Delta 2015: Obuh's Governorship Bid Suffers Major Setback
… As President Jonathan Receives Names Of 3 Shortlisted Aspirants From Delta North
BEVERLY HILLS, October 09, (THEWILL) – Preparations for the 2015 governorship election in Delta State are getting hotter by the day just as the search for a successor to the incumbent, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, is becoming more interesting.
On Wednesday, the ambition of Mr. Anthony Obuh to step into the highly coveted office come 2015 was given a devastating blow as a delegation of leaders of the Delta North Senatorial zone led by the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Professor) Joseph Chike Edozien, at the invitation of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, submitted the names of three governorship aspirants from the zone, leaving out Obuh, who is widely believed to be the preferred candidate of Governor Uduaghan as his successor.
THEWILL can authoritatively report that the three aspirants who emerged after a lengthy screening exercise by a committee inaugurated by the leaders are serving Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, erstwhile Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honourable Victor Ochei and serving member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ndudi Elumelu.
Impeccable sources told THEWILL that the leaders from the zone had met with President Jonathan inside the Presidential Villa in Abuja a few months back to make a case for the Delta North Senatorial zone to produce the governor of the state in 2015, being the only zone in the state that is yet to govern the state.
THEWILL further gathered that President Jonathan had expressed support for their cause and urged them to narrow the number of governorship aspirants under the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the zone to three and revert back to him.
THEWILL also gathered that Governor Uduaghan and former Governor, Chief James Ibori, were privy to the mission of the leaders and supported the move to narrow the number of aspirants to three from over a dozen aspirants.
However, on the eve of the departure of the delegation to Abuja, THEWILL authoritatively learnt that Governor Uduaghan paid an unscheduled visit to the palace of the Asagba and sought to know those who eventually made the list.
Sources said when he was told, the governor initially tried to muscle the group, demanding that two of the shortlisted aspirants be dropped for Obuh and Mr. Charles Emetulu, his Commissioner for Energy. But he was told that the exercise that produced the three shortlisted aspirants was credible and would be unthinkable to swap any of the aspirants for the two names he wanted.
According to our source, when Uduaghan realised that the group wasn't going to give in to his Gestapo tactics, he pleaded with them to at least swap one of the aspirants for Obuh, which, our source said, was vehemently opposed by the leaders. The governor thereafter left the palace.
The Asagba told State House Correspondents after Wednesday's meeting with President Jonathan that the agitation for an Anioma person to be elected governor of Delta State was one of the reasons for their visit.
“The issue of an Anioma person becoming the governor was one of the issues we discussed and I hope an Anioma son or daughter will be elected governor of Delta State.
“We have many worthy sons and many people in our area that if elected will be good governors.'
THEWILL recalls that Uduaghan's adoption of Obuh, a relatively unknown personality in the political terrain and until recently a bureaucrat in the state's civil service, has pitched him against the political class and elite in the state.
Several political appointees in the Uduaghan administration have alleged that the governor was coercing and threatening them with sanctions if they do not support the Obuh project. 'Our governor is very frustrated with the push back from the political class and this resulted in his unwarranted outburst during his speech at the Independence Day parade in Asaba,' one appointee told this newspaper.
Some news reports also alleged that Obuh's adoption by Uduaghan was part of the grand plot hatched by Ibori to covertly install the incumbent's successor in 2015.
'The crux of the plan, which sources say would easily fit into a blockbuster movie, is to hoodwink an unsuspecting President Jonathan, the national executive committee (NEC) of the ruling PDP and the political class in Delta into believing that relations between the two have turned frosty and estranged on issues relating to governance in the state and politics, especially over who emerges the candidate of the PDP for the 2015 governorship election.
'Clearly, both men fear that President Jonathan would likely shoot down any attempt by Ibori to install Uduaghan's successor hence the plot to create the impression that Uduaghan is acting alone as the plot is executed,' The Citizen, an online news website, wrote, quoting an impeccable source with knowledge of the plot.
The website said funds for the Obuh campaign are being provided by Mr. Dere Otubu, a businessman with multi-billion naira deals with the state government.
'We don't want the sad experience of Anambra in Delta where Chris Ngige, a then political neophyte, was installed Governor by businessman, Chris Ubah, who wanted Ngige to make monthly returns in billions. We all know how that chaotic experiment ended. Anambra is yet to recover from it till today. We reject that kind of arrangement for Delta State,' another source told the medium.