Tension had enveloped the camps of governorship aspirants in Delta State, following the recommendation by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) to prune the number of persons from Delta Central that are jostling to succeed him in 2023.
Already, persons, who want to enrich their curriculum vitae (CV), act as spoilers or gain cheap popularity have positioned themselves for the race from the zone.
Besides the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ovie Omo-Agege and the 2019 governorship candidate of his party, Chief Great Ogboru, who are of the All Progressives Congress (APC) extraction, over 10 persons, including Chief James Aguoye, the former Commissioner for Works under Governor Okowa, his counterpart in Finance and the immediate past Chief of Staff, Olorogun David Edevbie, the former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Mr Peter Mrakpor and the former Minister of State for Education, Kenneth Gbagi, have indicated interest from the Urhobo ethnic group alone; have indicated interest in the position.
Two frontline aspirants were said to have started shuttling the homes of some elders, including former Governor James Ibori and the Chairman of the Delta State elders’ forum, Prof. Sam Oyonbaire, to seek favour.
The tension assumed a new twist as the foremost Ijaw leader and First Republican Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, said only an aspirant with good character, integrity, honesty and respect in politics, would be entrusted with the position in 2023.
This came as the political pressure group, DC-23, an acronym for Delta Central for 2023, headed by Chief Ighoyota Amori, that has been rooting for an Urhobo governor on the PDP platform, had upheld a screening exercise to reduce the aspirants.
Governor Okowa, who spoke during the 90th anniversary of the UPU urged the President-General, Chief Moses Tiaga to prune the aspirants and warned against pull-him-down consultations and campaigns of calumny.
He said: “When there are too many sons and daughters in a race, it creates its own challenge. The elders understood this. There is a need to trim down and I believe that the time is now.”
He said for aspirants’ front engage in war of words
“I don’t believe that we must fight everything through. Sometimes a kind word or a conversation can help you to get to where you want to be,” he said.
He commended the union for the prevailing peace in the Urhobo ethic nationality and urged the people of the zone to remain united.
UPU is Nigeria’s oldest surviving socio-cultural organisation at 90, which represents a decade short of a century.