A bird’s-eye view of the attributes of Nwoko and Nwaoboshi points to massive strengths and arsenal as well as weaknesses…
Barring any last minute change of date, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, is expected to hold its primary election for the three senatorial districts on September 18.
But for some reasons, Delta South and Delta North Senatorial Districts present unique picture ahead of the 2019 senatorial election. For Delta South for instance, the incumbent Senator, James Manager, who is seeking a record fifth term will be slugging it out with the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan. There are also other heavyweights in the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the area who are likely to show interest in the race.
For Delta North however, it can be said with some degree of certainty that it is a one party district, being a formidable stronghold of the PDP, the ruling party in the state. Incidentally, the district is also the home ground of the incumbent governor of the state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, a man widely adored and adjudged by his people to be performing creditably.
Daily Sun gathered that the race in the district will be a straight fight between two political titans in Anioma land who are angling for the PDP’s ticket. They are: Ned Nwoko a prince of Idumuje-Ugboko kingdom in Aniocha Council and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi from Ibusa in Oshimili Council.
Interestingly, pundits also hold the view that whoever secures the party’s ticket would sing victory songs in next year’s senatorial election in the district, because the opposition is virtually absent in the district.
It is for those reasons; analysts see the looming contest as one that promises to be keen and fierce. And
a bird’s-eye view of the attributes of Nwoko and Nwaoboshi points to massive strengths and arsenal as well as weaknesses.
He was a former member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003. Refined, sophisticated and gallant, he is a very successful and respected lawyer of world acclaim. The Paris Club refunds which the Federal Government, states and local governments are reaping today, Daily Sun gathered, are products of Nwoko’s intelligent and tenacious efforts as an international lawyer and arbitrator.
The debonair statesman, naturalist and culture enthusiast with populist hue is used to playing on the big stage be it at state, national or even global level. Owing to all these, it is expected that he would use his vast connections and goodwill to attract investments and general development to Delta North.
Nwaoboshi on the other hand is also no pushover in politics particularly that of Delta State and the PDP. Under the current democratic dispensation, he started as the Delta State Secretary of PDP in 1999. He was later appointed Commissioner during the administration of the former governor, James Ibori. From the State Executive Council, he moved on in 2007 to become the longest serving state chairman of the state.
But that seems to be about all the positive sides to Nwaoboshi whose public perception in Delta North appears poor. Rightly or wrongly, he is perceived by many as a “non-performing representative” who appears to be more interested in wealth acquisition than the welfare of the common man. This is a serious hunch capable of standing between him and the ticket.
Nwaoboshi may be a longstanding actor on the state’s political turf but the corruption allegations swirling around him appears to be repelling some of his associates from identifying with his aspiration. Apart from the fact that his name is in the controversial list of alleged looters of public funds published by the Federal Government recently, Anioma people are also aghast that his chairmanship of the Upper Chamber’s strategic committee on Niger Delta Affairs and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has so far brought no tangible dividends to them and Delta North.
The number of NDDC projects in the district is adjudged to be scanty compared with those of other districts. Even at that most of them, the people claim, are located in Nwaoboshi’s home local government while others are abandoned, partially done or not executed.
Delta-North is awash with allegations that some of the NDDC projects were also allegedly awarded to cronies and companies where the lawmaker was said to have pecuniary interest.
A party delegate from the district claimed that the NDDC projects in the state have allegedly become conduit pipes for siphoning of public funds. It is in the area of individual baggage that Senator Nwaoboshi may face serious hurdles which have the tendency of truncating his aspiration even before the general election.
The Ibusa-born politician is also facing serious allegations of corrupt enrichments resulting in court cases and running battles with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“It will be foolhardy for the PDP to field a candidate like the incumbent, in a political environment where opposition candidates had in the past been barred as a result of lesser reasons,” the delegate told Daily Sun.
But the New Initiative for Credible Leadership ( NICreL), believes that some persons are just out to tarnish the image of the lawmaker. This is even as it warned against what it described as “ a campaign of calumny” against Nwaoboshi, saying that it was unfortunate that some persons have sworn with “their blood that they must drag the hard-earned name and reputation of the senator into political pit latrine.”
Reacting to Nwaoboshi’s travail at the time he was picked up by the EFCC, NICreL in a statement by its Executive Director, Rev Steven Onwu, noted that there was need to thoroughly scrutinise the circumstances surrounding of his trial, adding that the case does not only speak of mischief, but it also “smacks of a mockery of the supposed anti-corruption campaign of the current government.”
Another factor that may however work against Nwaoboshi is his perceived underperformance. This may prove an even greater Achilles Heel for him should he succeed in muscling his way through the crucible of security screening. Apart from the few projects which the people say are either poorly or partially executed, the lawmaker’s popularity rating too in Delta is at its lowest ebb and the unsavoury picture, Daily Sun gathered, is said to be a source of worry for the former Delta State PDP chairman’s campaign managers.
The team led by Paschal Adigwe has been at its wits end trying to deodorise Nwaoboshi before Anioma people. But the efforts so far appear like flogging a dead horse.
The criticisms of Nwoko as a strong personality who may be difficult to cage have failed to fly. Similarly, Anioma people do not seem to be interested in the talk about his belief. They appear to be satisfied with his explanation that religion is a personal matter and the fact that his first wife and most of his children are devout Christians attests to his stand that there is no compulsion in religion. He espouses religious freedom, tolerance, love, peace, charity and happiness among all humans.
For now, the frenzied intra party campaigns are on and mostly underground. The process entails intricate networking, lobbying, wooing, secret and nocturnal meetings which centre around the PDP delegates.
And for months now, the political foot soldiers of the two gladiators have been in the trenches over who is the rightful person to fly the district’s senatorial flag of the party in the 2019 general election.