The Beginning of the End of PDP In Delta? What Is Okowa's Role?
The People’s Democratic Party was formed in the country in 1998 by a Group of 18 and later 34 Eminent Personalities which cut across different elite class, military, business, political, bureaucratic, the political association known as ‘the Institute of Civil Society’ was later registered as the Peoples Democratic Party by the Independent National Electoral Commission as a political party alongside the All Peoples Party (later renamed the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party) and Alliance for Democracy.
That was in December 1998 after the conduct of the Local Government election of that year.
Since its formal registration, the PDP has come a long way winning a majority of seats at all levels of governance (federal, state and local government) in four out of the five electoral cycles namely, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 before meeting its political waterloo during the 2015 General Elections it fell electorally to its arch-rival and political nemesis, the All Progressives Congress, at the Federal, which was formed in 2013 through the merger of A.D, A.C.N, C.P.C among others.
Because of the strings of electoral successes, one of the party’s Chairmen, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor boasted in 2008 that the party would rule the country for 60 years. Unfortunately, because of its proud nature, instead of 60 years, the party ruled for 16 years at the Federal level.
Some political analysts believed that PDP has never won any elections, they are always found of rigging into power; ought some the State may have genuinely won election while about 70 percent of PDP candidates rigged themselves into power.
This piece would focus on the activities of the party in Delta State, and Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa government as it relates to the management of the party via his foot soldiers that were smuggled into various positions, from the ward to local government and to State level in the last PDP congress.
The birth of PDP cannot be complete, without the mention of the likes of Chief James Ibori, Chief Ighoyota Amori, Ray Inije, Austine Rerri, Engr. Benjamin Elue, Patrick Sinebe among others. These were the crème de la crème of the party during its formation in the State.
I recalled with nostalgia that before now in Delta State, congresses were done peacefully, where all stakeholder interest is accommodated; that was the period where stakeholders from every local government were allowed to elect the candidate of their choice. That was also the period where the party is known as one formidable force through elections.
But what went wrong? How did the hitherto peaceful congress turn into dagger drawn? Where the stakeholders consulted?
Some of the answers to the above questions find expressions to the role played by the State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and his helmsmen.
Prior to the congresses, from ward to State level, aspirants go about the normal campaigns with the view of winning at the poll; instead of giving a level playing field to aspirants, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa decided to take the destiny of the party for granted, for his possible re-election come 2019.
He alleged to have imposing his loyalists as local government Chairmen of the party; Okowa was so desperate to the extent of smuggling Kingsley Esiso against all the popular aspirants who has the war chest to manage the party to victory.
It is believed that Esiso is from Okpara, Ethiope East local government and affiliated to Itsekeri maternally, But Esiso’s father lived all his life in Sapele, Esiso father’s remains was buried in Okpara, so there is no justification that Esiso is from Sapele.
This development does not go down well with some stakeholders of Sapele local government, because their slot was allegedly hijacked by Okowa and Micheal Diden (Ejele) faction, even the likes of Igbuya have to endure what they cannot cure.
If Okowa argued that Esiso’s slot is Ethiope East slot, then is he telling the PDP family that two slots was given to Ethiope East? Who is fooling who?
As a result of the impositions, smugglings and selections in the congress; cracks is now in the party, some aggrieved members has concluded plans to pitch tent with the opposition in the State living the party in shabby.
Instead of setting up a reconciliation committee, Esiso goes about fuelling the already burning fire, by making inciting statements, when some aggrieved members from Ughelli axis; led by Chief Christopher Omimi expressed their dissatisfactions on the outcome of the congresses on pages of newspaper.
As expected, Esiso suppose to used diplomacy in handling the issue; he boasted that, Omimi is not known in the party, and Okowa refused to call him to order, rather he kept mute. What kind of leadership style could Okowa portraying in the party?
It is patiently clear that the PDP is on its way to political Golgotha. However, like a Phoenix, it may yet survive if all the various interest groups pulling and pushing would sheathe their sword, reconcile and rebuild the party into a genuine and vibrant party which would serve as a surprise to the oppositions in the State. Okowa should put on his thinking cap, with a genuine intention to bringing all aggrieved party members on board.
He should be wary of sycophants who would not tell him the bitter truth, but resolved to gossip to him. He should try as much as possible to accommodate all interest groups.
It is no longer news that some stakeholders in the party has been fenced out of Okowa government, for Okowa to succeed and possibly secure his second term bid if at all, Okowa must play the politics inclusiveness.
Kparobo Ehvwubare, is a media consultant and ICT expert, wrote from Oghara,could be reach on 07067546856 or [email protected]