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By Comr Lucky Futughe -Warri
The March 18,2023 gubernatorial elections have been won and lost, winners declared by the independent electoral commission(INEC). The icing on the cake was the declaration of Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori as Govermor-Elect, Delta State. While the genuine People’s Democratic Party members and supporters in the state were celebrating, the opposition All Progressive Congress(APC) rejected the outcome of the elections citing irregularities. This report would x-ray the elections dispassionately and narrow down on some the rationales behind DSP Ovie Omo-Agege abysmal performance at the polls.
Delta State is made up of twenty five(25) Local Govt Areas with Delta North Senatorial District having Nine(9), Delta Central having 8 and Delta South Senatorial District with eight(8) LGAs respectively. Historically, no Governorship candidate has emerged as Governor without the support of atleast two of the senatorial district. In other words, to win the Governorship seat, the candidate must be a Pan Deltan. This Pan Deltan qualities make the candidate more acceptable to the people because of the heterogeneous ethnic components of the state.
A review of the Pan Deltan resume of the two leading candidates show that Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori was far ahead of DSP Ovie Omo-Agege who practice more of clannish/ethnic politics when he knows such characteristics were red flags for Deltans. The APC candidate woes were further compounded by his desires to undermine political allies after securing their support and or endorsement. He burnt alot of bridges on his political sojourn to his current Deputy Senate President position. These bridges were burnt across the three(3) senatorial district, placing him in a very perilous position to win the gubernatorial elections.
In DSP Ovie Omo-Agege quest to dominate critical Federal Government agency like the NDDC, he fought prominent son of the Anioma Nation Dr Cairo Ojugbo who vowed to resist him politically. While Omo-Agege was sabotaging Dr Cairo, he forgot his gubernatorial ambition that he will need that bridge to cross the Anioma Rivers. He went further on Mrs Laurenta Onochie using the instrument of the Senate to frustrate her nomination and confirmation. It took President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene to ensure she was screened and confirmed for the top job. While these were ongoing, the Anioma people of Delta North Senatorial District were taking note of DSP Omo-Agege’s disposition towards them. They were able to conclude that, he was not an option for them because of his clannish orientation.
While he continued to antagonize Anioma children, the Itsekiri, Ijaws and Isokos were not left out in Delta South Senatorial District. The immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan was poorly treated by the same Deputy Senate President Omo-Agege while he was in the APC. All attempt to ensure they work together in the APC proved abortive because of his strategic objectives of wanting to emerge as the sole candidate of the APC in the future. Therefore, he tacitly decapitated any politician who maybe a threat to gubernatorial ambitions. These unethical political management of the APC in the state, forced the former Governor back to his original home, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). While The DSP was exhibiting his clannish agendas, the Itsekiri people were taking ample notes of crass display of callousness to one of their illustrious sons. The Itsekiri people also went further to note his role he played in the botched appointment of Chief Albert Okumagba instead Prince Yemi Emiko as provided by the NDDC Act. It became lucid that his clannish behavior was custom made and no amount of persuasion can redeem his image in the eyes of the Itsekiris.
Moreso, his emergence as DSP witnessed the massive support of ranking senator James Manager who mobilized his southern colleagues to support one of his brother despite being in the ruling party. He showed him that brotherly love as one Delta, provided that leverage for him to emerge as the Deputy Senate President, the number 5 man in the country. Elected office holders from the PDP led by Sen. Manager visited him after his elections as the Deputy Senate President. However, when it came to the inauguration of committees in the red Chambers, impeccable sources have that, the clannish DSP Ovie Omo-Agege frustrated ranking Senator James Manager from getting juicy committee despite his pivotal roles prior to his emergence. He openly displayed his greed for power by either orchestrating division or frustrating prominent sons and daughters of other ethnic nationalities. The Ijaws of Delta South Senatorial District took ample records of all the episodes that transpired. Hence, it was difficult for the former Governor of Delta State, HE Chief James Ibori to convince Sen James Manager to join DPS Omo-Agege in the APC. The critical role he played in the NDDC impasse was a direct confrontation with oil bearing communities in Delta State and Niger Delta in general. His shear appetite for power deprived people from the area of the opportunities to produce the heads of this agency that is significant in the development of the region.
Furthermore, the more reasons DSP Ovie Omo-Agege failed in the gubernatorial election was in Delta Central Senatorial District. Those who have followed the political history of the APC gubernatorial candidate after he left the PDP would know he was a serial defector. Some school of thoughts applauded him for always taking advantage of any party to appear on the ballot in every electioneering seasons. According to them, his defections have eventually being rewarded with the Deputy Senate President seat. This was an imaginable feet for a serial defector. While he enjoys the paraphernalia of the office, he continued in his political decapitation agenda of perceived foes in his party, the APC. He ensured Chief Great Ogboru and Chief Otega Omerhor were cut to size to the extent that, their Federal appointments were stalled if not for the likes of HE Bola Ahmed Tinubu who knew these men from legacy Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He dribbled Chief Ogboru, dismembered his political structures after riding on his back to emerge as a senator in Delta Central following the death of Sen(Chief) Pius Ewherido. The Ethiope East people of Delta State took recordd of the humiliation served their prominent son by the Orogun born senator.
Finally, it is no news that Chief Otega Omerhor was the pioneer Chairman APC Delta State. In some quarters, they ascribed the arrival of the party in Delta State to him in conjunction with some other prominent Itsekiri leaders like Dr Alex Ideh. While the APC was the symbol of opposition in the State, Chief Otega held sway. However, with the defection of DSP Ovie Omo-Agege to the All Progressive Congress (APC), the travail of the pioneer Chairman began. The battle was so fierce that two factions emerged to the extent that, fight broke out between factions of the party during their National conventions in Abuja. They had parallel executives as at that time with a faction taking instructions from Lagos while others from Abuja. However, with his emergence as DSP, his strength and powers grew to finally crush Chief Otega Omerhor. The Ewhreni people of Ughelli North LGA took note of how their son was muscled out with the instrument of government. With the pioneer APC chairman out of the way, he took absolute charge of the party, decided who becomes what and so on. He ensured his political aides emerges as state party executives paving ways for him to clitch the party ticket seamlessly. What DSP Ovie Omo-Agege failed to realized was that, he has personally planted political landmines on his way to Abuja forgetting that, it was the same road that leads him back to Osadebe House, Asaba, Delta State. His concentration of strategic projects in his hometown Orogun further compounded his woes and chances of winning elections in the state. He burnt most of the Anioma, Itsekiri, Ijaw and Urhobo bridges in his quest to intimidate everybody in his party and the state. He forgot that, ‘everyday is for the thief, one day for the owner’ and the owners of Delta State spoke on March 18, 2023 that they want a Pan Deltan governor and not a clannish one.
Consequently, as an independent and unbiased political analyst, the chances of DSP Ovie Omo-Agege emerging as Governor of Delta State was infinitesimal because of his antecedence. Those who defected from the PDP only did that based on emotions/leader said and not on basis of strategic thinking. Hence, the conclusion that the APC gubernatorial candidate cannot win elections in Delta State if INEC conducts elections twenty times under the same conditions. The morale lessons from this article is, politicians should first acknowledge that power comes from God and secondly learn to build bridges instead of burning them.