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By Chukwudi Abiandu
The former governor of Delta State, and easily the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, led other delegates in an overwhelming second term endorsement of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in a unanimous vote that returned the governor unopposed as the party’s candidate for the 2019 governorship elections.
Ibori whose presence drew large ovation of Odidigboigbo, the sobriquet that his admirers fondly call him, and addressing the delegates before voting commenced, he said in pidgin English: “You de look am, e deh go, you deh look am, e deh go.”
He continued: “Una know why I deh here? You have to do what is right and proper. And what is proper is to vote back Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the second term.” Speaking again in pidgin English, Ibori told the people that it is not every person that knows the road that leads to the market. But that Dr. Okowa knows the road. He then urged the delegates and the PDP faithful to ensure the success of the party at the polls.
In his acceptance speech, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa commended the delegates for conducting a transparent state party congress and thanked the leaders, youths and all the party faithful and all Deltans for keeping the peace, promising that his second tenure would be better.
He said: “During the 2015 elections you will recall that promises were made and we have continued to do the best that we can despite the very challenging times to ensure that we met with the promises but one good thing that Deltans have done is that they have continued to pray for us and partner with us in governance and I must say that I am very grateful to all Deltans particularly our leaders, our youths and our women; I thank you all for all that you have done to ensure that we have a peaceful state because, without peace, we cannot develop.”
Governor Okowa who at the occasion announced that his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro will be his running mate for the second term, declared: “The PDP in Delta is a family and we are very proud of this family and because we realize that we are a family, PDP has insisted that there will be equitable process where there are justice and fairness; because we are one family the PDP endorsed my candidacy in 2014 and I went through by the special grace of God during the elections and we won. Today in your belief for equity, justice and fairness, the party has returned me unopposed as its candidate; I am very grateful and I thank you for being a party that reasons that we can only be a family when there are equity and fairness.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to remain strong under the leadership of our leader, Chief James Ibori; this party will remain focused, this party will be about Delta. We shall continue to ensure that we are strengthened enough to be recognized very strongly in national politics; there is no need to be afraid, there is no need to shake, when something happened in some states, people send text messages but, we have come as always in the name of God and because God is with us, there is nobody that can be against us.
“We are strong and we will continue to remain strong, we will go forth into the elections and we will win a landslide. I am proud because I have each and every one of you, our God that was with us in 2015 is with us, so there is no cause for alarm. We must go out there to talk to the people, we must go as one united family, we must go carrying everyone along and I believe that this is the principle of our party. And even when we go into the congresses on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to elect candidates for the Senate, House of Representatives and House of Assembly let us go through these elections with brotherly and sisterly love, let us conduct it in peace,” he admonished.
Governor Okowa who was elated at the peaceful conduct of the primary elections emphasized, “I have spoken with our party chairman and I know that there will be a free and fair primaries and the results will also be free and fair and by the grace of God, I appeal to each and every one of us even when you lose in the ballot you have not lost everything because you belong to one united family.”
Governor Okowa appealed to the local government chairmen to remember the youth are key, and so must be carried along. He also pleaded with the youth to listen to the elders and co-operate with them.
Chairman of the PDP gubernatorial primary elections in Delta State, Mrs Uzo Nwandu, worked with other members of the committee that included Mr. Henry Tenebi, Mr. Boniface Odeh, Mr. John Ahmed Moma, and Rt. Hon. Wisdom Ogbonna.
Mrs. Nwandu declared Governor Okowa winner of the primaries that held today, Sunday (30/09/18) in at the Cenotaph, Asaba, stating that out of the 3, 278 accredited delegates from different local government areas of the state, 26 invalid votes were counted, while 3, 252 votes went to Governor Okowa.
It could be recalled that Governor Okowa was the only member of the PDP who picked the gubernatorial form and was successfully screened in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to participate in the primary election.