By Gabriel Elozino
The Delta Central 2023 (DC-23) lobby group’s Prunning/Screening Committee of governorship aspirants has submitted its final report with Olorogun David Edevbie, Chief Kenneth Gbagi and Rt. Hon. Chief Sheriff Oborevwori making the list.
This is as Delta Ijaws have raised alarm over what it described as political ambush to shut out the Ijaws from the Delta governorship race.
The Trumpet recalls that the committee was inaugurated on 25th October, 2021 with Prof. Nyerhovwo Tonukari as Chairman, Prof. Sunny Awhefeada, Secretary while Chief Arthur Akpowowo, Chief Dr. (Mrs.) Augustina Erah, Hon. Felix Anirah, Mr. Tony Omonemu, Revd. Fr. Christopher Ekabor, Chief Anthony Akpomiemie, Chief Andy Osawota, Deacon Raymond Edijala, Dr. Godfrey Enita, Deaconess Florence Jakpovi and Mrs. Rarute Mgbeke as members.
The Screening Committee of Gubernatorial Aspirants Committee had on December 13th submitted its first report with Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Chief James Augoye, Chief David Edevbie, Chief Kenneth Gbagi and Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori making the list.
The committee was further directed to prune the number to three as encapsulated in the committee terms of reference.
The committee was given terms of references to look into their acceptability across the state, accessibility, integrity/credibility, capability, development strategy and Pan-Delta disposition.
The Secretary of the committee, Prof. Sunny Awhefeada who read the report on behalf of the committee, said after series of meetings and screening exercise within the given time, they recommended the following persons in alphabetical order of their surnames; Chief David Edevbie, Chief Kenneth Gbagi and Rt. Hon. Chief Sheriff Oborevwori
He added in the report that the selection of the three aspirants out of the five took place in the morning of the 6 of February, 2022, and that the evaluation of each aspirant was based on criteria previously agreed upon by all members of the Screening Committee.
In his response, the National Chairman of DC-23, Chief Senator Ighoyota Amori commended the committee to have painstakingly carried out the assignment given to them.
He pleaded with those who didn’t make the list of three to accept the committee’s report and recommendation in good faith, as only one person can be Governor at a time. “The five aspirants are all heroes and winners”, he added.
He noted that the DC-23 leadership shall continue to uphold fairness and transparency in the discharge of its responsibilities without fear or favour.
The DC-23, after the adoption of the report, called on political leaders and stakeholders across the state to queue behind any of the three aspirants as the decision to pick one among the three now relies solely on Deltans.
Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Delta Ijaws, former Minister of Police Affairs and Leader of the Delta Ijaw for Governor 2023 Lobby Team, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo has said the Ijaw nation cannot be ambushed politically in a bid to shut them out of their 2023 Delta State governorship quest after the successful end of the tenure of the incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
Alaowei Bozimo spoke separately when he led a high powered delegation of notable Ijaw sons and daughters to Ika South and Ika North East Local Government Areas of Delta State in continuation of the group’s consultative visit to political leaders, elders, stakeholders, traditional rulers and ethnic nationalities among others across the State.
He said the Ijaw nation was quite unhappy over the manner the issue of zoning was raised at the PDP Delta State caucus meeting that took place in Asaba prior to the PDP Mega Rally as there was no notice that the issue of zoning was going to be discussed, describing it as a political ambush.
He said, “The Ijaw people cannot be shut out, we believe in an inclusive government, we believe in the PDP because it is a people-oriented party. I can’t imagine a situation where they would have prevented the Ijaw nation that we could not field a candidate.
“We don’t want ambush, to say it is only the Urhobos that should contest amount to changing the goal post in the middle of the game”. It is better that we all go to the field to test our popularity and not for any zone to pretend that they are anointed, we will not tolerate that anointing, it must be a level playfield for the Ijaw nation”.
Bozimo added, “Urhobos have always contested every governorship primaries and to imagine that the Ijaw nation will be excluded, people who have been loyal to the state, loyal to Nigeria, especially loyal to the Governor to be shut out from a level playing contest would have been a disaster for the state and country.”
The Former Minister noted that, “as you know, Governor Okowa is our son, when the contest was tough in 2014, it was the Ijaws that made the difference, we did not run away from our son…we have made a commitment for the Governor to finish strong…we are very loyal people and we demonstrated our loyalty in 2014 when the Ijaw nation stood for Senator Okowa…
“When we voted for Ibori we did not make any commitment, we voted for Uduaghan there was no commitment and the Ijaws supported Senator Okowa. Our loyalty has never been questioned and we demonstrated it profusely when we stood devotedly for Senator Okowa.”