The former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, has allegedly relocated from his Oghara home town to Asaba, the state capital, to lobby in the controversy surrounding the choice of his preferred candidate to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in 2023. Ibori, who was said to have travelled to the creeks in continuation of the lobby to negotiate with ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, has been uncomfortable since Governor Okowa’s outburst on the zoning arrangement.
Ibori is believed to be the brains behind the ‘DC-23’, an acronym for Delta Central for 2023, was said to have prevailed on the financiers to narrow the 10 aspirants down on his preferred candidate. His choice, Olorogun David Edevbie, from Delta Central, who incurred enmity in Delta South Senatorial District for contesting the governorship position against the zoning arrangement in 2015 to scuttle the chance of Delta North, is getting it hot with aspirants from all the zones. But Ibori, whom he served in his cabinet as Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning and who also recommended him as a kitchen cabinet member in President Musa Yar’Adua’s administration, wants Okowa to accept him at all cost.
For fear of the unknown and speculations that the governor may shift power to the South to favour Sen. James Manager or his deputy, Chief Kingsley Otuaro, to start a fresh cycle of political zoning, Ibori had been disturbed and running helter-skelter to secure his hegemony over the state. He (Ibori) allegedly met with one of his support groups in Asaba yesterday where he urged them to sustain the tempo while he engages major stakeholders in the politics of the state. This came two weeks after the powers brokers, including him, Governor Okowa, his predecessor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, the former state chairman of the party, Chief Edwin Uzor, member representing Aniocha/Oshimili and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Chief Ndudi Elumelu and 15 others engaged in a deadlocked meeting over the issue.