Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Barely five days to the gubernatorial election, former governor James Ibori-backed Delta Unity Group (DUG) has formally thrown its weight behind the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
The group, which parades itself as comprising the real “intellectuals” within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, is also sympathetic to the governorship aspiration of the runner-up in the May 25, 2022 primary election of the PDP, David Edevbie.
It made public its decision in a statement yesterday.
The statement was signed by hitherto eminent members and chieftains of the PDP in the state since 1999, including four former speakers of the Delta State House of Assembly.
The statement attributed the decision of the group to what it termed, “the obstinacy of the leadership of the party in the state.”
It was signed by Chairman, Board of Trustees of DUG, Prof. Patrick Muoboghare; immediate past secretary to the state (SSG), Chiedu Ebie; co-convener and Chief Itiako Ikpokpo, co-convener of DUG.
The DUG statement was issued as disciples of the state governor and the party’s presidential running mate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, were frantically begging Deltans to vote the PDP candidate and Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Sheriff Oborevwori especially after the dismal performance of the state PDP at the 25th February presidential and National Assembly elections.
The group accused the state leadership of the party, chaired by Kingsley Esiso, of not sincerely embracing the conciliatory efforts of some party leaders, including former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, especially after the legal tussle instituted by Edevbie ended at the Supreme Court.
The DUG noted that the APC candidate was more willing to collaborate with the DUG on key areas in development plans for the state, adding that Omo-Agege appreciated the group’s concern and agreed to incorporate the “Modernisation Agenda of Olorogun David Edebvie into his Build A New Delta (BAND)” blueprint for the state.
“It is on this basis and the general yearnings of Deltans and friends of Delta that we, as members of the DUG fully endorse the candidacy of the APC governorship candidate and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, in the forthcoming Delta State governorship elections holding on 11th March, 2023,” the statement said.
Oborevwori is widely regarded as Okowa’s anointed ‘successor’ hence his relatively easy triumph over about a dozen other PDP governorship aspirants during the primary, but Ibori reportedly had backed Edevbie for the ticket.
Edevbie, who is the immediate past chief of staff to Governor Okowa, is the leader of the DUG and had served under the Ibori administration, with Okowa, Senator Omo-Agege and many of the defecting PDP chieftain, between 1999 and 2007.
On 25th February, two senatorial candidates of the APC, Ede Dafinone and Joel Onowakpo-Thomas, who were openly endorsed by Ibori, won the Delta Central and Delta South, respectively.
However, the endorsement of Omo-Agege climaxes a steady drift to the APC in the state following series of resignation from the PDP by numerous prominent members of the ruling ruling party in Delta State.