Governor Ifeanyi Okowa (Ekwueme), has finally cleared the air on how his successor will emerge in 2023. In case you missed it, the great Ekwueme himself gave the clarification, during the mega rally held at the cenotaph to welcome the avalanche of top members and chieftains of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, on Saturday, January 22nd, 2022,
This is an excerpt of what Governor Okowa said: “We are one family in PDP; we cannot fight and we will never fight; at the appropriate time, it will be well with us. But, one thing I have always promised and I still promise today is that there will always be free and fair primaries; so, there is no room to fight.
“There is no room to quarrel, let us work together as one family that we are and ensure that PDP stays continuously as a family.”
There you have it, from the Governor’s mouth himself, clearing the air on how the next Governorship candidate and indeed all the candidates for the other National and State Assemblies positions, will emerge from their respective primaries, in the PDP.
Of course, the Movement for Stronger Delta, MSD, is quite confident and there’s no doubt whatsoever, that anyone who picks the ticket to contest as a PDP Candidate in any election in the State, is as good as winning that election, for the simple reason that the PDP is and has always been the most loved, the most united, the most organized and obviously the best-prepared party for any election in the State.
Just as Governor Okowa himself declared at the rally: “We are advising those who want to run in other political parties not to waste their time and money because there is no space for them in Delta. We work as a family with the love of God, but in the other parties, they are always fighting themselves,” the governor said.
Amazingly, since the Governor cleared the air on how his successor will emerge in the PDP and subsequently as the next Governor of Delta State, by the Grace of God, all those naysayers, negative propagandists, rumour mongers, ethnic jingoists and all those trying to use devious methods to blackmail the governor to announce their names, and who had earlier gone to town to spread all manner of tales and fables about Okowa fighting some people and supporting other people, have suddenly become very mute and quiet.
Now that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has laid to rest, the wild speculations and allegations on how his successor will emerge, “their eyes don clear” and they have now withdrawn into their empty shells, apparently shocked by the clarity, transparency, and simplicity of the process which, funny enough, has been the one and the most recognized way such matters have been decided in the PDP, right from time.
The point to be made now is the fact that whether President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Electoral Bill or not, the existing status quo, which gives political parties the option of using either the direct or indirect method to conduct their primaries, has been maintained and retained.
Even in the event of consensus, which is the third stipulated method, it still behooves a responsible political party to conduct a transparent primaries, where the consensus candidate will be endorsed either by the votes of the accredited delegates or by the entire membership of the party.
Deltans will recall that Governor Okowa was the only member of the PDP who picked the gubernatorial form in the PDP, for the 2019 Guber primaries and was successfully screened in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to participate in the primary election.
The primary was properly conducted and Mrs. Uzo Nwandu, Chairman of the PDP Delta State gubernatorial primary elections, declared Governor Okowa winner with a score of 3, 252 votes, in a poll that had 3, 278 accredited delegates from different local government areas of the State and 26 invalid votes.
Before him also, Chief James Ibori emerged from well conducted guber primaries for the 1999 and 2003 elections; Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan went through rigorous, keenly contested primaries especially the one in 2007 and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa himself, after the 2007 primaries also faced a robust and fiercely fought primary election, which was even televised live, in his 2011 Senatorial bid. So, free, fair and transparent primaries, which everyone can see, have always been the way for the PDP.
It is on record however that most political parties have always adopted the indirect method for their primaries which, by its very nature, is a delegates election and it will therefore not be out of place to advise all those aspiring to become Governor of Delta State in 2023, to start preparing themselves for any of the methods which the PDP would eventually adopt for its primaries.
History has shown that the delegates election is quite interesting and exciting because anybody who is not even a politician or an elected or appointed political office holder, but who is well prepared and has done his/her homework properly, also has a very fantastic chance of carrying the day at the polls.
In the 2015 PDP primaries, for instance, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who was then a Senator and the Senate Committee Chairman on Health, had scored 406 votes to come out tops and Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, who was then the ex-Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, had polled 185 to come out third.
But, Mr. David Edevbie, whose only remarkable political credential is arguably his appointment as a Commissioner in the Delta State Exco, “miraculously” polled a whooping 299 votes, apparently enjoying the support of some powerful interests, to come out second and defeat some very core and notable politicians, amongst the 18 aspirants that contested the primary election. In the end, the process was adjudged to be free, fair, and very transparent.
Indeed, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s leadership and guidance of the PDP, since he assumed Office as Delta Governor, has been hallmarked by his unflinching insistence and commitment to ensure that the people, especially at the grassroots, must be allowed to determine who will be their representatives at all levels, because power belongs to the people.
He has instilled this excellent philosophy in the elective processes of the PDP, thus making the party one big, happy family and the result is that virtually all the candidates who have emerged as PDP Flagbearers, have gone on to enjoy landslide victories in all the elections conducted under his watch, because of the overwhelming support they have enjoyed from the entire membership of the party in their various Zones and Constituencies.
The former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, was to sum up Governor Okowa’s leadership of the party, during the Asaba mega rally, with these choice words: “I thank you [Okowa] for the job you are doing in Delta State and at the national level for the benefit of Nigerians. I most especially thank you for what I am seeing here today because you have done very well in Delta State and I cannot be more proud that you are our Governor today.
“You are leading us very well and it is our duty, and we are all committed to saying that you will finish very strong and at the end of the day we will all gather to thank God for you. From what I can see here you have provided an atmosphere for a free and fair contest and you have provided an atmosphere for people’s aspirations to be heard without intimidation whatsoever.
“Of a truth, this was the philosophy behind the formation of this great party when I said in 1998 that democracy is about opening up the space and environment for everybody to aspire to whatever he or she believes in and I thank you for continuing with that vision. I want to thank you on behalf of the teeming members of our party and pray that God will continue to guide you as you lead us in the years ahead,’’ Ibori said.
And so, now that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has cleared the air on how his successor will emerge, the onus rests on all serious, honest, capable and responsible aspirants, to start preparing for the primaries to come, no matter the method the party will adopt.
The PDP and Governor Okowa (Ekwueme) will always provide a free and fair atmosphere for its primaries and for any member of the party to pursue and fulfill their ambitions, so that the best man/woman will emerge and consolidate on the visionary mandate of building a #StrongerDelta for Deltans in 2023.
That, as we have always declared, is the SIMPLE Agenda.
MOVEMENT FOR STRONGER DELTA (MSD)