The crisis rocking the Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is unsettling the national leadership of the party, given the strategic place of the oil-rich State in the nation’s economy.
To lose Delta to the All Progressives, APC , is a hard thing fir the party leadership at the centre to contemplate or think about.
The crux of the matter has to do with the zone that should produce the next governor.
This has come amid rumours doing the rounds that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his predecessor in office, James Ibori favour different candidates.
This development has reportedly shaken the party to its very foundations, threatening to undo a PDP dominance that has subsisted since 1999.
To thaw the ice, the national leadership of the party has decided to expeditiously intervene for peace to prevail and for much-needed unity to return to the party.
A report by TrackNews said that the National Chairman of PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and some governors elected on the platform of the PDP were scheduled to visit the State on Friday over the prevailing crisis.
It quoted reliable sources to have said that the move was to reconcile former Governor Ibori and incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa whose choices of gubernatorial candidates had plunged the PDP in Delta into a crisis situation.
According to the report, “There is also the fear that Governor Okowa may not respect the zoning arrangement in the state as he is also rumoured to be favourably disposed to honouring an agreement he is said to have with militant kingpin, Government Ekpemukpolo, aka Tompolo, that the Ijaw ethnic group will be allowed to present the candidate of the party to succeed him in 2023.
“The fear among some party members, especially those of Urhobo (extraction) who constitute Delta Central, is that Okowa is trying to play Urhobo candidates against one another, thereby weakening them in a bid for an Ijaw candidate to emerge.”
The report continued: “There has been a silent but palpable war between the Ibori political family, which Governor Okowa used to belong, and new groups budding around Okowa, which is threatening the unity of the ruling party in the state.
“The fight is over which group should produce the candidate of the PDP going into the primary election of the party, and preparatory to the 2023 general elections
While Chief Ibori had reportedly made his choice in the person of Olorogun David Edevbie known, Governor Okowa had been reported to be supporting the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori or in the event of a likely change of strategy, an aspirant endorsed by Tompolo.
The governor’s position is despite public statements to the contrary (that he was not supporting the mentioned aspirant)
Regardless, the choice of the Governor has pitched him against his former boss, who prefers Edevbie, who has also been endorsed by the apex sociocultural organisation of the Urhobo nation, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU).
The endorsement of Edevbie by the UPU has also torn the apex Urhobo sociocultural organisation apart as members of the Union on different sides of the divide have not taken the endorsement kindly.
Following the endorsement, National Legal Adviser of UPU, Chief Isaacs Itebu, who himself is a strong promoter of Oborevwori, moved to rebuke the President General of the Union, Olorogun Moses Taiga.
The expectation of many Deltans was that the governorship should rotate to Delta Central Senatorial District.
There have also been calls that it should be micro-zoned to the Okpe, Sapele, Uvwie Federal Constituency that had never produced a governor or deputy governor in the state.
According to TrackNews, “Some see this as the reason the immediate past Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, who was until recently a favoured guber aspirant, was prevailed upon to drop his ambition and instead embrace a position in the State House of Assembly.”
The report said that after observing the situation in the party, some leaders of the party in the state, in a move to avoid the party losing the State to the All Progressives Congress (APC), invited the national leadership of the party to intervene in the matter.
“We cannot deny anymore and continue to deceive ourselves that there is no problem in our party. There is a big problem in the PDP of Delta State, of which, if not addressed meticulously ahead of the primaries, our party would be left in shreds for the opposition to take over,” a leader said. (TrackNew report as edited)