ANIOCHA/OSHIMILI: This was a clear cut battle between Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and the rest in Aniocha/Oshimili Federal constituency. In the end, Elumelu won convincingly and Delta Focus has it on good authority that he is the PDP Delta candidate for the Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency. lumelu defeated six other contestants, Benibe Ugboko, Olanrewaju Monu, Nnamdi Onochie, Ben Okonkwo, Theodora Giwa-Amu and Tom Okonma to clinch the ticket.
But there is a palpable threat hanging over his candidature as the Economic and Finacial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated categorically that it will not drop charges against any politician, no matter who he is.
It will be recalled that Hon. Elumelu is still in court over charges levelled against him and some members of his ersthwile House of Representatives Committe on Power and INEC has made it clear that it will disqualify any candidate who is indicted for any criminal offence.
Many Delta watchers are therefore looking very closely at the emergence of Alanza Uche Ugbomah, under the aegis of the Accord Party, for the Aniocha/Oshimili Federal constituency. Alanza Ugbomah is a staunch PDP Chieftain and close ally of state PDP chairman Peter Nwaoboshi. He is also said to be a strong loyalist of the Dr. Okowa camp and many pundits are of the opinion that there is more to his emergence under the Accord Party than meets the eye.
The Ika Federal constituency primary matter turned out to be a different kettle of fish altogether. The acrimony which had existed in the run-up to the Delta North senatorial battle between the supporters of the two key senatorial aspirants and political figures in Ikaland spilled over in lower elections. There had been rumours that incubent Hon. Doris Uboh had been asked by the party leadership to step down for a favoured candidate of the party hierarchy. But the equation changed when the Appael Court in Benin annuled the April 2007 governorship elections.
The emergence of Rt. Hon Sam Obi as the acting governor of the state created a new balance of power in the PDP politics of Ikaland which saw former SSG, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa gaining more prominence than the rest. The paramount aim was to return Dr. Uduaghan as governor in the scheduled re-run election, but the political horse trading that follwed saw power shifting to the Okowa camp.
In the Primary for the Ika Federal Constituency, Hon. Doris Uboh was faced with a situation where she was clearly an underdod inspite of her incumbency and she and other like Ben Obuh and Magnus Onyibe were roundly trounced by Barrister Victor Nwokolo, who is reported to be in the Okowa camp.
Nwokolo won with the backing of Okowa as delegates of Ika North East PDP voted overwhelmingly for Nwokolo who is from Igbodo while Ika South PDP members split their votes between Nwokolo, Nwugo and Ben Obuh.
When the votes were collated, Nwokolo got the highest number of votes followed by Nwugo with Ben Obuh emerging third. Hon. Doris Uboh got very few votes. When she read the writing on the wall she stormed out of the venue.
This result was also a big humiliation for Ben Obuh who has lost a lot of political credibility in Ika South because of his unwaivering support for Okowa. It was assumed that Okowa would pay Obuh back by supporting him but a reliable source informed Ikaworld.com that Okowa told Ben Obuh his friend that he (Obuh) is not a House of Reps material. Okowa instead threw his support behind Nwokolo.
In fact the matter had been so sensitive that members of the PDP Ika South and Ika North East had vowed to resist any attempt by leaders of the party in alliance with some clique in the presidency to substitute Victor Nwokolo as the candidate for Ika Federal Constituency and had threatened to cause civil disobedience if the result is tampered with. The aggrieved members, displaying the result of the primary duly signed by INEC agents and PDP officials, claimed that as soon as Nwokolo won the primary, party leaders began to make effort to impose Doris Uboh who came a distant fourth on them citing interest from the presidency.
Many watchers had even pointed accusing fingers at the first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan as responsible for the decision to impose Doris Uboh on the Ika Federal constituency, following the poor showing of Mrs. Sarah Jibril at the Presidential primaries and harsh criticisms that her Womenfor Change Initiative, inspite the nationwide jamboree tours and 35% demand from States Houses of Assembly, had done little to improve the lot of women in the political arena.
The national PDP was reported to have ordered a re-run of the primary as well as the Senatorial primary, but as at press time Delta Focus could not confirm if that ordered re-run was conducted, as most of the delegates who would have participated, including Victor Nwokolo, were at the Cenotaph in Asaba, for the Senatorial primary, which Okowa won.
In a further twist to the tale,Victor Nwokolo’s lawyer, Barrister Festus Keyamo issued a statement to emphasize the victory of his client. The statement reads thus: “Our attention has just been drawn to the misguided rumours making rounds that our client, Barrister Victor Nwokolo, the lawful candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, having won the PDP Primaries held on 9th of January, 2011, has stepped down for Engr. Doris Uboh, who scored only Nine (9) votes as against our client’s Two Hundred and Fifty Eight (258) votes in the said primaries.”
According to the statement: “The said rumour has no truth in it but a calculated propaganda being paraded by agents of falsehood in order to divert the attention of well meaning Nigerians to the obvious futility of the so-called re-run primary election taking place in Asaba, Delta State.”
Going further, the statement said: “May we reiterate that our client, Barrister Victor Nwokolo is still and will continue to be the lawful candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the House of Representatives in Ika Federal Constituency. Our client has deliberately refused to participate in the purported re-run primaries knowing fully well that such event is not only illegal but an exercise in futility and our client is not and will never be part of such an illegality.
In conclusion the statement categorically affirms that: “The general public should be informed that our client is still much in the race and will never sell the mandate of the good people of Ika Federal Constituency. To defend this mandate, he has since filed a suit in the Federal High Court, Abuja in Suit No.:FHC/ABJ/CS/85/2011, which was duly served on both INEC and PDP”, adding that; “Nigerians should therefore discountenance any rumour or statement to the effect that our client has stepped down for anybody as such statement is obvious falsehood, malicious and calculated to divert attention of the reality on ground.
So will Nwokolo be the candidate of the Ika Federal Constituency?
Controversy Trails Ochei’s Victory in Aniocha North; Mrakpor Clears Aniocha South; Okonji Wins Oshimili South, but… ; Sam Obi, Martin Okonta Win Ika Amid Protests
The House of Assembly primaries in three of the four constituencies of Delta North all ended in controversy. The primary in Aniocha North was particularly acrimonious as incumbent member of the Delta state House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Ochei, found himself in hot battle with the political leaders of the local government, who were bent on unseating him.
Ochei had been embroiled in a supremacy battle for the leadership of Aniocha political structure with Hon. Ndudi Elumelu after the dismantling of the Godswill Obielum political camp in 2007 and things came to a head when both men were declared winners in their respective elections.
Both men also had a very cordial relationship with Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in their different capacities, but Elumelu soon achieved the upper hand and consolidated his grip on the power structure by empowering several young politicians in his stable to take over the party leadership at the grassroots in the Aniocha axis.
It was little wonder therefore that when the time for primaries came Ochei was faced with some very formidable opponents. Emma Dibia, Emeke Ohaegbunam, Osi Okocha, Steve Mmah and Ejimofor Anazia had all been in the running and were seen as the real contenders. In fact Ochei had been reportedly voted out of reckoning in the mock primaries of the Local government House of Assembly seat and the main contenders were said to be Osi Okocha and Ejimofor Anazia.
However, word had gone round that the leadership of the PDP in the state had insisted on returning Victor Ochei as the party’s candidate for the April 2011 election. Impeccable sources told Delta Focus that some finacial leverage had even been provided to ensure compliance by the delegates but it was later learnt that the delegates were short changed and given far less than what had been suggested. The delegates got wind of this greedy act and decided to disobey the leadership of the party.
But on the day of the primary, a different scenario played out. According to the chaiman of the party in Aniocha North local government, Chief Namadi Mohanye, in a letter written to the national secretariat of the party, no primaries had been conducted in Aniocha local government for the nomination of candidate for Delta State House of Assembly.
He said that the congress for Aniocha North local government area failed to take place on Saturday, January 8, 2011, because the INEC returning officer who was delegated to conduct the primaries appeared at St Martins Primary School, Issele Uku, without the original result sheet which was the reason for rescheduling of the election.
The letter by Chief Mohanye further stated that the attempt by Hon. Ochei to unilaterally impose himself on the people by claiming that he was the winner of an election that did not take place was an insult on the intelligence of the people.
In a related development, an Abuja High Court also issued an injunction restraining Engr Victor Ochei from parading himself as the candidate of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party for Delta North local government in Delta State House of Assembly.
Ochei, who represents Aniocha North is also restrained from commencing any form of campaign directly or by proxy until a substantive suit challenging his purported nomination has been disposed off.
One of the aggrieved aspirants Mr. Osi Sam Okocha, had instituted the suit challenging the propriety of Hon. Ochei to parade himself as a candidate for the April election on the platform of PDP when he did not contest the primary as stipulated by section 87 of the 2010 electoral act.
The plaintiff is praying the court to direct the Delta State Peoples’ Democratic Party to hold the special congress and conduct primaries in Aniocha North Constituency for the position of member of Delta State House of Assembly.
The litigant aver that the Peoples’ Democratic Party has no right to foward the name of Hon. Victor Ochei as its candidate for the April 2011 Election for the Aniocha North Local Government when INEC failed to conduct a valid primaries or special congress between January 8, 2011 to January 12, 2011 when shoddy preparations on the part of INEC officials created rooms for unilateral and self declaration of Hon. Victor Ochei. Also joined in the suite is the Independent National Election Commission which botched the proposed primaries.
Mr. Osi is asking the court to direct INEC to conduct a proper primary for the area and give the indigenes the opportunity to exercise their fundament human right to choose their representatives as it customary with constitutional democracy.
And as if all these were not enough trouble for Ochei, the former deputy governor of Delta State, Chief Benjamin Elue, who was once regarded as Ochie’s political godfather but has since fallen out with the Honorable member, also expressed anger over the alleged imposition of Victor Ochie as the PDP candidate representing Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state as candidate for State House of Assembly election in April 2011.
A youth leader in the area, Mr. Peter Odah who attended a meeting where Elue expressed his worries said Elue “was even surprised to hear that Ochei’s name had been forwarded to PDP national headquarters in Abuja.”
In his petition to PDP national secretariat, the youth leader said: “Youths of Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State are clamouring for justice, while threatening to decamp to opposition party if the primary election is not held. So let us act fast to avert this for the interest of our Great Party PDP,” Odah told PDP national chairman in his petition.
The petition, it was learnt, came on the heels of the alleged involvement of the state Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in the said imposition of Hon. Ochei for the House of Assembly polls in the area.
However, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Gov. Uduaghan, Mr. Sunny Ogefere denied the alleged involvement of his boss, saying: “His Excellency does not impose anyone on any constituency.”
However, as Deltans await who INEC will endorse as the PDP Aniocha North House of Assembly candidate for THE April 2011 polls, many will be wondering if Governor Udughan will keep the promise he made, during his meetings with political office seekers in Delta state, that he will not endorse anybody for the polls, will be fulfilled.
ANIOCHA SOUTH: Hon. (Mrs.) Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor, the incumbent member representing Aniocha-South Constituency of the Delta State House of Assembly, coasted home to a convincing victory in the Aniocha South primay. She scored 106 votes to defeat the incumbent chairman of the council, Mr. Emmanuel Soroku, who had 50 votes while Isaac Anwuzia polled 15 votes. Chris Nwauokoni scored 18 votes and Nathaniel Igbadi had 5 votes.
However, some sources told Delta Focus that the sound of what was suspected to be gunshots were heard at the venue of the primary and these sources claim that eye witnesses reported that a particular candidate hired some hirelings who allegedly disrupted proceedings and scared away potential delegates as a ploy to allow for multiple voting by sympathizers of the said candidate. This report could however not be substantiated and as at press time the only recognized candidate for the PDP Aniocha South seat is Hon. Joan Mrakpor.
OSHIMILI SOUTH: What appears to be a major upset was recorded in Oshimili south when incumbent Hon. Emeka Okonji was reportedly defeated by Hon Peter Onwusanya, in a primary that also featured incumbent Council chairman, Izuka Okolo. The exercise, according to eye witness reports, was acclaimed to be largely free and fair except for a few moments when some hirelings, said to be recruited by one of the aspirants, attempted to disrupt the process through violence.
But reprts reaching Delta Focus, suggest that the name of Hon. Okonji may have been the one forwarded by the state PDP to INEC as he is seen as the favored candidate of the leadership of the party. But there is also another dimesion to the matter. Peter Onwusanya is said to belong to the camp of Dr. Mrs Mariam Ali, while Okonji allegedly belongs to the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa camp. Mrs Ali is the favoured candidate of the party in the state instead of Okowa and analysts opine that there may be a likely harmonization arrangement where some people will be harmonized out of the list in order to accommodate a balance of equal representation in the final list. This will however be possible if both Mrs. Ali and Dr. Okowa agree to the terms of any harmonization arrangement and analysts believe that they will never agree. So the die is cast for Okonji and Onwusanya.
OSHIMILI NORTH: The peculiar case of Oshimili North is that the incumbent member of the House of Assemblyn Princess Pat Ajuduah belongs to the Accord party. However, the arrangement between the PDP and Accord party which gave her victory 2007, has since been diluted and although she has enjoyed a cordial relationship with her fellow members of the Assembly as Minority leader, she has however remained in the Accord party and feelers reaching Delta Focus indicate that the recent disgraceful attitude of party chairman Peter Nwaoboshi, who is from the Local government area, over the PDP Senatorial primaries, has led the key political figures in Oshimili North to flock to Accord party in droves and adopt Princess Ajuduah as the new political leader in the Local government area.
In the PDP congress held in Ika North East 8th January 2011, Hon. Sam Obi was re-elected to fly the PDP flag for Delta State House of assembly in the April election. However, one of the aspirants who lost in that primary, a certain Mr Odiase, has castitigated the way and manner Hon. Sam Obi emerged and directed his legal council to write to that effect.
The story in Ika South was even more controversial as the incumbent and one time Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Martin Okonta, sought to reclaim his seat. Delta Focus learnt that Dr. Cairo Ojougbo had withdrawn his support for Martins Okonta for the House of Assembly, before the primaries and thrown his support behind one Barr Nwaolokor. However, a reliable source in Ika politics revealed that Gov. Uduaghan had allegedly insisted that Martins Okonta should be returned. This did not go down well with the people and in the heat of the moment Dr. Ojougbo and Martins Okonta almost exchanged blows, according to eye witness reports at the venue of the primary.
Many pundits aver that Dr. Cairo Ojougbo may have seen the writing on the wall and his change of mind may have been influenced by what appears to be the overwhelming rejection of Martins Okonta by people of Ika South. However, Hon. Martin Okonta won the primary and it is anybody’s guess how that can be changed now that the list has been submitted.
Our source also revealed that the performance of the DPP in Ika South during the recent Gubernatorial re-run may have emboldened some disaffected PDP members to start making moves to decamp to DPP. These include the Hon. Noye Philips (Agbokigboro) who although participating in today’s congress is not happy with the internal PDP politics that could cost him his current seat. This disaffection was also said to have been exacerbated by news that Delta State PDP Chairman Barr. Nwaoboshi asked all aspirants for the House of Representatives to step down for Hon. Doris Uboh but that was flatly rejected. But the aspirants refused and insisted that the people should elect their representative.
Controversy Over Amori in Central; …As Manager, Mutu Emeyese Others Win
In the Delta Central Senatorial District, Chief Ighoyota Amori (JP) was reported to have defeated Honourable Halim Agoda and Chief Charles Obule at the Senate primary election held at the Ughelli Township Stadium, in a primary that was reportedly marred by gross violence and irregularities perpetrated by one of the candidates.
Protests ensued immediately after the primary and the PDP national secretariat had to order a re-run, which also ended in fiasco, following the invasion of the Ughelli township stadium venue of the exercise by armed youths suspected to be supporters of one of the contenders.
Delegates, officials of the PDP who came from Abuja to conduct the elections, scampered for safety, following sporadic shooting by the aggrieved armed thugs.
According to eye witness reports, the rampaging youths dared the heavy presence of security agents, forced their way into the stadium, undermined the presence of the State Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama and four local government council chairmen and had a field day with their disruption of the exercise. Although no casualty was recorded, reports had it that only Uvwie Local Government Area had voted when the protest that stalled the election started.
Eye witness reports confirm that trouble started when the list to be used for Sapele local government, was outrightly rejected following the allegation raised by Chief Charles Obule, Hon. Agoda, Chief Elizabeth Ogbon Day and Chief Bernard Edewor that the delegates list was doctored from Abuja and should not be used in the rerun election.
However, the members representing Okpe and Sapele Local Government constituencies in the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Efe Afe and Chief Monday Igbuya argued that the list was not doctored, saying that it was the list of the party’s 2008 congress.
According to them, the party in the State had not conducted another congress after the 2008 congress and thus the authentic list was the one drawn from that congress of 2008.
The intervention of the State Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama who was present at the primary election could not save the situation as the contestants engaged in hot exchange of words, pointing accusing fingers at one another.
With this development therefore, it is only logical to conclude that Chief Ighoyota Amori may have clinched the ticket for the Delta central senatorial seat and his name may be the one forwarded to INEC as the candidate of the PDP for the April 2011 polls.
Other results show that Mrs. Evelyn Ojokhavo was declared winner in Okpe/Uvwie Federal Constituency, former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Frank Enikhorogha is the party’s flag bearer for Burutu, Olorogun Akpodiagaga Emeyese for Okpe, Mr. Solomon Ahwinawhi for Ughelli/Udu; and Mr. Daniel Reyeneaju for Warri federal constituencies respectively.
Mrs. Irene Imilar won in Warri-South 1, while Mrs. Omawumi Udoh won in Warri-North and Mrs. Faith Majemite in Ethiope-East.
In the Delta South Senatorial District, incumbent Senator James Manager was declared the winner, Mr. Leo Ogor for Isoko; Nicholas Mutu, who is running for a fourth-term in Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency; and former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Frank Enikhorogha, who is the party’s flag-bearer for Burutu.
All the other members in the Delta state House of Assembly who were seeking re-election were reported to have all been returned in their Delta Central and Delta South constituencies.