Delta State Politics: Okowa vs Nwaoboshi – By Frank Ofili22 views
I am watching with the corner of one eye, political developments in my dear state of Delta. For all intents and purposes, PDP Delta State is cannibalizing itself and an internal implosion is imminent.
The kasala – a local lingo – is really between the Governor, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa and the Senator representing Delta North senatorial zone, the self-proclaimed oracle of Delta State politics, the mercurial Senator Peter Nwaoboshi. Of late, supporters and foot soldiers of Nwaoboshi have been moving in droves to the opposition APC. Judging from recent developments, the Senator may be on his way out of PDP, and there is no doubting his destination – the APC. The senator has been suspended for one month by PDP Delta State working committee for alleged anti-party activities.
Recently, the senator lambasted Okowa for scheming to torpedo the gentleman agreement of the party on rotation of the governorship seat among the three zones of Delta North, Delta Central and Delta South – an arrangement derisively tagged by a cross section of political watchers and commentators in the state as “turn-by-turn osusu” arrangement.
All three senatorial zones have had their 8-year time at Government House Asaba starting with James Ibori from Delta Central. Ibori was succeeded by his maternal cousin Emmanuel Uduaghan, from Delta South. Okowa is currently serving for Delta North. By this arrangement, 2023 would be another turn of Delta Central to produce the governor of the state.
It is this arrangement Nwaoboshi is accusing Okowa of surreptitiously trying to upturn by scheming to deny Delta Central the chance to produce his successor. Okowa’s camp has denied it, but indications abound that the governor is up to something, including a possible relocation of the political Mecca of Delta State from Oghara (Ibori’s hometown) to Owa Alero (his own hometown).
Okowa, Uduaghan and Nawoboshi are political offshoots of Ibori’s political dynasty.
If Nwaoboshi leaves PDP, it will be APC’s gain. And Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege would undoubtedly take the credit. Nwaoboshi and Omo-Agege have struck up an unusual political chemistry, such that Nwaoboshi, an opposition PDP senator, was allowed to retain his powerful position of chairman of Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.
Omo-Agege, from Delta central, is known to have his eyes on Okowa’s seat in 2023. So by his calculation, a political dalliance with Nwaoboshi would be an ingenious political chase move that would serve two purposes – decimate PDP Delta State, as well as guarantee Delta North block vote. It will also, indirectly, introduce the “turn-by-turn osusu arrangement” in APC Delta State. But this would depend on what Omo-Agege and APC are offering Nwaoboshi.
One thing we know for sure is that the Oracle is a shrewd political tactician, even though a shade selfish. And he takes no prisoners too! Already – and much to the disappointment of his traducers – he has been cleared, by a federal high court sitting in Lagos, of corruption and money laundering charges levelled against him by the APC government.
As events unfold in the days and weeks ahead, it will be interesting to see between Okowa and Nwaoboshi (possibly supported by federal might) who outsmarts the other. While Nwaoboshi, as PDP chairman back in the day, may have articulated and propagated power shift that eventuated Okowa’s emergence as governor of the state, the governor is himself not exactly a political neophyte. He packs some punch.
Interesting times ahead. I have taken a front row seat with a bowl of popcorn.