Delta 2023: The top 6 contenders ( check who is most qualified in the race)
The race to Delta Government House, Asaba, has started in earnest. It is open basically to the Urhobo people of Delta Central, but Ijaws of Delta South are also clamouring for the office.
Ijaw people are of the belief that since governorship has rotated round the three senatorial districts with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa ending it for Delta North, 2023 is appropriate time to move it to the ethnic group. With that opinion, Senator James Manager, representing Delta South in the National Assembly and Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, are in the race from the Ijaw axis.
However, majority of the people of Delta state are of the view that the power arrangement based on senatorial district, not necessarily zoning, that has worked in the state since 1999 be sustained.
In point of fact, the power arrangement that has seen governorship move from Delta Central to Delta South and now in Delta North did not come easy, but has worked for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Leaders of the party were understood to have adopted the power arrangement of senatorial district to senatorial district, but not excluding any party faithful from another senatorial district that wants to exercise his constitutional rights.
Many believe that the senatorial power arrangement will usher peace to the political landscape of the state and not the tribal option that some persons are advancing. By the existing PDP power arrangement, majority of Deltans already know that Okowa’s successor will emerge from Delta Central, which is land of the Urhobos.
Although several names are being mentioned as possible contenders for the exalted position, a number of them are pretenders while very few are contenders. Among the known contenders are Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, a philanthropist, lawyer, criminologist and highest private investor in the state; David Edevbie, chief of staff to the Governor of the state ; Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor; Commissioner for Works, James Augoye; James Manager and Kingsley Otuaro.
These six men are the major contenders for the office of the governor in 2023. The race has since started and there are various schemings among the contenders to outdo each other and eventually etch their candidacy in the hearts of the party members, especially delegates that will determine their fate in the governorship primary.
But among the aspirants, one manifestly stands out with his history of achievements, as the man that can boldly build on the legacies of the incumbent governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. Undoubtedly, Okowa has made great strides in the state, especially in terms of road construction across different cities and communities in the state. Even in the hinter land, he has also made quite some inroads and brought development closer to their doorsteps.
The contender who stands out among others is Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, who is gearing up to consolidate and build on the achievements of the governor from 2023. Gbagi stands out as the man to beat in the PDP governorship primary.
Though there are political distractions around him, Gbagi stands shoulder higher than others in terms of programmes and plans to industrialise Delta and make it a haven for investors.
Checks around the state show that among all the contenders for the office, Gbagi is the only man with visible investment in the state. Many others are dwelling on the achievement of the sitting government since they are part of the present administration. But Gbagi, being an industrialist, has rolled out the best blue-print so far to transform the landscape of the state.
Many are seeing Olorogun Gbagi from a distance, if he could carry out the investments he has in the state as a private individual, then one can imagine what he would do when he emerges governor. Many do not agree with him when he said he would build 100 industries in his first 100 days in office. Gbagi , who has the gift of turning nothing into something, spoke from his experience as an entrepreneur.
During a chat with journalists in Asaba, he said when he was minister for education (state), within 30 days after his appointment, he made a proposal to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for the establishment of 13 universities, among which is Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPRE in Effurun, Delta state. He said the 13 were approved without stress by the then sitting President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
He explained how he influenced programmes in the education sector, even in the secondary education system. That was when he was not in charge of the entire system. But for the governorship, he will be in charge of the affairs of the state. As an investor with special interest in industrialization, Gbagi is poised to raise the bar of business growth and economic life of the people of Delta state.
Looking at him, Gbagi is determined and focused in his agenda to make the state a better place for residents. What is heartwarming about Gbagi is that he is a self-made man that has been tested and found not to be corrupt in the previous government appointments he accepted after much pressure.
And there are facts to that. During the media briefing, he revelead that among all the ministers of former President Goodluck Jonathan, he was the only one not invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation and questioning.
“All of us are aware that in the first term of President Muhammadu Buhari, his government wielded a very big stick against the personnel who served in the government of Goodluck Jonathan. Besides the personnel who served directly in the government, some officers of the opposition party were invited and quizzed by the anti-graft agency. But there was no mention of Gbagi all through the life of Buhari’s first administration and now,” he asserted.
This is a great testament to the integrity and honesty of the man, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi. This is an assurance to the people of Delta state that at the likely emergence of Gbagi as governor, their money will be safe and used only for the business of governance and industrialization of Delta, beginning from where Okowa would stop.
Gbagi also has a good plan for youths of the state. He has said it loud and clear that youths will be given a major priority in his government. His industrialization programme is essentially meant to pull Delta youths from the streets of the oil-rich state. He is extremely concerned about the welfare of youths. Okowa has empowered many with his youth empowerment programme, so it is a foregone conclusion that Gbagi will build on the giant strides.
Finding shows that his desire to contest for governor is not to enrich himself as practically everybody in the state and nation knows that he is financially blessed even more than many governors and had boasted years back that God was biased in blessing him with too much wealth. But his interest in governance is to industrialise the state for the good of all. His election will , therefore, be a blessing to all Deltans, both indigenes and non-indigenes resident in the state.
Gbagi is set to build a model state beginning from where Okowa stops. He is set to create a technological and advanced Delta which will be a model of excellence to other states. It is a good move for Gbagi to have stepped into the race. Deltans, both party members and non-party members, should embrace his dream for a greater, lovelier and beautiful state.
AUSTIN OYIBODE WRITES FROM ASABA