Showdown Looms In Okowa, Ibori Political Camps As Governor Edges Out Ibori’s Men
BEVERLY HILLS, February 25, (THEWILL) – Barely nine months after coming to power, all appears not to be well between the political camp of current Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and that of his mentor, former Governor James Ibori.
THEWILL can authoritatively report that Chief Ighoyota Amori, an unapologetic apostle of the former governor, whose sojourn to the senate was cut short by a Court of Appeal ruling in Benin, has complained to Ibori and some very close associates that Okowa was responsible for his exit from the red chamber.
Two often very reliable sources confirmed the development to THEWILL, saying the ousted senator believes he is the first casualty in Okowa's bid to clip the wings of Ibori's henchmen in his government.
Since Okowa assumed office as Governor after riding on Ibori's support and that of former Niger-Delta militant commander, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) to clinch the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) ticket in the state, elements in his camp led by his principal secretary, Mr. Hillary Ibegbulem have been trying to frustrate Ibori's appointees out of the state government.
But despite Amori's denial in a text message to THEWILL correspondent that he accused Okowa of complicity in his ouster at the Senate, one source close to him said though the politician had openly expressed gratitude to Okowa for his support, inwardly he is very embittered over the discovery that the governor aided his exit.
“Very far from the truth. I have thanked Okowa immensely for his support for me all through. Ibori is Okowa no 1 OGA”, Amori wrote in his reply.
The source however added that Ibori's bid to have Amori become state chairman of the PDP as compensation is being covertly resisted by elements in Okowa's camp for obvious reasons.
“I can tell you that handing over the party to Amori would amount to committing political suicide and Okowa knows that it is a big risk to do so and that’s why they (Okowa's men) are doing everything possible so that it doesn’t work out. They don’t want Amori but they are pretending about it so it would not be seen as fighting Ibori,” the source said.
Pointing to the crack, another often reliable Delta Government House source revealed that though Okowa has been obsequiously following Ibori’s orders in the governance of the state, particularly in the appointment of his commissioners and other political aides made so far the development has raised concern for his close associates.
The source cited recent events in the state particularly the plot by Okowa's men to remove the Managing Director of the Delta state Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Olorogun Williams Makinde, who was foisted surreptitiously on the governor by Ibori as evidence of the infighting in the camps.
Also, the once powerful and influential office of the Commissioner of Finance has been stripped of its powers. According to our sources, another Ibori appointee, Mr. David Edevbie, who serves as Finance Commissioner has been sidelined from the approval process for payments. The Governor, his kinsmen: Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mr. Kingsley Emu and Accountant General, Mr. Cyril Agbele are now in charge of approvals and payments.
THEWILL understands that Mr. Edevbie, who is amongst dozens of Ibori's appointees in Okowa's government, had threatened to resign following his frustrations with the development but the former governor had urged him to hang on.
It was further gathered by this newspaper that Okowa has deliberately reduced all Ibori's men in his government to mere figureheads, as they are not finding it easy surviving financially in their respective officers.
“The only person who is funded by the government is the DESOPADEC MD and you are aware how the Okowa people have been harassing the man all in a bid to remove him and have an Okowa man in there. They are being smart about it so that it wouldn't result in a big brawl between Okowa and Ibori. You can see how they are destroying the man's reputation with series of allegations of financial impropriety so that he would be sacked,” one source said.