By Obiajulu Iwegbue
In a move described by many political observers as “slow, steady and progressive,” the coming into the race for the Asaba Government House by Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, has changed the political firmament, temperature, arithmetic, as his challenge has thrown a spanner into the works of many who hitherto had seen themselves as heavyweights in Delta State politics.
Olorogun Gbagi, according to generally accepted opinion across the state, is the best man to take over the reins of power from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who has over the years being a trusted ally of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
He has seen it all, a party man, complete gentleman, dogged and rugged, suave, urbane, polished, educated in so many cultures across the globe, Olorogun Gbagi, like the octopus, cut his teeth across all facets of human endeavours—from being a successful lawyer in the gab of Aare Afe Babalola; the late Gani Fawehinmi et al., he is unarguably one of the richest lawyers in West Africa.
Olorogun Gbagi is an entrepreneur and the highest employer of labour in the oil-rich Delta State with chains of successful businesses across the State; a criminologist, an attorney, hotelier, philanthropist of repute, impeccable character to whom integrity makes a huge sense.
The PDP Chieftain is an added value to the party in his state and has done more than any individual to give life abundantly to the umbrella party in the Niger Delta Region and this accounted for why he is called the “Man with the Midas Touch” across the Delta region, little wonder there is huge clamour by the overwhelming grassroots population for the Urhobo-born security expert and educationist to take the baton from Governor Okowa in May 2023.
He has crisscrossed the entire state from one traditional ruler to the other, the people keep assuring him of their unflinching support having stood in for them at their time of need. From Burutu in Delta South through Delta Central to Delta North Senatorial Districts, the former Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Education has planted himself in the hearts of the people over time.
According to Archbishop Mike Odafe: “I have NO DOUBT that the royal covenanted declaration is clear a clear message to opponents, oppositions and enemies alike that in the race for Delta State Governorship 2023, Olorogun Gbagi candidature is not contestable; it is divinely signed, sealed and delivered! This my understanding of this highly prophetic traditional exercise.”
A speaker at one of the events welcoming him to their Kingdom had expressed joy that Olorogun Gbagi was waxing stronger by the seconds in his bid to take over from the current administration which he described as the most successful in the history of the state. According to the speaker, having succeeded in his chains of businesses across the country, he (Olorogun Gbagi) alone has what it takes to succeed the Ika-born Governor Okowa.
A major feature in Delta politics that is thrusting Olorogun Gbagi far and above his contemporaries and his paperweight challengers is his magnanimity rooted in his humanitarian services to the people and his Statesmanship unlike the clannish political minions who see themselves as his opponents, during the debilitating pains of the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdown, when the masses were caught up in the crossfire of poverty, lack, hunger and starvation, the humane Olorogun Gbagi was there for his people.
While some state governments were busy sharing a meal of “Eba and Egusi” soup to their constituents only for them to drift back into hunger the next few hours; Olorogun Gbagi’s gesture during the lockdown to deltans could be likened to the biblical scenario when Jesus Christ fed multitudes and the leftovers were much more than what they consumed. He brought in truckloads of rice and beans, distributed same evenly across the State without batting an eyelid. Each beneficiary of Olorogun Gbagi’s covid-19 palliatives got a half bag of rice – 25kg, 5litres of vegetable oil, beans and so many other items for the people to survive the Covid-19 imposed hunger and this sank deep into the psyche of the people and this reflects in his general acceptance by the people of the Big Heart State.
Underrate Olorogun Gbagi at your own peril; he was the man who as the Chair of the Legal Aid Council, quashed the notorious withholding charges, a veneer under which Nigerians were unjustifiably remanded in prisons, he has no equal among the leagues of the contenders who are best described as dependants or, better still political neophytes for the Government House, Asaba.
The crowd surging after Olorogun Gbagi in his wtate is unprecedented in the annals of consultations by politicians in the delta region. He has in his fold, everybody who is somebody in Delta politics with him in his giant stride to build on the existing developmental that will be bequeathed on him by his best friend, governor Okowa.
He plays the realpolitik on the pedestal and understanding of the Delta State tripod in rotational governorship among the three Senatorial districts otherwise known as the Delta political family.
Deltans are not leaving anything to chances, to them it seems there’s no neutrality in the campaign to enthrone Olorogun Gbagi as Governor of that heterogeneous State: it’s either you are for Olorogun or not and thus far, voices have been unanimous—its Gbagi all the way.
As his political consultation gathers momentum, it suffices to say, Olorogun Gbagi has no opponent save for those who may be grandstanding in desperation for cheap popularity because from every look of things, from the party primaries to the election proper, he has shown enough proof that he would win convincingly and overwhelmingly.
Born in Sapele on June 22, 1958, our today political juggernaut-Olorogun Gbagi who at a time was a bus conductor attended Bishop Joseph Memorial Primary School Sapele; Kosofe Secondary School, Mile 12 Lagos; Emmanuel L. Quezon University, Philippines; the University of Lagos and Advance Training Wing, Police College, Ikeja, Lagos. He is one of the best fathers any child will be proud of, a husband that can best be described in superlative terms, an honest friend of all Deltans with a bias for discrimination in all its definitions, spirit and letters, he is best to lead Delta State.
*Obiajulu Iwegbue, a Political Analyst, Conflict Communications Specialist writes from Kwale, Delta State.