…Regrets not fielding Agas
…Group plans to administer voodoo oath on delegates.
By Umukoro Oghenekaro
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is said to have expressed regrets at not allowing his Chief of Staff, Festus Ovie Agas, to enter the PDP Governorship ticket race.
Sources at Government House, Asaba, informed that the Okowa was embarrassed by the discrepancies in the credentials of his preferred choice, Sheriff Oborevwori.
The source said Okowa disclosed this at a close caucus meeting convened on Saturday night to appraise the conduct of ward congresses and also review the issues surrounding Oborevwori’s credentials in order to plan against possible further challenges.
As was widely reported, Oborevwori was petitioned at the PDP Governorship Screening to explain how all of his educational certificates – from First School Leaving Certificate through his WAEC, BSC, NYSC and Masters Degree Certificates – all bore different names, an inconsistency which was likened to the case of Degi Eremienyo leading to the Supreme Court upturn of David Lyon’s APC victory in the Bayelsa State Governorship election.
Unable to satisfactorily defend the discrepancies, Okowa was said to have intervened with the Chairman of the Committee, Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and, by purportedly by Didi’s advise, new court documents were allegedly produced for Oborevwori on Friday morning to resubmit to the panel before he was issued a provisional clearance on Saturday morning.
We gathered that he was also advised to withdraw his BSC and Masters certificates to reduce the multiplicity of names and retain only his Primary School and WAEC Certificates both of which bear Oborevwori Francis, even though with the slight difference of an initial.
We also gathered that the caucus meeting further advised him to henceforth tender only his basic and secondary school results, since those are the minimum educational requirements provided by the constitution for holding political offices and in order not keep embarrassing the caucus.
It was however noted that there is the possibility of further challenge of his WAEC Certificate at the Appeals Committee or in the future by the opposition party if he possibly emerges from the PDP primaries.
Our sources revealed that though Okowa said he has no worries about pushing Oborevwori through the internal processes of the PDP, having allegedly dropped $2m to ensure all clearances, he expressed regrets that it was too late to substitute Oborevwori because he has no other alternative among the contestants on whom he can place absolute confidence to remain in his control.
According to our information, he particularly lamented that had he allowed Ovie Agas to purchase the Expression of Interest and Gubernatorial Nomination forms he would have easily dropped Oborevwori rather than having to suffer the embarrassment, pressure and huge cost he is now deploying to push him on.
It is recalled that in April Agas was rumoured to have resigned as Chief of Staff and was expected to pick the forms but after a flurry of reactions by some political actors the rumour faded.
Our source said when a member of the caucus suggested to Okowa to consider Peter Mrakpor, he purportedly said Mrakpor made a statement at some point that he would send him to jail. Our source said in view of the zoning of the Governorship to Delta Central, he cannot also consider substituting Oborevwori with his Deputy Governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro who is from Delta South.
On their appraisal of the ward primaries, the caucus is said to have expressed satisfaction with their ability to secure the affirmation of their selected ad-hoc delegates, except in a few places, and are assured of Governors influence over the party and INEC to ensure that the list is sustained for the primaries.
The meeting however expressed fears about the possibility of many of their listed delegates failing to vote for Oborevwori with the public disgust and wide suspicions of forgery of his documents and they allegedly resolved that leaders in their group shall camp delegates from their respective constituencies seperately and make them swear to a voodoo oath to vote as they are directed.
The meeting was said to have reasoned that even if the oath would be fake, it would be enough to scare majority of the delegates.