Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Isoko area of Delta State have declared their support for incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the candidate of the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the March 2, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The APC chieftains were led to declare their support for Governor Okowa’s re-election by Joe Arausi from Isoko South and a former member of the House of Representatives, and Abikelegba Odhegolo who is a member of the state executive committee and South-South caucus of the APC, at a joint meeting of both parties at Oleh.
Arausi and Odhegolo cited the principle of power rotation among the three senatorial districts of the state as the main reason for supporting Okowa ahead of the APC governorship candidate, Great Ogboru.
Besides, they said Okowa has endeared himself to Deltans, and will get votes across political party lines because of his humility and delivery of democratic dividends.
But in a swift reaction, the APC in Oleh ward 01, Delta State described the declaration of support for Okowa as spurious, pointing out that Mr. Arausi is a suspended former leader of the APC in the area.
In a statement by the chairman of APC ward 01, Egbogbo Vincent emphasized that “Arausi and his co-travellers have long been suspended from the party due to their anti-party activities and as such, lacks the locus to speak for the APC,” insisting that there was never a time Arausi was appointed in the elders’ council of APC.
Regardless, Arausi in his declaration speech, said “on behalf of Isoko people, we have a pact with the Ika people, the people of Delta North to complete their tenure, because we believe in equity, we believe this is the turn of the Anioma people and in the spirit of equity, you (Governor Okowa) should continue till 2023.
“No governor has equalled your (Governor Okowa) records in the area of project delivery in Delta State, the people who are here and members of the APC and PDP, I am the leader of the APC in Isoko South and the leader of the APC in Isoko North, Odhegolo is here with us.
“The governor is here to consult us, it is the first time that we are seeing a sitting governor consulting members of the opposition political party, it is a mark of humility, the spirit of oneness and we are happy with the projects you have executed in Isoko nation.”
On his part, Odhegolo said Okowa’s signs of performance are everywhere, saying that the people should evaluation with facts rather than political party sentiments.
“The change we talk about in APC is in you, Governor Okowa. Your performance has made a lot us in APC uncomfortable, I am speaking my mind and that of members of the opposition political parties. We have decided that because of your performance, we will work for your victory,” Odhegolo said.
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Governor Okowa thanked members of the opposition political parties for working with his administration to record successes, observing that “the governorship position is not for learners. I held several positions before contesting for the governorship position because I believe that I am qualified, those who want to contest with me and have not held any other position should contest for other positions.
“I believe the best way to govern is to continue to ask for the partnership of the people because, with the support of all, governance is made easier, there will be peace, and development will take place.
“I thank all Deltans for their support. It is a thing of joy that majority of our people believe in equity, equity engenders peace, cooperation and respect for one another. We will continue to work in the overall interest of Deltans because, that is what we are elected to do. What we desire is for all Deltans to join us, so that we will continue to speak with one voice because, Delta Is a great state.”