Delta State governor and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Okowa, has punctured reports that a former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, will work against the party in the 2023 governorship poll in the state.
PDP has been embroiled in legal battle since the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Mr Sheriff Oborevwori, defeated others in a primary to emerge as its governorship candidate.
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His emergence is said to have pitted the state governor against Ibori, who supported David Edebvie during the primary.
Days after an Appeal Court voided his declaration by a Federal High Court as the Delta State governorship candidate of PDP, Edevbie asked the Supreme Court to re-affirm his candidacy.
Edebvie, a former commissioner for Finance and Chief of Staff in Okowa’s administration, among others, alleged that Oborevwori forged the academic certificates he presented to contest the primary.
However, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Okowa, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, faulted reports that Ibori would work against the party if Edevbie did not win at the Supreme Court.
Ifeajika maintained that Ibori is a committed party leader who will always support the PDP and ensure its victory at every election.
While noting that it was normal to have a disagreement in the nomination of candidates, he stressed that there is neither crisis in Delta PDP nor a fight between Okowa and Ibori.
“All the talks about fighting and crisis are the creation of the peddlers. His Excellency Okowa enjoys a harmonious relationship with our leader and former governor James Ibori. They will work for the candidate of the party to emerge the winner at the poll. Delta remains a stronghold of the PDP,” he said.
He said it is on record that Delta Central, DC-23, a governorship lobby group of Delta Central senatorial district, led by Senator Ighoyota Amori shortlisted Oborevwori, Edevbie and former minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi as the top three candidates from over 14 contenders who indicated interest to fly the flag of the party.
“When the legal firework is over at the Supreme Court, all the party faithful will close ranks and work to deliver all their candidates to retain the state for PDP, which the state is known for since the advent of democracy in 1999.
“What is not in contention is that Ibori is the distinguished leader of the party in the state. Okowa did not commission DC-23 that screened and pruned the numerous aspirants from Delta Central and presented their three best, including Edevbie, Gbagi and Oborevwori for 2023 governorship to him,” he said.
Ifeajika also said that Okowa is the Chairman of the South-South Governors’ Forum and not the ‘chairman of Southern Governors Forum and arrowhead of Southern presidency’ as alleged by a former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Chief Bode George.
While adding that Southern PDP governors and leaders were part of the meetings where it was decided that the party should not zone the presidency in 2023, he said Okowa was nominated by the presidential candidate of the party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.