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2023: ‘I And Okowa Are Of Same Parent But His North-South Joint Presidential Ticket Is Dead On Arrival’- ex-Minister Gbagi

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Former Minister for state Education and governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Delta state, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, has said that though he and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa are of the same parent, he will never support his North-South joint presidential ticket.

www.bigpenngr.com reports that Gbagi who spoke in an interview with newsmen at his Oginibo country home, Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, on Saturday, June 18, 2022, said that he will throw his weight behind a Southern presidential candidate against the joint ticket of Okowa and former vice president Atiku Abubakar who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Gbagi, however stated firmly that he was an incontrovertibly adopted son of Late Pa Arthur Okorie Uzoma Okowa, the father of the Delta state Governor, Senator, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa but cannot tow the same political path with the governor giving the time.

“Now, for your information, all of you will agree that I am the closest person and for some reason I am a junior brother of Okowa, the governor. Not because of him being the governor but the father sent for me, saw that I assisted his son. The senior sister to the governor came to my house here and pleaded with me to go and see the father which I did and the father said he has adopted me as his second son after the governor for all that I did for the governor. That adoption, the governor cannot change it. Unfortunately for him, the father had died. If the father, which is my father too, was alive, he is the only one who can rescind that arrangement. So, by some arrangement, is my senior brother by virtue of what the father has done.

“Now, I have decided to leave the PDP with tears, with tears in my eyes because that was the house I built. One of Okowa’s greatest confidants met me on the plane when I was coming and said, eh you left a house you built as owner of the house? I said yes, let me be on the ballot and let God design my fate on the ballot. If I was not on the ballot, if I just agreed that what has happened has happened and go and sleep, it means I am not a man. I am a competent man and Okowa can tell all of you that I am a competent man. And that’s why I want to prove my competency at the ballot next year 2023.

Speaking on what happened at the Government House prior to the PDP governorship primary where he alleged Okowa deployed security aides to manhandled him, Gbagi said; “Whatever happened at the Government House gave me a closer understanding as to why I took my decision to come and vie for the governorship election under the platform of the SDP.

On the question raised by a journalist if he would support Governor Okowa’s vice presidential ambition, the former minister said; “Somebody asked whether I will support him! Now, we made a decision and at that time if you people can recall very well I was the one who fought for Jonathan under the Gbagi foundation. I fought for Jonathan to be president.  With all the hue and hiccups, I fought assiduously high for Jonathan to be president. And in any case, if all of you people know what you are doing without taking a meal of porridge, we say the North should do one term which is eight years and election should come back to the South. And unfortunately for me, I am from the South.

“I will support a presidential candidate from the South, Ok!. So let us not waste time. I don’t know how to pretend. As we speak today, there are three presidential candidates from the South part of Nigeria. Don’t be taken for granted and you start crying because you have small small money to eat. There is Adebayo who is the presidential candidate of SDP from Ondo state. He is a young lawyer, a 50 years old man, very vibrant. Infact in all the interviews, he is the best man Nigeria can never produce as a presidential candidate.

“You have my friend, Peter Obi who to me again, is very good. I mean he came to us at the Minister forum to grant an interview just as Atiku came to us as well. I belong to the Minister’s Forum of Nigeria. They all came to us to convince us to work for them. Peter Obi came and he’s not unsound. I can tell you that.

He said that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his counterpart in the APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu can no longer function properly to handle the herculean task of governance.

“So you have Adebayo of SDP, you have Peter Obi of Labour and then you have the old man who I believe ought not to be contesting election, the APC, Jagbaban and then Atiku. Atiku can no longer stand very well to press the computer. Tinubu can no longer stand to press the computer so if you people want this country to go forward, you have the three of them to play with but my choice and if you are my friend is to vote for SDP.

On insinuation making the round in some part of the state that he had joined SDP and obtained the governorship ticket as tool to be use by Okowa to divide Urhobo’s vote during the general election, Gbagi maintained; “I have told you that Okowa is a brother and he will remain a brother. But on principles, no principles, Okowa cannot use me to do anything like that. Nobody in this world, and he knows nobody can use me to do anything except God. Infact, one of the reasons why Okowa after seven years of agreement decided to do what he is doing now, I am still watching him, is that he said I cannot be controlled. How can you control me? What I am looking for is that you want to control me? To do what? In this world? Nothing! Nothing can buy my conscience, nothing can change my mind.

Fielding questions from journalists on the position of Edwin Clark’s led Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum, Gbagi said; “E.K Clark is my father as you know. The only difference is that he is not my biological father but in all sense of the word is my father. E.K Clark, as he said on the news, he told me five years ago that Okowa is lying to me and I told him I am ready to part ways with him, and that I believe Okowa but Okowa have proved E.K Clark right.

“So what I am saying to you is that I am a Southerner and I will support a Southerner. I ask all Southerners, all the churches, all the teachers and pensioners and everybody in the South that if you doesn’t support the shift of power from the North to the South, your children will die slaves. Your children, children children will die as slaves. We cannot, we all own this country, we believe in this country and I don’t hate any Northerner. Some of you who came to this party, saw emirs, and people from the North who are my great friends but we agreed. Once North, once South. Any of you who do anything to thwart that effort to bring governance to the South of Nigeria, I don’t care who is in the South. Like I said Adebayo is there, Peter Obi is there and an old man, if he wants to be in politics, is there.  We must bring the government to the South for eight years and take the government back to the North for eight years. That’s the most equitable thing as a lawyer I will support. Anything to the contrary is dead on arrival. Nobody will support that”.

He said that the 2023 general election would not be on the premise of political parties but personality, adding that he doesn’t need to set up the structure of SDP in every nook and cranny of the state to win election.

“The election we are going to hold in 2023 will not be on the basis of structure. Market women will vote, they don’t have any structure, school teachers will vote, they don’t have any structure, pensioners will vote, they don’t have any structure, churches and church goers will vote and they don’t have any structure.

“It will be an election where you’re supposed to pick somebody that you believe can guarantee the future of your pregnancy, the future of your children and future of your state and the future of your children yet unborn.

“I’m a Deltan fortunately and I’m proud to say I am one of them. Among all of us that have been thrown up as governorship candidates , the choice is yours. If you want to pick somebody who will dirty the state that we already have, it is your business. If you want the state to develop to where you can sit down in your house and for whatever you participate in and whatever you want to do, you go to teach and get your salary as at when due, you finish pension you get your money as at when due, is your business. provided you will not complain after the 29th of May 2023. If you participated in selling your birthright for a package of maggi or package of rice or being bribed  and being told a story. I resonate to work with the youth of the state, to work with pensioners, to work with teachers, to work with doctors and work with anybody and everybody that means well for Delta state.

“So the issue of structure has nothing to do. You don’t have to have a structure. Everybody knows me in Delta state already and knows me for what I stand for so if you believe I can do the work, vote!. I am running under SDP and for your information, this is the first time in my life I am going to run in an election with any political party. A lot of lies have been told. People who don’t do research or understand will say oh he wants to contest again? I have never contested an election before. This is the first time I am going to be on the ballot , I am going to contest the election and I can assure you I will win the election”.

He noted that among those jostling for the governorship seat, he was more competent and experienced and exposed to emerge as the next governor of the state.

“As you know, I am a Nigerian and take it or leave it, by the grace of God, among all these gladiators you see today who are telling stories that they want to be governor, I am their senior brother in the profession of politics. I am the only one who has served this country at a cabinet level as a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria. What have any of them done compared to what I have done?

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