By Felix Ekwu
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Thursday, March 24, 2022, again tried to parry growing public opinion that he already has a preferred choice to succeed him come 2023.
Political watchers have been trying to connect Okowa’s moves with his talk to decipher where the political train is headed.
The more Okowa attempts to correct the impression that he has not covertly anointed someone to take over from him the mantle of leadership of oil-rich Delta State in 2023, the more the rumour thickens.
Watchers of the unfolding drama say Okowa’s body language appears deceptive and contradictory which makes a mockery of his outward posture that the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, will conduct credible, free, fair primaries.
Thursday’s denial by Governor Okowa that he was yet to endorse anyone that will succeed him goes directly opposite to recent happenings in the state, where the leadership and members of the political structure with which he rode to power in 2015, Delta Political Vanguard, DPV, had already openly declared support for the governorship ambition of the incumbent Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sheriff Oboreveori.
DPV’s endorsement of Oborevwori comes days after he was allegedly anointed as Okowa’s candidate following marathon meetings held between Friday 11th and Sunday 13th March 2022, in Asaba the State Capital.
While the people of Delta State and beyond are trying to come to terms with the widely rumoured endorsement of Oborevwori by Governor Okowa, the Speaker on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, stormed the State PDP Secretariat with an intimidating crowd of supporters to formally declare his intention to contest the governorship seat in the 2023 general elections.
Prominent among political bigwigs that accompanied Oborevwori on the declaration were the Deputy Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Christopher Osho, Majority Leader, Hon Ferguson Onwo, Hon Charles Emetulu, Chairman, DESOPADEC and National Chairman, Delta Political Vanguard, DPV, Evangelist Michael Diden aka Ejile, State Director of Protocol/DG, Delta Political Vanguard, Hon Ifeanyi Eboigbe.
Also present were the Delta North PDP Chairman, Chief Moses Iduh, Director-General of Asaba Capital Territory Development Agency, Rt Hon Joan Mrakpor aka Ada Anioma, Chief John Oguma, Ughelli North Council Chairman, Chief Godwin Adode aka Coach Tete, Chief Soso Enakerakpor, Executive Assistant on Political Matters to Delta State Governor, and many other political gladiators.
This development has, however, prompted political pundits to pontificate that the rumoured endorsement of Oborevwori by Okowa was not a fluke.
They hinge their position on the array of elected and political office holders in the current administration of the state who were present at the event.
This flamboyant declaration drama according to some political analysts, therefore, has further lent credence to the alleged endorsement by the State Governor.
They described this as the first time in the recent political history of the state where a governorship aspirant declared his intention to the leadership of the party at the state secretariat with the state chairman in attendance.
To some of them, the development opened a new dimension which they regard as naivety on the part of political handlers and those at the helm of affairs of Oborevwori’s political journey explaining that they ought to have known better the implications of the moves.
With Governor Okowa now distancing himself from endorsing any governorship aspirant to succeed him, it is expected that his body language should match with his words.
It is one thing for the Governor to deny endorsing anyone whereas members of his kitchen cabinet, top leaders and political stalwarts of the PDP in the state keep flooding around Oborevwori, who is widely viewed as the anointed choice as Governor.
The dust will settle in a matter of time to reveal whether what Governor Okowa says publicly synchronizes with how he directs from the background who takes over from him.
Though he may be playing the ostrich, what is obvious, however, is that his shadow has continued to loom larger around Oborevwori much more than his claims. Time will reveal whether it is the voice of Jacob or the hand of Esau!