Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Indications emerged on Saturday of a major crack in Delta State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when an influential leader of the party and former governor of the State, James Ibori, was conspicuously absent during the congress of the party to elect new officials to run the party’s affairs in the State for the next four years.
Besides Ibori, the Senator representing Delta North and former Chairman of the party in the State, Peter Nwaoboshi, was not present at the congress held in Asaba, the State capital.
The tenure of the Kingsley Esiso-led state executive council of the PDP had expired in May, but due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, the exercise could not be conducted.
The absence of the two party bigwigs is already raising dust in the State PDP.
Although no reason has been adduced for their absence, sources claim that Ibori and Nwaoboshi had lobbied for a different chairmanship candidate to replace Esiso who was running for a second term.
Party sources say the leaders were not impressed with Esiso’s performance in his first term, adding that his chances for re-election were further dimmed when PDP stakeholders in his Sapele Local Government Area allegedly rejected him.
Esiso emerged after a consensus arrangement purportedly championed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
A majority of the 39-member executive council were returned unopposed due to the consensus arrangement.
Addressing the party faithful and the newly-elected party officials, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa urged them not to be distracted by the antics of opposition parties, noting that the consensus arrangement showed that the PDP was very united in the state.
In his acceptance speech, Esiso thanked Ibori and other party leaders particularly in Delta Central, for the role they played to ensure he re-emerged as State chairman.
Esiso appealed to aspirants for the 2023 elections to exercise restraints and avoid distracting the present administration.
He told opposition political parties to forget about winning the state in 2023, describing the PDP as a moving train that will crush any party that stood on its way for the 2023 elections.