HOW OKOWA EMERGED DELTA NORTH SENATORIAL CANDIDATE
An Igbo adage has it that when one man cooks for the community, all that he managed to cook would be eaten up but when the community cooks for one man, finishing the meal prepared by the community would become a very big problem.
One of the implications of this is that the will of the people would always triumph over that of one man or just a few individuals . Such was the case in the Delta North Senatorial primaries held first on January 10th when former Secretary to the Delta State government , Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa defeated those ' already chosen' to represent Delta North at the Senate.
A lot of intrigues were on to ensure that the ' chosen ones' were chosen. The effort resulted in cancelling the first primaries for another one to hold . On the date rescheduled , every thing ended in fiasco and not even the leadership of the party from the State or national levels came to the Cenotaph for the rerun. The people were angry . .
Reacting to the situation , Dr. Arthur Okowa , a key contender and former Secretary to the State government told Daily Sun, 'it is well, we hear the repeat primaries for Delta North has been moved to tomorrow. The people of Anioma are prepared to defend their power to elect freely those who should represent them. The will of the people shall prevail.'
On the said date, as early as 9.00 am many party delegates and supporters from various parts of Delta North and especially the affected zone, arrived the Cenotaph located off Okpanam Road, Asaba , venue of the event for accreditation of members .
When Daily Sun visited the venue of the exercise, there were just party members from the localities waiting and waiting and and uptill the time of filing this report, there was no sign of any party leader to come and conduct any re-run primaries.
While , there was no official statement from the party office in the State , feelers have it that the party leadership may have recoiled into its shell following the order from the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) restraining the party from conducting any re-run primaries since after the expiration of the January 15th deadline.
The rerun primary election for the post of Senatorial candidate for Delta North on the platform of the PDP was to have been conducted between Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr. (Mrs)Marian Amaka Ali , Dr. Cairo Ojougbo ,Prince Ned Nwoko to select the person who would fly held January 10th Given the trouble associated with the whole saga, Dr. Okowa had in what some observers see as an outburst driven into the cenotaph , and seeing the array of supporters waiting there for him, their principal, questioned why the State PDP led by Mr. Peter Nwaoboshi was interested in manipulating the system when he had won landslide during the initial primaries held January 10th.
Indeed, Okowa had polled 942 votes, Cairo Ojougbo 286 votes, Ned Nwoko 78 votes, Mrs. Marian Ali 18 votes and Nduka Naronye two votes
Daily Sun gathered that there have been series of intrigues within the party since the primary election on January 10th. This, Daily Sun gathered, is based on the allegation that the party leadership wants to impose Mrs. Ali as Senator to represent Delta North following what observers see as ' an agreement between her and the party leadership as a way of compensating her for using her Abuja connections to ensure a second term bid for the State governor , Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan
Addressing party faithful at the cenotaph, Dr. Okowa a foundation member of the PDP urged President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the whole affair and help defend the principles of free and fair play .
Dr. Okowa , had also following the situation of things noted that the PDP may loose the zone for another political party in the State if the wishes of the people is not respected , stressing that no man should mortgage the vision of Delta Northerners .
On the day the will of the people prevailed over the whims and caprices of some individuals, Okowa won again, defeating even the preferred candidate, Dr.(Mrs).Marian Nneamaka Ali. It was not an easy thing as on that fateful day, Chairman of the PDP in the Delta State , Chief Peter Nwaoboshi escaped being lynched by the whiskers as some angry delegates wanted to skin him alive alleging that he was part of the cause of the intrigues in the whole saga.
This is even as a policeman and a journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria, sustained minor injuries before the police doused the tension with sporadic shootings.
While all these lasted, , the wish of the people prevailed in the re-run election as former SSG, Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, polled 1,446 to beat his closest rival, Dr. (Mrs). Marian Ali who scored 108.
Nwaoboshi, it was alleged, had for the past weeks or more before the rerun allegedly been scheming to impose the wife of the former National chairman of the party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, Mariam Nneamaka. The delegates bounced on him for wanting to impose a favoured aspirant.
A little before the rerun commenced, three other aspirants in the race, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Chief Paschal Adigwe and Chief Ndoka Nwoye withdrew their contest, leaving the battle for Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who resigned late last year to contest the seat and Dr.(Mrs.) Nneamaka Mariam Ali.
Trouble started shortly after the six man panel from the National headquarters of the PDP, chaired by Dr. Benedict Tawo, gave 10 minutes of grace to missing aspirants to come, after which the election would commence.
The development angered Nwaoboshi who had gathered hundreds of supporters at the party secretariat, located along Maryam Babangida Way, off Okpanam road, Asaba, accrediting them and journalists for the exercise, mobilized thugs to the Cenotaph, venue of the exercise to fight.
While Nwaoboshi was lambasting the panel members and brandishing his state might, the delegates lost patience and let loose the gates of hell.
Before participants could scamper for safety, sachets of pure water, stones and plastic chairs have started flying the skies as the delegates booed and called for Nwaoboshi's resignation for attempting to put the election in the wrong perspective.
The exercise which was billed to commence by 10 a.m could not commence until about 1 p.m
Before the exercise commenced also, three of the aspirants, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Senate Matters, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, a former House of Representatives member, Chief Paschal Adigwe, and Chief Nduka Nwoye, a fresh contestant, announced their withdrawal from the race.
With this the exercise started and finally Dr. Okowa won landslide.
At last, Mrs. Ali who had barged into the venue with her retinue of security men and few supporters, blasted and repeatedly hurled unprintable words on the panel members, accusing them of forcing a doctored list of delegates on the people.
She said, 'I have respected you enough. The election cannot hold. Justice must be done. Do you realize that I am of the BOT? or is it because I am a woman? You people cannot impose a doctored list on Delta North.Whether, it was a doctored list or not , Daily Sun gathered from some sources that the candidatehas been married a long time ago and should therefore go to her husband's home to contest election and should not in any way take the place of her people. Rather , that she should endeavour to bring more goodies to her people.