Delta State 2023 is becoming a classical story of what could be and should be but one that the founding fathers and players in the democratic process seems to have the final words on.
Like it has been at the national level where parties are seeking to make sure their internal process of finding a winnable candidate emerges, so it is in this oil rich state in the South-South of Nigeria.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is completing his second term in office and so far has been quiet about whom he wants to support in public while the words on the street highlights whom he is more conversant with.
Barrister Hon. Kenneth Gbagi, a former Minister of State for Education and frontline PDP governorship aspirant in the state intimated stakeholders and party loyalists under the platform of Gbagi Solidarity Movement (GSM) in Oginibo, Ughelli South Local Government Area, of the state that Chief James Ibori, a former Executive Governor of the state, has given his blessing to his aspiration come 2023 to succeed the incumbent governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
Chief James Ibori is a respected leader in the region and still holds strong the political direction of the party. He is highly revered and not ignored at state or national level of the party. His views and opinions are considered highly on election and political leadership. He was governor between 1999 and 2007.
The gathering and words from the former Minister are in response to other views that Chief Ibori may have supported another aspirant in the person of David Edevbie, the former Commissioner of Finance and immediate past Chief of Staff to Gov. Okowa.
“I visited the former governor, two of us had a discussion and he said, ‘Olorogun Gbagi, I came back to the country and everywhere I go in the state, I hear Gbagi. I do not know anybody who can be governor in the state and turn the situation around positively other than yourself, Gbagi.”
“After those good things he had told me, I said to Chief James Ibori, look at all these good things that you have told me, tell it to Governor Okowa and he said to me, take my word for it, I will tell the governor that you are the governor or nothing else. Chief James Ibori will not deny himself; I say it the way it is.
“And when I met Chief Ibori recently in Abuja, he said to me that many people think we are enemies but they don’t understand,” Gbagi narrated in his chat.
Speaking further Hon. Gbagi said that the Urhobo nation should support the Governor and leader of the party in the state to direct and guide the party towards victory in the coming 2023 elections.
“If former governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori picked his senior brother and made him the governor of Delta State, Urhobo, I plead with you to allow Senator Okowa listen to the counsel of God and take decision on his successor as well.
“If a governor can produce his own blood brother to take over from him, I see nothing wrong in letting God instruct Governor Okowa, who has put the Almighty first in everything he does in the state.
“No one can stop what a governor who is determined to do the best for his state will do. Let the best candidate present himself, we will not shortfall in telling Deltans the truth. Okowa will handover to a governor from Urhobo come 2023.
“Those who are questionable will not go for Urhobo. If you have anything against Gbagi, say it out today. Gentlemen, I believe Okowa, will hand it over to me,” he added.
2023 is not going to be a walkover as other aspirants are juggling to be recognised not just in the party but from other opposition parties in the state.
One thing that is sure, is that Hon. Kenneth Gbagi has been in the front and meeting various stakeholders across the state and delivering supports to communities throughout the state on empowerment and job creations. One main strength he has as the biggest investor based on business capacity in the state.
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