From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Allegations of huge financial inducement have rocked DC-23, a lobby group in Delta Central Senatorial district canvassing for the governorship slot in Delta State to be zoned within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
This allegation is coming a few days after the screening committee of the group released its final report in which it cleared three out of the five aspirants for the race.
The group had cleared former Minister of State for Education, Kenneth Gbagi; immediate past Chief of Staff to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, David Edevbie; and current Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, and left out a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Emmanuel Aguariavwodo; and immediate past Commissioner for Works, James Augoye.
But the Delta Central Political Elders and Leaders of Thought (DCPELT) under the auspices of PDP faulted the screening saying that the lobby group left out credible alternatives and cleared questionable characters for the race.
In a leaked confidential letter, the party elders urged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to reject and investigate the DC-23 report, insisting that the group bowed to huge cash inducement to arrive at its decision.
The letter was signed by Dr Adogbeji Ideh, Chief P.O. Akaighe and Chief Eddie Ono-Sorhue.
It reads: ‘We write to you under confidential cover as DELTA CENTRAL POLITICAL ELDERS AND LEADERS OF THOUGHT mutually desirous of a smooth transition that will usher in your successor of Urhobo extraction, in line with what is commonly referred to as the Zoning Formula of the Ruling PDP in Delta State.
‘We firmly believe that it is quite expedient that such a person should possess remarkable integrity, reasonable competence, requisite experience and general acceptance of the electorate that can consolidate on your laudable achievements of the SMART Agenda and unite the State.
‘We wish to therefore dissociate ourselves from the subject, which has expectedly generated needless controversy, capable of creating further disaffection within the Party due to the manipulative selection process eventually deployed by the Screening Committee of the lobby group DC-23, deliberately designed to exclude the ‘best of the lot’ and foist persons of questionable character on the Party in a political ambush to serve selfish interests.
‘We have indeed received several reports of mouthwatering monetary inducements of the Screening Committee members by the beneficiaries of this charade and wish to crave your indulgence to carry out an independent investigation to substantiate the veracity of this weighty allegations, in order to properly guide your anticipated action on this issue.
‘We are strongly canvassing for further assessment of intending governorship aspirants on the basis of competence, experience, loyalty and vision of purpose, using recognised organs of the Party, which we also believe that the Final List would not ordinarily exclude the likes of Sen. Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Chief James Augoye and Omizu Ejaife Odebala, going by their known antecedents, expressed intentions and ongoing consultation efforts.
‘We are therefore soliciting your kind cooperation to disregard the outcome of the exercise conducted by the DC-23 lobby group in the true spirit of fairness by deploying available instruments of your office as the State Party Leader, towards ensuring the emergence of a flag bearer that meets the yearnings and aspirations of most political stakeholders in the current dispensation, all in a bid to guarantee victory for the Party at the general elections next year.
‘We remain committed to your patriotic quest of finishing strong and bequeathing a lasting legacy to all Deltans.’