…Manager, Mariere, others chances diminish
… Okowa never gave Awhinawhi nod to go to SDP –PDP Chairman
…As Itsekiri PDP leaders vow to work for Uduaghan
… PDP leaders appoint Igbuya’s loyalists in Sapele as party’s ROs
By Shedrack Onitsha,
With barely two months to the 2019 general elections, there is disquiet in the Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as some of the party leaders are plotting the fall of some candidates of the party, and unless something urgent is done, their move may spell doom for the party.
ADVOCATE investigations revealed that the move by the party leaders to work against their party candidates may not be unconnected to the outcome of the party primaries where some of the aspirants supported by these leaders lost out, with others going to other parties to pursue their aspiration.
While some have taken the outcome of the party primaries as the will of the people, others vowed to remain in the PDP, but with the intention of working against the party at the general election in order to prove a point that the party candidates are unpopular.
Mostly hit by this gang up are Senator James Manager, PDP Delta South senatorial candidate and Hon. Samuel Mariere, PDP House of Representative candidate for Ughelli North, South and Udu federal constituency.
Manager who is seeking the fifth term in the upper chamber will be squaring up with the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan of the APC.
According to our source, the Itsekiri and Isoko leaders in the PDP have vowed to stop manager from returning to the Senate for equity’s sake.
Speaking to some PDP youths on why the Itsekiri leaders took the decision to support their kinsman against Sen. Manager, PDP Delta South senatorial aspirant and member representing Warri North constituency was quoted to have said that “politics is local, and that he is first and foremost an Itsekiri man before being a member of the PDP.”
According him: “Politics is about your people’s best interest and I think that it is in Itsekiri’s best interest to have a senator in the next political dispensation, and if that is what our people want, do you expect me to go against it?
“Itsekiri nation needs a senator, though am a PDP man; but we could not get the party senatorial ticket even though I tried to get. So, we shall support our people to achieve their political desire, this is not about Uduaghan been my brother, but about overall Itsekiri interest.
“So, yes some of us will support our people to get an Itsekiri man in the senate come 2019, it could be anybody but most likely it will be Uduaghan who stands a better chance of winning because of his alliance with the Isoko people.
The same scenario is playing out between Samuel Mariere of the PDP who is facing Revd Francis Waive of the APC and the incumbent, Hon. Solomon Awhinawhi, candidate of the SDP who lost out at PDP primaries and seemingly walked his way through the ranks of PDP in the area.
While Revd Waive enjoys huge support from the Church and local folks that cannot be said of Mariere, and to make his case worse, the base of the PDP in the constituency is being eroded as some leaders of party in the area have thrown their weight behind Awhinawhi in SDP.
ADVOCATE findings revealed that unlike other candidates, the four PDP party House of Assembly candidates in the three council areas shunned the use of Mariere’s pictures in their posters and billboards, while they graciously used that of the Atiku, Okowa and Oboro while that of Mariere is conspicuously absent.
It was further gathered that there is an unwritten accord among the party leaders to return Hon. Solomon Awhinawhi of the SDP who will in turn defect to the PDP should he win the election.
There are speculations that the State Governor Dr Ifeanyi Okowa gave Awhinawhi the nod to go to SDP with a directive that the party leaders should deliver him.
However, debunking the claim that Okowa is supporting the aspiration of Awhinawhi against Mariere, the PDP Chairman for Ughelli North council area, Lawrence Agbatutu in a statement, said that there is no truth in the claim and threatened to sanction any party member who works against the party’s interest.
The statement reads: “The chairman of People’s Democratic Party, PDP Ughelli North LGA Hon Lawrence Agbatutu JP has debunked insinuations from Hon Solomon Awhinawhi political camp that he got the nod of the state governor H.E Sen Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa to contest for the house of representative election using an alternative platform (SDP) as against the standard flag bearer of the party (PDP).
“His Excellence Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is a core PDP leader and member who understand the principle of the party and will not instruct any aspirants who failed primary election under the party to seek alternative ticket with another party.”
He therefore appealed to the general public to disregard such claims saying it never emanated from the governor, adding that the PDP has a candidate for the federal constituency in the person of Hon Samuel Mariere.
Agbatutu cautioned all party faithful to be properly guided, as any person that is found to be involved in any anti party activities, will face appropriate disciplinary action from the party as enshrined in the party’s constitution.
He advised all party members to remain focused and work diligently to deliver all PDP candidates in the upcoming general election, from Atiku Abubakar, Ifeanyi Okowa, Evelyn Omavowan Oboro, Samuel Mariere, Kenneth Ibru and Eric Oharisi for their respective contest.
The case of Chief Felix Anirah, a PDP House of Assembly candidate is not different as some party leaders in the state have prepared what some political observers described as a political gibbet for him, by appointing key loyalists of the former speaker, Rt Hon Monday Igbuya as the party’s Returning Officers in some strategic wards in Sapele LG.
Speaking to ADVOCATE over what he termed a worrisome development, a concerned PDP member who simply gave his name as Mr Ufuoma Inone, said that it’s worrisome to hear that former speaker’s boys whom he left in PDP are now party Returning Officers for the party.
He said: “How can anyone in his right sense pick Igbuya’s boys and make them Ward Returning Officers in Chief Anirah’s ward when it’s an open secret that these people don’t like the man and does not want him to win. We are surprise because we don’t know the motivation for these appointments.
“Primaries are over, so we want to appeal to the leaders of the party to close ranks and work for the party’s common goal as any attempt to undo Chief Anirah through subtle means will spell doom for the party, because it will also affect the governor’s election.”
He therefore appealed to the state party chairman, Barr Kingsley Esiso and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to take a second look at the list of PDP ward ROs in Sapele and remedy the situation before it’s too late.