By Ejiro Sam Akporode
Delta State is one of the states in the South-south that always sits on the keg of gun powder during any gubernatorial election. The state is strongly and significantly divided along the line of interest of senatorial districts regarding governorship elections.
The predominantly PDP state has since 1999 evolved an unwritten gentleman agreement of rotation of the governorship position among the three senatorial districts. The Central Senatorial District produced the first governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, in this current democratic dispensation.
After a tour of duty of eight-year, the power shifted to Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan from the South Senatorial District. The incumbent governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, whose tenure ends in 2023, is from the Delta North Senatorial district.
In line with the existing gentleman agreement, the governorship will naturally and conventionally shift to Delta Central in 2023. One or two persons of Delta South extraction have intrinsically expressed interest in taking a shot at the exalted office at the Government House, Asaba. Their interests and intentions have met with rebuff, reprimand, and refusal in the same senatorial district.
Though Deputy Governor Barrister Kingsley Otuaro and Senator James Manager, who is serving his eighth term as a senator, are rumoured to have discreetly expressed interest in contesting the governorship position in 2023 have not overtly expressed their interest or intention.
Political watchers and specialists in political and electoral permutations believe their contesting the position will undoubtedly amount to political heresy going by the existing zoning policy in the Delta State PDP family.
Political analysts thus postulate that the fight for nexus and jugular nerves of the government in 2021 will be gladiators from Delta Central. A good number of political juggernauts and political tyros have shown sufficiently good interest.
Prominent among them are former Minister for Education and world-class billionaire, lawyer and industrialist, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, former Commissioner for Finance in Delta State and the current Chief of Staff to the Government, Olorogun David Edevbie, current Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Peter Mrakpor.
Others are the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori and Commissioner for Works, James Augoye.
Political analysts and popular opinions polls tend to favour Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, who most people described as a self-made billion with business interest spanning manufacturing, oil and gas, construction, hotel and hospitality, law and security, among others.
The former minister and billionaire whose magnificent investments in different parts of Nigeria and beyond and owns a Rolls Royce sedan, and a private jet is regarded by most Deltans as the right candidate for the job.
Experts in political permutation argue that Gbagi as an astute and highly successful entrepreneur, will bring his dexterity in management and entrepreneurial insight and experience to govern the state. In the final analysis, Delta State and Deltans will be better for it.
Political analysts postulate that Gbagi has money to prosecute the election and that he will not be a stooge to anybody or subservient to political godfathers who may have the taste and inclination to acquire the public wealth rapaciously and illegitimately.
Political analysts also argue that one of the aspirants has been in government for a very long time and has some experience. However, the fear is that he has not stood on his own politically. He has always been the political son of some godfathers.
Many also argue that he does have the personal financial resources to prosecute the election. Consequently, some godfathers will want to invest in him with the hope of reaping the state dry if he is elected governor.
The same permutation applies to the other aspirants for the governorship position. Political analysts explain that many of the other aspirants lack the managerial shrewdness to handle the state.
Another argument is that they are riding on the backing of godfathers whose monstrous and venomous fangs are perilous to the general well being of the state.
The pendulum, therefore, naturally shifts to Olorogun Gbagi.
However, Gbagi, who was the first to commence open political consultations over a year ago, is not sailing on calm political water. The belief that he is much more likely to pick the PDP governorship flag has engendered serious pernicious propaganda against him.
Political analysts believe that there is sufficient evidence of a political gang up against him, something akin to the Biblical prostitutes who fought over the ownership of a child. The one who is not the child’s mother opted for the child to be divided among the two of them.
However, Solomon, in his divine sagacity, gave the child to the rightful owner. In this case, one or two persons who know they cannot get governorship ticket have resorted to blackmailing and mudslinging Gbagi.
Political watchers observe that despite the dangerous lies against Gbagi, he is sailing on successfully and that more Deltans are giving him massive support. The traditional rulers, Christian organisations, political leaders, opinion leaders, youths, women, professional bodies, okada riders, and people from different walks of life are firmly behind.
As the race to the Government House, Asaba in 2023 steams up, more intrigues will play up. And the gladiators will undoubtedly work together to maintain the status quo of Delta State as a PDP state.
***Ejiro Sam Akporode writes from Ughelli, Delta State.