Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has reversed his earlier decision to pick his successor from the Ijaw in the Delta South zone, a move that pitched him against power blocs in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Sources close to the governor, who requested anonymity, disclosed to THEWILL that Okowa “has finally made up his mind to pick his successor from the Urhobo tribe in Delta Central zone after a long careful thought.”
According to the two sources, Okowa, who was irked by the move by some among the Urhobos to jettison the zoning agreement in the state during the governorship poll in 2015, decided to respect the unwritten power-sharing agreement within the PDP in the state but with a caveat. “He would not support any aspirant in the race that played a key role in the botched 2015 primary coup,” one of the sources said.
All three zones have each produced a governor under the zoning formula started at the beginning of this republic, with Chief James Ibori (Central), his successor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan (South), and the incumbent, Okowa, who hails from the North.
THEWILL recalls that the power bloc, which had the ears of Uduaghan, had tried unsuccessfully to circumvent the power-sharing agreement in 2015 by backing a former commissioner in the state, David Edevbie, from the Urhobo tribe, to clinch the party’s governorship primary.
In retaliation, after his reelection in 2019, Okowa and his close allies have been covertly encouraging aspirants from the Ijaw to enter the governorship race in 2023 to the discomfort of Ibori and other interests in Delta Central.
The move gave politicians like Senator James Manager and the deputy governor, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, who are both Ijaws, the spark to seek the governorship ticket.
With his latest decision to support the zoning agreement, the governor, according to our sources, is ready for the battle to determine who succeeds him in 2023. (THEWILL)