Delta Guber Race: When did Clark and Okowa become democrats?


By Mike Uzunye Udugba
Since the recent meeting of some PDP governorship aspirants from Delta

state in the Abuja private residence of first republic Minister of

Information, Chief Edwin Clark, the issue has continued to generate debate

in the state. This is not unconnected to the communiqué issued by the

aspirants at the end of the meeting where they expressed their objection

to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan having any say in who succeeds him in 2015.

The aspect of the communiqué which the people of Delta found very

intriguing and nauseating is where they threatened fire and brimstone if

the speculated choice aspirant of Governor Uduaghan is allowed to pick the

PDP ticket. They insisted that the primaries must be 'democratic' and that

there should not be any opportunity for anyone to 'impose' a governorship

candidate. They even tried to subtly blackmail President Goodluck Jonathan

by threatening not to support him if the outgoing governor is allowed by

the PDP to 'anoint' a successor as they claimed that Delta is not the

patrimony of any family in the state.
The position of the aspirants, who are now known as the Association of 14

Abuja Governorship Aspirants, has already backfired as the people of the

state have kicked against their indiscretion into believing a politician

residing outside the state will determine who succeed Uduaghan and had to

take such a crucial meeting to Abuja. The angst of the people of Delta

state against the aspirants has resulted in some of the aspirants

disowning the communiqué and alleging that their signatures were forged by

the conveners of the meeting.
What most indigenes of Delta state found very nauseating is the frontline

role played Chief Edwin Clark and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the leader

of the Association of 14 Abuja Governorship Aspirants. Delta people are at

a loss on how Edwin Clark and Senator Okowa can today be asking for

“equity, open transparent primaries and non-imposition of candidate” when

it is common knowledge that these are attributes that follow them like

their shadow.
If anyone is a major beneficiary of imposition of candidate without open

primaries in Delta state it is Chief Clark and Senator Okowa. Perhaps Papa

Clark can be forgiven for pretending to be a democrat because of old age

and possibility of senile dysfunction setting in cannot be overruled. If

not for loss of memory how can Chief Clark forget so soon that his son,

who is the Chairman of Burutu local government, Ebikeme Clark, got into

office without primary election? Before the election the aging politician

had pleaded that he was robbed of the position four years ago and begged

that his son be given automatic ticket for his local government. This

request came at a time when PDP had more experienced and better qualified

aspirants than Ebikeme Clark in the race for the Burutu chairmanship. As a

respected leader of the party in the local government he was obliged and

his son found himself in office as chairman without going through the

rigours of open primary election. The elder statesman has also assisted

several others to ascend to elective offices without passing through

If Chief Clark can be forgiven for forgetting he is a major beneficiary of

a system that short circuits open primaries, the same privilege cannot be

extended to Senator Okowa. For more than a decade Okowa was the Lord of

the Manor in Ika Federal Constituency where he determines who gets what

elective position in the area without recourse to open primaries. It is

common knowledge that all the Councillors and Chairmen of Ika North Local

Government over the years are the anointed appointees of Okowa. Okowa

never allowed open primaries for members of PDP to elect who should fly

the party flag in the area. The incumbent Chairman of Ika North East local

government, Barrister Francis Ebonka, is similarly imposed on the party by

Senator Okowa without transparent primaries. Worst of all, he does not

give room for any dissenting voice and those that dare challenge his

authority to anoint PDP candidates in Ikaland pay dearly for the

effrontery. Okowa authoritarianism and undemocratic tendencies are

comparable to the suffocating influence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the

politics of Lagos state.
It is also common knowledge in Ika Federal Constituency that anytime the

PDP national secretariat stops Okowa from handpicking the PDP candidate he

resorts to anti-party activities and ensure his anointed candidate defects

to opposition party to contest against PDP candidates. Two examples will

suffice here. When wife of former National Chairman of the PDP, Dr (Mrs.)

Mariam Ali picked the PDP ticket some years back, Senator Okowa engineered

Senator Patrick Osakwe to defect to the Accord Party and ensured all his

(Okowa) cronies that he put into office as local government chairmen and

councillors worked against PDP candidate and that was how Mrs. Ali lost

the election.
Again in 2007 when the incumbent member representing Ika Federal

Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Victor Nwokola, whose

was sponsored by Senator Okowa lost the PDP ticket, Senator Okowa pushed

him into the Accord Party and openly did anti-party with his cronies to

ensure PDP candidate was schemed out. Yet he pretends to remain a loyal

member of PDP.
If Senator Okowa think in his wildest imagination that an outgoing

Governor will not have an input over who will likely succeed him them he

is in for a shocker. Even from Biblical times responsible leaders play a

role on who takes over from them. It is called grooming. For example

Prophet Elija groomed Prophet Elisha just as Joshua took his tutelage

under Moses before he became the leader of the Israelites. Back home here

former President Olusegun Obasanjo played key role in the emergence of

late President Umaru Yar'Adua; Bola Ahmed Tinubu picked Babatunde Fashola

to succeed him; Danjuma Goje endorsed the emergence of immediate past

Accountant General of the Federation, Ibrahim Dankwabo, as his successor

in Gombe state, just to mention a few.
One reason the people of Delta are happy about the speculation that

Governor Uduaghan is supporting Victor Obuh as his successor is that Obuh

is someone who has been thoroughly groomed in the act of governance. He

was a carrier civil servant that served the state in various capacities

for over 30 years (from Bendel to Delta). For almost 10 years he worked

closely with Uduaghan in various capacities and was Permanent Secretary in

Governor's office for about eight years. This makes him the administrative

head of the Governor Office and it is very difficult to convince anyone

that this position is not adequate to prepare anyone for governance. If

Uduaghan believes Sir Obuh is the one that can sustain the tempo of

development in the state, especially the Delta Beyond Oil initiative, then

so be it. The people of Delta who have been benefiting from these people

oriented programs will go along with the choice of Uduaghan no matter

whose ox is gored. Those that pretend to be latter day democrats in Abuja

cannot decide the fate of the people of Delta state in 2015 and beyond.

Mike Uzunye Udugba wrote in from Hospital Road, Idumu-Ilege, Umunede,

Delta state. Email: [email protected]
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