Okowa’s aide carpets Gbagi over allegations against Okowa, wife

By Gabriel Elozino

Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, has advised former Minister of State for Education and governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Delta, Chief Kenneth Gbagi, to redeem himself from the court of public opinion and stop blaming others for his self inflicted travails. Ifeajika, who addressed journalists at Government House, Asaba, said that Gbagi’s allegation that Okowa and his wife, Edith, influenced the guilty verdict on him by a Warri High Court in a suit instituted against him by his workers described it as overtly malicious, a blackmail and the lamentation of a drowning man.

The court presided by Justice Vera Agbodje found Gbagi, a former junior minister in the Federal Ministry of Education, guilty of the allegation that he stripped naked, four of his workers – three females and a male in his hotel in Effurun, Delta State. In his reaction to the court verdict against him, Gbagi alleged that the judgement was influenced by the state governor and his wife.

However, the governor’s spokesman said that his boss and wife had no hand in Gbagi’s ordeal and urged him to seek the face of God and further approach the court of public opinion to clear his name from the heavy moral baggage. He said, “A few days ago, we read in the media of a court verdict that found a former Minister of State for Education and governorship candidate of the SDP, Chief Kenneth Gbagi, guilty in a matter that affects him solely.

“Chief Gbagi, a proprietor of a hotel, had an issue with his staff. It was not political; it was not anywhere related to state matters. It was strictly a matter between an employer and employees. The case in question was celebrated when it happened in September, 2020 and some of us had forgotten about it but for this court judgement.

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“People had forgotten that it was reported that for whatever reason he dehumanised four of his workers, a wife, a father and two other females. They were stripped naked and exposed to public glare. The victims sought redress in court and the court came out with a verdict, found Chief Gbagi guilty of not just infringing on the rights of these persons that were his workers but of dehumanising them and all that.”

He said that rather than put his head and face in shame and mud for the irresponsible act as seen by the judge, Gbagi resorted to character-assassination, accusing Governor Okowa and his wife of paying the judge to come out with the verdict.

“I am sure that to the ears of everybody, it is absurd and it isn’t worth responding or reacting to but for one obvious reason and that is the character involved. We don’t know where the workers that took him to court come from but we know that wherever they come from, we don’t have any record anywhere that they have any relationship even remotely, with the governor and his wife.

“Nothing can be traced to say that they have a relationship that perhaps may have pricked the interest of the first family in the matter. So, for Chief Gbagi to have looked that way in finding whatever he thought happened to him is to say the least the zenith of treachery and malice. He claims to be the foremost industrialist in Delta; yes, we have seen how industrialised his local government, Ughelli South, is and how much he has shown presence by way of industrialisation of his Oginibo Community. The only thing we know that he has done is owning a hotel and that same hotel he chose as platform to torment his workers.”

The governor’s spokesman said Chief Gbagi couldn’t have said that he was goaded or nudged in anyway to do what he did.

“He took on his staff at his own volition. He thought it wise that that was the proper thing to do, but in the eyes of the public it was a horrible scene to have come not just from a man like him but from anybody for that matter. It is ridiculous to blame Okowa for his woes. He claims to be popular and powerful but he couldn’t use his power to develop his Oginibo Community, Ughelli South or Delta but he used it to take on helpless and hapless youths whom he had under his employ debilitatingly.

“He should seek the face of God, and try to redeem himself in the court of public opinion where he has offended the sensibilities of people with what he did in 2020. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta and by the grace of God the in-coming Vice-President of Nigeria, is not in anyway in any class with Gbagi; the records are there.

Okowa’s pedigree is known and acknowledged even beyond Delta; what he has as CV are impeccable by all evaluations. I don’t know what value Chief Kenneth Gbagi has to show than blackmail, treachery and mischief. This not the first time he is into this; he had in the past tried to blackmail the governor by telling Nigerians through the newspaper too, that the Governor’s father, while alive, told the governor and one other prominent Deltan in a meeting that the governor should ensure he (Gbagi) succeeds him in 2023.

“That was a big blackmail. Pa Okowa had died by the time he came up with that story and anybody who knew the late father of the governor knows that he couldn’t have given such instructions.”

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