- Uduaghan, Wike, Ekweremadu, Secondus grace Anioma reception for Okowa
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, has said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has done so well in his current term in office and the people of the state are so solidly behind him that no political tsunami can be conjured up by any opposition party to shake him in his second term bid in 2019.
He stressed that the unity of the different ethnic groups in the state under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999 has remained a formidable force that would effectively neutralise any challenge to Okowaâ€™s second term ambition.
Ibori stated this while addressing a mammoth crowd during the grand solidarity reception for Governor Okowa organised by the people of Anioma ethnic nationality, comprising Delta North Senatorial District, in Asaba saturday.
National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; Deputy President of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu; Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike; Okowaâ€™s immediate predecessor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; and environmentalist, Chief Newton Jibunor, among others, also endorsed Okowa for second term at the occasion.
Former Chief Economic Adviser to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Philip Asiodu, was chairman at the event, which was also attended by former Deputy Governor of Delta State, Chief Benjamin Elue; the Ide of Ahaba, Chief Sunny Odogwu, ex-information minister, Prof Sam Oyovbaire, traditional rulers, religious leaders and president-generals of different ethnic nationalities across the state.
Ibori disclosed that he had resolved with his family and generality of the people of his hometown, Oghara, as well use his span of influence as a traditional chief in Urhobo-land whose mother hails from Itsekiri ethnic nation, to garner votes for Okowa in 2019.
He said for pockets of votes that would be expected from a few people in the democratic spirit, Okowa could be rest assured of total support of the voting people of Delta State in 2019, urging the people to begin preparing for the election in earnest as the governor was too busy with the demands of his office to have much time for electioneering.
Ibori mesmerised the thousands gathered at the Cenotaph Asaba, venue of the event, and charged every eligible voter in the state to obtain their permanent voterâ€™s card (PVC) in preparation for especially the 2019 general election in Nigeria.
The former governor, who also appealed to all politicians in Nigeria to impress it on themselves that â€œonly God can give power,â€ said since his own kith-and-kin in Anioma or Delta North have spoken with one voice to support Governor Okowa towards realising his dream, the other ethnic groups in the Central and South senatorial districts would queue behind the Anioma people.
â€œThe people of Anioma have spoken with one voice, they have told us that they are solidly behind you; so all the other people of the state, Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri will queue behind Anioma people to vote for you (Okowa) in 2019â€, Ibori said.
â€œTherefore, may God bless you and grant you wisdom to continue on the right path you have been following. As you lead us, we will follow. That is my prayer for youâ€, the former two-time governor said.
Uduaghan, who exalted the peopleâ€™s resolve for unity in similar fashion, lauded Okowa for doing very well especially in the area of road construction and rehabilitation across the state,
He noted that governing a vast and complex state like Delta was no mean task, noting that he came against stiff opposition when he commenced the construction of the Asaba Airport, saying the governor needs the peopleâ€™s support to succeed in his development efforts.
Nonetheless, an elated Okowa thanked the people of Anioma and Delta State in general for their massive support that brought him to power in 2015 and sued for the sustenance of the spirit of unity and peaceful coexistence, which has brought a lot of progress and development across the state under his watch.
According to Okowa, â€œIn 2015, Delta State did something that strengthened the unity of our people. Though we are diverse in ethnic grouping we believe that we are one people, in one Delta State. They realised that if the unity of Delta State must remain, they must speak with one voice, and they did that through their votes and I won in the total votes cast in all the ethnic nationalities.
â€œThat obviously sent a message that we are one people and we will continue to live in unity because in that unity, we will blossom; in that unity, we will succeed. We came (into office) at a time there were challenges but, because of the support of all, we were able to wade through the turbulent days. The dark days are over and we shall grow to greater heights.â€
While Governor Wike congratulated Okowa for the overwhelming support of his people and the indomitable strength of the PDP in Delta State that would give him victory again, the National Chairman of the PDP, Secondus, described the APC as a â€œsinking shipâ€, saying his party was poised to take over again.
â€œThe PDP is set to take over because the APC is a sinking ship. Our youths are not lazy at all; our youths are leaders of tomorrow, they are resourceful, they are intelligent. For the interest of this country, we sympathise with our people in states where people are being attacked and mindlessly killedâ€.
Meanwhile, the Anioma nation accepted Okowa as the sole governorship candidate from Delta North in 2019, following the unanimous adoption of a motion by Chief Jibunor.