Barely concluding the 2019 elections in Nigeria, already various people from diverse ethnic nationalities in Delta state are strategising to produce the next governor of the state. This is showing more within the leading groups between the Urhobos of Delta Central and the Ijaws of Delta south senatorial areas. The Ijaw nation is seeking to produce the next governor in 2023 after the expiration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s second tenure.
The Ijaws based their argument on the premise that they produce the large percentage of the state resources, stressing that the office of the governor should go round the key ethnic groups in the state for the sake of justice, fairness and equity.
Earlier the Ijaws position was made known in a press release by the president of the apex decision making organ for the Ijaw youths, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), worldwide, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, Esq. He posited, “IYC reiterate its earlier call that it is the Ijaws’ turn to produce the next governor of the State. The office of the governor should rotate among the major ethnic groups in the State in order to give each tribes sense of belonging. The Ijaw people who produce the bulk of wealth for the State should also be allowed to taste the government power”.
In the same veil, the Delta State PDP Leaders from Ughelli South Local Government Area, has endorsed Nigeria’s former Minister of Education (State), Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, for the 2023 governorship position.
Chief E. D. O Obofukoro, a member of Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council who leads in the Gbagi Solidarity Movement, GSM meeting with other leaders, said, “He is our best material.” “We, the Ughelli South people will not play with our chance this time around, as our son, brother and father has to lead all of us to Government House, Asaba in 2023”. While Chief Emmanuel Ejemake asserted, “We have chosen Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi as our next governor, come 2023 in Delta State because we cannot send a newcomer in the race, as Gbagi is among those who brought our party, PDP, to the state and it is now our turn to reward him with the party ticket to govern the state with political and economic experience.”
Speaking on the meeting, the former governor expanded on his aspiration and the call of Deltans, “The position of governor of Delta State will rotate to Delta Central Senatorial district at the end of the second tenure of the incumbent governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and I have come to seek your support and blessings.” “I will build and improve on Okowa’s achievements by bringing to bear in governance my wealth of business experience that I have worked hard to garner in a period of two decades”, narrated Hon Gbagi during the meetings with Chief (Mrs) Obofukoro, ex-PDP state woman leader, Chief (Mrs) Cecelia Duku, Chief Ruth Omajajah, Chief Josephine Oduaran.
Chief Judith Enamuotor, who is also a member of the Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council, said, “When I heard of your consultations around the state and willingness to contest the 2023 governorship election, I said to myself, you have relieved me of my fears because when I looked round our people, our Urhobo people before your entry into the race, I became worried. Now that you are in the race, I have no problem anymore.” “You have the pedigree to govern the state because you are one of us. We started the party, PDP together and you are one of the few that were there with us when PDP was launched in the state capital, Asaba, I will throw my weight behind you.”
Senator Ighoyota Amori, the Chairman of the Delta State Capital Development Agency, added his opinion and voice on the meetings, he expressed his satisfaction with Hon Gbagi’s ambition for the 2023 governorship, concluding that indigenes of the State need the experience, competence and entrepreneurial skills of a person like him to build on the legacy of the present governor.
Many following the trend of Nigeria’s politics thought it was an early start towards 2023 but having someone like a top politician, experience national executive and looking from the top as one of the highest indigenous investor in the State, made the narrative more relevant as a major strategy hitting the road in this multi diverse state of ethnicity and only the brave ones can show such boldness.
In the words of Senator Amori, “it is a bold step, an early start and urging him never to give up as Deltans but keep the hope alive for a better future of all nationalities”. Amori added further, “A lot of people know of the personal relationship I have with Gbagi, he worked very hard and got rich very early and was also introduced to power and powerful people early in his life. He moved with military governors and I worked for military governors and men of power through him.”
Other potential for 2023 could be Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, a Nigerian businessman and politician. He was the gubernatorial aspirant for Alliance of Democracy in 2003, Democratic Peoples’ Party 2007, Labour Party in the 2015 and All Progressives Party in the 2019 Delta State governorship elections.
Hon. Olorugo Gbagi was a former Minister of Education, business executive, entrepreneur and has served in the country in various capacities including but not limited to being the former Chairman of the Nigeria Legal Aid Council and one of the highest employment provider in the state.