Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has been speaking of his likely successor, come 2023, saying he is not going to handover power to anyone who does not believe in equity and fairness.
Okowa stated this during the empowerment programme of the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rt.Hon. Ndudi Elumelu in Asaba.
Governor Okowa spoke against the backdrop of scrambling by some political gladiators in the state ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial race.
The governor, whom political watchers believe may spin a surprise in the 2023 governorship race against the permutations of many, spoke for the first time of how the 2023 governorship race would be.
Governor Okowa who mounted the saddle as governor in 2015, told political gladiators, who are scheming to take his seat in 2023 that he is a governor who believes in equity and fairness and as such his likely successor “must be somebody who is ready to ensure that there is fairness, equity and justice” in the polity.
Delta Central in 1999, produced Chief James Ibori as governor for two terms, Delta South also had Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2007 as governor for two terms and now Delta North has produced Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent governor from 2019 till date.
Niger Delta Connect Correspondent in Delta State understands that some political watchers in the state believe that the three senatorial district haven tasted power, the next governor based on the ‘selection order’ would ‘naturally’ come from the Delta Central senatorial district, where the supposed adopted rotation system started from.
This may explain the reason why the 2023 race appears so exclusive for the Urhobos and reason why more Urhobos are showing interest in the race than the other ethnic nations who are not foreclosed, according to pundits.
But there are other schools of thought that believe that politically, the 2023 governorship should be another fresh dispensation for “politics of the survival of the fittest”.
This school believes that just like 1999 where it was a ‘free for all political fight’ before the former governor, Chief James Ibori eventually won his party ticket and stood election to emerge governor, the 2023 battle should equally be thrown open to all all interested aspirants.
Another school of thought believes the governorship should go to ethnic groups within the senatorial districts that have not tasted power before.
Besides Isoko, Ijaw, Ukwani/Ndokwa ethnic nationalities that made up ethnic groups in Delta State, that have not tasted the coveted office of the executive governor, others like Urhobo, Itsekiri and Ika had taken their turns in the past.
Delta State is predominantly inhabited by the Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw, Ika, Ukwani, Igbo, and Itsekiri. According to pundits, going by these ethnic cards, an Isoko, Ijaw, Ukwani and Asaba man or woman should emerge as next governor.
It is however a little bit more complex than that because besides the ethnic card and the supposed adopted rotation system, there are still other factors that would determine who Okowa’s successor would be.
In all of these, Governor Okowa has admonished the political gladiators to thread carefully so as not to over heat the polity and miscalculate where the pendulum may swing.
Speaking on the 2023 gubernatorial race, Okowa said that the collective interest of the people should be placed above self, irrespective of ambitions.
He stated that his administration has been fair in the implementation of policies and programmes across the state, and is advocatinh for a governor that would carry everyone along in the scheme of things.
“We are politicians and …. I can see that a lot has been on in our dear state, especially the scramble for who will replace Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa come 2023.“Unfortunately, some were not even patient. They started their campaigns in the first three months of my second term in office.“I want to charge our leaders and people to be cautious. I am not all-knowing, but at the appropriate time, leaders must be ready to sit down for us to do a proper analysis politically, before we take decisions so that we will not lead our people into darkness. I want to caution our leaders who are jumping the ship. It is not about self, it is going to be about the people”.
Continuing, Okowa said, “I am the governor of the state and I appreciate it. I believe in equity and will not shy away from the fact that I am from Delta North Senatorial District”.
Stressing that he believes in equity, Governor Okowa said in his approach to governance, he has been fair and charged the leaders to be alert and wise so that people do not come to lure them with N500,000 and N1,000,000 and make them sell the conscience of their people.
He opined that, “Who ever is coming to rule this state, by the grace of God, must be somebody who is ready to ensure that there is fairness, equity and justice”
“So, I urge our people that this is the time to stay together; this is the time to think alike and I want to reassure you that in the next one month, we will start the politics,” Okowa added.
Meanwhile, Niger-Delta Connect gathers that the governor’s statement is already generating ripples in some quarters particularly in the camp of those who thought they may get the governorship on a platter of gold.