hails from Oghara, the hometown of former governor, James Ibori, was quoted to have said that they have agreed on the area the next governor of the state would come from and as such, all that was left was to ‘work’ for the candidate the ‘system’ has penciled down for the job so as not to be left out in the scheme of things in the next administration.
“It has been agreed that the governorship should go to Delta North,” Igbakpa said while addressing stakeholders at the recently convened meeting in Ethiope West Council Area of the state, adding; “having gone to Delta North (referring to the governorship slot), where are we looking at?”
Continuing, he said: “It has also been agreed by the system and the party that the governorship should go to the Ikas or the Ndokwas.”
Igbakpa said the essence of the meetings and others to come was to start forming alliance with the area that would produce the next governor saying; “So the essence of this message is for us that when we are attending to prospective aspirants, it will be in our interest to be strong partakers in the coming government.  And the only way to be strong partakers and benefit from it is for us to take a stand.”
As if that was not enough, the Political Adviser to the governor, Chief Ighoyota Amori, also corroborated what had been revealed as Governor’s plan to zone the governorship position even before the party’s primaries in favour of a ‘chosen candidate’, when he said that Urhobos were prepared to form alliance with a candidate from Ndokwa or Ika axis of the state.
This was weeks after some PDP chieftains in Delta South and Central Senatorial Districts, including militant-cum-contractor, Chief Ayeri Emami, who happened to be a close ally of Uduaghan and member of the state House of Assembly, Hon Monday Igbuya, had begun building structures for the newest entrant into the race, Tony Obuh, a serving permanent secretary and political neophyte, who is being touted as the ‘anointed one’, given the ‘body language’ of Uduaghan.
Emami was specifically quoted in some national dallies to have said that they were sent by Uduaghan to ‘work’ for Obuh, whom, according to him, had been  ‘agreed’ and penciled down as the next governor of the state. But Uduaghan has since denied ever ‘anointing’ anybody or authorising anyone to ‘work’ for any of the aspirants when he saw the backlash over the move.
However, reliable sources revealed that the political summersault, which is allegedly being orchestrated by some overzealous elements within the ruling PDP in the state, is currently heating up the polity, as political analyst said the ‘arrangement’ would only spell doom for the PDP.
Already, pressure is mounting in the political arena in the state for some obviously unknown elements purportedly favoured by the supposed ‘arrangement’ to foray into the race just as the topmost gladiators who are warming up to take over the mantle of leadership in the state and their supporters engaged in subtle horse-trading and clandestine politicking over the development.
In the Delta North Senatorial District alone, over 11 aspirants are jostling for the plum job in Asaba. Prominent among those believed to be eyeing Dr. Uduaghan’s seat are the senator from Ika North East, representing Delta North Senatorial District, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who had once contested the governorship position, alongside the incumbent governor; energetic former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, (Aniocha North); Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (Aniocha North) and representing Aniocha North and South Federal Constituency; Prof. Sylvester Monye (Aniocha North); Hon Festus Okubor (Ika North East); Chief (Mrs) Ngozi Olejeme (Oshimili North); Chief Godwin Obielum (Ndokwa) as well as recent entrant, Chief Tony Obuh (Ika South), among others.
The Delta North Senatorial District where these aspirants hail from has nine local government councils, which make up the zone and is the only ‘zone’ yet to produce a governor hence the intense political activities in that part of the state.
Political analysts in the state said the suspicion within the political arena in the state, obviously is because the ‘system and party’ is overwhelmed by the ‘big names’ foraying into the governorship race in the Delta North.
Dependable sources said that even the state governor is currently overwhelmed by the caliber of persons showing interest in the race and giving the fact that the governor has no full grip of the party structure, he is purportedly finding it difficult to play the political chess game which was easily played by his supposed ‘political mentor’, Ibori, whom pundits described as ‘generalissimo’ in the game of party politics.
Reliable party sources fear that with the development, the party may be torn apart in the state before the 2015 general elections, if Governor Uduaghan continues his current ‘body language’.
The sources affirmed that the governor was behind the renewed “plot and antics” being deployed by both party and officials of the state government to thwart the ambition of some aspirants in the race. It added that instead of allowing a level playing field for all who desire to contest as was done by Ibori, the governor is ‘scheming’ to ‘rubbish’ some elements out of the race in order to easily install his stooge.
Our sources said when the die is cast and the permutation by the ‘system and party’ eventually becomes the order of the day, there is every indication that some of the aspirants that may be affected may mop up their resources and form an alliance to confront the ‘single enemy’.
Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, one of the leading contenders in the race, though, dismissed the alleged plot.
He said in a reply to a text message sent to him by our correspondent that he had just consulted with the state party echelon over the purported insinuation, giving the impression that he may have also learnt of the plot.
“I have just consulted the PDP State Exco and such insinuation doesn’t exist,” he told our correspondent.
Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa and Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, believed to be one of the “biggest” contenders in the race and who may be affected by the political abracadabra could not be immediately reached to react to the alleged plans as at the time of filing this report.
Attempts to reach Governor Uduaghan were also unsuccessful as at the time of publishing this report.
However, State Information Commissioner, Mr. Chike Ogeah, when contacted said it is totally false that the governor was behind the plot to shortchange some parts of Delta North in the race.
A source close to the governor said that it was not true that the governor had a hand in any political maneuvering going on in the state.
But a party chieftain who craved anonymity said there is “no smoke without fire,” adding that with the unfolding events, intrigues have just began in the state.



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