By Stepp Offi and Gabriel Awodeha (Asaba)
Strong indications have emerged at the weekend that the Delta state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa may have abandoned the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori who until Thursday was his supposed anointed governorship candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial Primaries in the state.
Earlier on Friday, it was reported that the Speaker had been screened out by Governor Douye Diri’s led gubernatorial screening committee over name discrepancies in certificates presented by Oborevwori.
The Trumpet gathered that the Delta State House of Assembly Speaker’s educational certificates which he tendered and attached to his forms carried different names ranging from his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) to his Master’s degree.
Furthermore, his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate had OBOREVWORI SHERIFF F while his MSc certificate carries OBOREVWORI FRANCIS SHERIFF OROHWEDOR.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Comrade Denis Otu could not be reached for confirmation or denial of the report as his phone number was saying not reachable.
However, a group which calls itself ” The Sheriffication Movement (TSM)” had debunked the report insisting its principal was duly cleared by the committee. The group, however, could not produce any evidence of clearance by the Diri Committee such as clearance certificate as produced by other aspirants.
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The group in a statement by its Director General, Palmer Ogheneyole, said the Speaker was cleared before dashing back to Asaba the state capital to receive the National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu.
A personal staff working closely with governor Okowa told The Trumpet that contrary to speculations that Okowa was in a dilemma over the disqualification of Oborevwori, the governor was very much at peace with himself.
The source said, “Okowa is even happy if I can use that word. Okowa’s candidate has already been screened successfully, so whatever is going on with Oborevwori cannot trouble him. Although I cannot say whether it is true or not that the speaker has been screened out but what I can assure you is that Okowa has a preferred governorship candidate that has been successfully screened.
“Let’s even assume that Sheriff was screened out, do you think Okowa will be foolish enough not to have a plan B or C, the governor is a smart politician, he is well experienced in the game.
“I won’t say more than this, just take it from me, Okowa’s candidate has been successfully screened and cleared, when the time comes before the Primaries you will know the person. But I don’t know whether it is true if Sheriff has been disqualified but that doesn’t matter as it bears no consequence.”