Ibori’s expected return unsettles Delta

  • Directs loyalists to dump PDP for APC
  • Ex-Gov coming to take pound of flesh
  • His daughter may emerge new Speaker

As former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, serves out his five-year prison term next June, commotion has set into the Delta politics, with many of his old loyalists preparing a new political camp to receive their master, The Point investigation has revealed.

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Ibori, who was jailed by a London court on allegations of fraud and money laundering, is reportedly coming back to re-build his political base and then, “take his pound of flesh. ” Sources close to the former governor revealed that the latter regarded his ordeal as “an attack from home, orchestrated by former President Goodluck Jonathan and through the prompting of his arch-political enemy and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.”

But at the receiving end of Ibori’s home-coming is the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, whose emergence on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party was helped by Clark, who had overtly shown determination to remove the last vestiges of Ibori from Delta politics.

Clark had never hidden his disdain for the fact that Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who succeeded
Ibori as governor was not just the Secretary to the State Government under Ibori, but is also
a cousin to the jailed ex-governor. However, the first step to rebuilding his political camp which has been in disarray following his sojourn in the London prison, it was learnt, is to create a new political platform in the state and attract opposition to the ruling political party which he considers as enemy camp.

IBORI OPTING FOR APC                                                                                                         To that extent, the former governor had reportedly instructed all his loyalists to be defecting to the opposition All Progressives Congress in batches, more so as the APC is the ruling party at the centre. Ibori reportedly gave the instruction about two months ago.

Already, palpable tension is mounting in Delta State following the political build-up by the APC
to take over from the ruling PDP. During the 2015 governorship election, the PDP campaigned
with the mantra of ‘Power shift to Delta North Senatorial district’ with the valid and sustained argument that the former Governors of the state, Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan were from Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial districts respectively.

Expectedly, while the majority of the population, the Urhobo, is in Delta Central and some parts of Delta South, the Urhobos, some of whom were disenchanted that the ethnic stock was not picked by the PDP, angrily defected to Labour Party and the APC but lost out, perhaps due to the Clark factor and the Okowa’s campaign charm of ‘Pan-Deltan Agenda and prosperity for all Deltans.’

Ten months after the election of Okowa, however, his Pan- Deltan agenda appear not to be flying with the masses any longer and to worsen things, prominent members of his party, the PDP, are defecting in large number to the APC, a situation that is reportedly worrisome to the governor.

Preparatory to the home-coming of ex-Governor Ibori, his loyalists have reportedly been rooting for the dominance of the state’s House of Assembly which is currently being dominated by the ruling PDP. It was equally gathered that there is intense pressure on Ibori’s loyal lawmakers to impeach the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Monday Igbuya, and replace him with Ibori’s daughter, Miss Enatieke Ibori.

To that extent, trouble is believed to be brewing in Igbuya’s camp on whether to follow the instruction of the ‘Grandmaster’, Ibori, or not, on what to do with the present Speaker. But in his reaction, the Speaker has said that his position is not in any way threatened, as he is a known Ibori loyalist. Speaker for his principal the Chief Press Secretary to Speaker Igbuya, Mr.
Henry Eberere, noted: “It is not true that my Oga will be removed and be replaced by Ibori’s daughter. My Oga is in Ibori’s camp”.

Some notable members of the PDP currently in APC, led by colourful and charismatic Chief
Paulinus Akpaki, have explained why they dumped PDP for APC, saying that come 2019, the latter will wrest power from the Okowa administration and kick the party out of the state.
Chief Ayiri Emami, another prominent politician who bankrolled the governorship ambition of Mr. Tony Oboh, the failed anointed son of Ex-Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan; and John Akwara, another prominent politician, have also defected to the APC. Their exit is currently creating jitters, within the PDP family.

The defection of these political heavy weights in the state had unsettled the ruling party despite the seeming indifference of the leadership of the party. Chief Paulinus Akpeki, one of the defectors and a former commissioner in the Uduaghan administration, said: “We are just John the Baptist, Christ is coming. He has sent us his disciples out to come and conquer;
we shall seize power from PDP in this state.

” Investigations revealed that the political fortune of Igbuya, the Speaker, has nosedived with the defection of Akpeki. But the chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Edwin Uzor, in his reaction to the gale of defection, said that the party was not perturbed and shall continue to be the main party in the state. He described the defectors as lazy and hungry politicians that lack character and the political will to advance the cause of any political party, adding that they do not have the grassroots support to realise their dream.

Despite the claims of the PDP state chairman, the political clout of Akpeki in Delta Central in general and in Sapele Local Government area is simple phenomenal and it would be politically unwise to dismiss him with a wave of the hand. Similarly, feelers from Isoko North and Isoko South local government areas show that majority of PDP members is quaking with the prospect of Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay, a former Secretary to the State Government
defecting to the APC.

Despite the serial denial of Macaulay of his rumoured intention to join the APC, this reporter’s checks indicate that Senator Spanner Okpozo, a leading figure of APC in Delta State remains a stumbling blocks to Macaulay’s entry into the APC.

Sources revealed that Ibori, in the last meeting he held with Okowa and Udughan in London, insisted that the duo should defect to the APC where assured them that he would be able to
ensure victory for his loyalists in 2019. Sources said Okowa, mindful of his political future, has been striving to be more relevant in the Ibori camp than in Edwin Clark circles.

It is, however, observed that anger is gradually building up over Okowa’s alleged shoddy performance in the last 10 months; but Okowa’s Chief press secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, described those who scored Okowa low as detractors, saying that Okowa had lived up to expectations and had also been rated as the best, among the 36 state governors.