DELTA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS: PROFILES OF TOP CANDIDATES (I): DELTA NORTH SENATORIAL ZONE- NED NWOKO

Finally, the April 2011 general elections are here at last. All the politicking, the preparations, the campaignings, the smears, the numerous successful and failed attempts by candidates to undo each other from the primaries, the decampings and re-positionings, the various flashpoints and political strategising and indeed the litigations some of which are still on-going, have finally condensed into this one crucial event;the elections.
For the next three weeks, starting from April 2, 2011, the political temperature in Delta State will rise to boiling point and even over heat in some areas as the battle for the democratic soul of the state rages across the three senatorial zones. The dates for the elections have been scheduled as follows: National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) April 2, 2011; President: April 9, 2011; Governors and Houses of Assembly: April 16, 2011.
The first of the elections is for the National Assembly seat and Deltans will go to the polls to elect those they feel are best qualified to represent them in Abuja and bring the dividends of democracy to them as distributed from the source.
The candidates contesting for these seats are all unique and diverse in their own individual ways but the real issue in this election has to do with the circumstances which threw them up and informed their judgements to contest under the various platforms they have chosen. In this regard therefore,some very key battle grounds have emerged across the three senatorial zones.

DELTA NORTH
The political situation across Delta North is quite interesting not just in the four nationalities that make up the Anioma axis but indeed amongst the political parties and candidates vying for virtually all the key elective positions.
SENATE: In the Delta North Senatorial race, the leading candidates are the former Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who is running on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) and one-time House of Representatives member Hon Ned Nwoko of the Democratic People Party (DPP). However, there is also Chief Onwukamike of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who is likely to be the dark Horse in the race.
PRINCE NED NWOKO: He was born on the 21st December 1960 and hails from Idumuje-Ugboko in Aniocha North LGA, Delta State. A london trained Lawyer, Ned attended the University of Keele (England), where he obtained a BA (Hons) Law and History with subsidiary Subject of Biology and American Studies. He then proceeded to Kings College, University of London, LLM, where he majored in Insurance, Maritime, Company and Commercial Law, after which he became eligible for the prestigious Inn of Court School of Law-BL (Barrister at Law of Lincoln’s Inn. London). He also attended the College of Law – London where he got the QLTT (Solicitor of the supreme court of England and Wales) and the Commonwealth University College, Belize, where he bagged the D.LITT (Doctor of Letters).
Ned Nwoko has also served as; Ex-legal adviser to Nigeria liberal Party, Europe; Visiting Advisor, Citizens Advice Bureau, London; Member of the Society of Black Lawyers, United Kingdom; Elected member of Law Society, England and Wales and Ex- Secretary General, Nigeria Legal Practitioners, United Kingdom, amongst other high brow positions of responsibility.
His Career experience include the following; He has worked as Legal Assistance, Kumar’s Solicitors, Ealing London; Crown Persecution Service, London; Solicitor and Partner, Pascalides & Co., 243 Grays Inn Road, London and Principal Partner, Ned Nwoko Solicitors,2 Beaufort Road, Eailing, London W53EA.
His areas of specialization are Civil and Criminal Litigation, including insurance, personal Injury, international conflict of laws, Immigration, Matrimonial law, wills and Probate, Commercial and Domestic Conveyance, Company Commercials including matters.
An accomplished writer and social commentator, Ned Nwoko has the following publications to his name: Ten articles in immigration law in the united kingdom including “Advise on Arrest and Detention”. “Appeals procedure”. Judicial Review and Deportation.”.” Legal Aid.”; The jury system- a case for Nigeria; Two articles on company directors and their duties; The duty of utmost good faith in insurance law; Race discrimination law in England(fortnightly); Review of the provision of police and criminal evidence Act 1984; West Africa-20october 1995, the legal base for political progress. His Books include: Early Missionary Activities in Midwest of Nigeria (date of publication : 1991); You, The Police and Criminal Law Procedure- England & Wales (1991); NIGERIA: Time for all hands on deck- ( 1995).
In 1999 Ned Nwoko was Elected Member,House of Representatives, representing Aniocha North/South and Oshimili North / South Federal Constituency of Delta State. While in the House Ned Nwoko was an active member of several committees including: Aviation, Defence, Foreign Affairs Committees. He was also the Chairman, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and Leader, Millennium Group- (House of Representatives)-AGroup Dedicated to Fostering Closer Ties with Public, Legislators and Executive.
It is on record that while in the House of Representatives Ned was one of the most active Legislators and it is to his credit that he sponsored over 20 bills including those which impacted on some very key sectors like: A Bill for the establishment of a National Information Network Centre; A bill for an Act establishing a National Disability allowance; National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) reform bill (2000); A bill for the establishment of a National minimum wages council; A Bill for an Act for the Protection of Nigerians Abroad; A Bill for the Amendment of the Firearms Act; A Bill for the Prohibition of Expensive Burial Rites in Nigeria; A Bill for an Act for Community Legal Service; A Bill for an for The Convening of A National Conference and A Bill for an Act for Establishing A National Sports University, amongst others.
Prince Ned Nwoko has also been involved in some very high brow Special Assignments in Nigeria and for Nigeria. He was the Presidential Emissary to Ghana 2000 {Pre-Election & Post-Election}, he has undertaken Presidential Visits to London{Twice}, Presidential Visits to Libya{2000}, 4 Presidential Visits to New York{2000}, 5 Parliamentary Visit with the Minister of State For Defence to Romania & Israel{2000}, Parliamentary Visit with The Chief of Army Staff to London & Israel{2000}, Parliamentary Visits with Chief of Army Staff to Romania & Israel {2000}, 8 Parliamentary to Geneva on The Inspection of Nigerian Mission{2000}, and Parliamentary Visits to International Civil Aviation Authority {ICAO} Montreal, Canada.
His profile as a well connected Nigerian in both the national and international community, is revealed with his appointments into several advisory positions. He has been the Chairman Boxing Federation of Nigeria; Legal Adviser to The Nigerian Govt. at The United Nations/International Court of Justice on Bakassi Boundary Dispute and at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva; Adviser to The Ghanaian Govt; 4. Adviser to Guinean Govt; Adviser to Gambian Govt; Adviser to The Executive Secretary of Ecowas; Adviser to The Interim Govt. Of Liberia; National Vice-Chairman Cassava Exporters Association of Nigeria; Legal Adviser to Malian Embassy and Member National Peace Forum. He is currently Acting as Legal Consultant to Various Govt. Parastatals and Agencies as a solicitor of the supreme court of England and Wales, amongst others.
As a result of his good works, Ned Nwoko is the recepient of several important awards both from his immediate constituency and the national community. These awards include; Grand National Distinction Achievement Award by the People Democratic Party (PDP) National Grass Root Forum 2003; Special recognition award by the Hero of Delta Millennium Award 2003; Certificate of Merit/Award by Aniocha North Local Government Council, Delta State.2002; Africa leadership Excellence Gold Award 2002 by Leadership Watch International; Distinguished Leadership Role Award by people state &resource (PSR) magazine 2003; Xclusive Magazine Award Excellence by Law Student’s Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN) 2003 and Ambassador for Peace Award by the Inter Religious and International Federal for World Peace2006 to mention but few.
It will be recalled that after he left the House of Representatives in 2003, Ned Nwoko contested for the Governorship of Delta state, under the All Progressive Grand Alliance Party (APGA). This was after some high wire political intrigue had barred him form contesting under the the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). He lost that election to former Governor James Ibori.
In 2007, Ned Nwoko returned again to the elective trail but this time to contest for the Senate under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He was reported to have won the primaries held at the Oshimili Arcade, Asaba, over the likes of Mrs Mariam Ali, but a series of plots, including an allegation that he was in possession of firearms and the yet to be healed rift between him and the Ibori dynasty over the decision to contest the governorship in 2003, ensured that incumbent Senator, Patrick Osakwe was returned under the Accord Party, seen at that time as the surrogate partner of the PDP.
Ned Nwoko had warmed himself once again to contest the primaries for the Delta North Senatorial seat under the PDP, but was compelled to withdraw from the race after it became obvious that the leaders of the party in the state were allegedly attempting to foist a particular candidate on the people. The primaries was won by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa in very dramatic circumstances but by then Ned Nwoko had already decamped to the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), where he was gladly given the ticket to contest against Okowa.
It is believed in most quarters in Delta North that Prince Ned Nwoko may have have an edge over the other contenders for the position as a result of what many have come to regard as his out-spokenness and commitment over the years towards the total liberation of the people of Anioma and indeed Deltans, from the clutches of bad governance.
His catalogue of antecedents and evidence of his contributions to the socio-economic development of the area have also been pointed to as references to his edge over the others and as a result he has been described as the best candidate to fulfill the aspirations of the Anioma people in the Senate in the April 2011 elections. His qualities include the fact that he has been an experienced parliamentarian who has already served Anioma people meritoriously in the House of Representaives where he was famous for sponsoring the highest number of bills (23), including the Minimun wage bill, and the gender empowerment bill , amongst others.
He is said to be the first and only known legislator who donated his furniture allowance throughout his serving years to the award of scholarships to many Delta North students in higher institutions within and outside the country and it has also been pointed out that Ned Nwoko was equally instrumental to the construction of the Benin/Onitsha express and the OnitshaUgbo-Ewohimi-Abuja expressway.
His supporters claim that he equally enjoys the support of the people at the grassroots and it has been reported that he is received by large crowds where ever he goes. Traditional rulers have used their traditional methods of the town crier to mobilise the peoples of their domain to come and welcome the man they see as the flagbearer and mouth piece of the people. The Obuzor, Obi Nwaboshi has even linked the pivotal role played by Ned Nwoko’s forbears in the original agitation for the creation of Anioma to the present and has hailed Ned inheriting this fight and even right from his days as a parliamentarian, and his massive assistance and contributions to the several delegations which have visited Abuja over the years to continue this agitation.
The name Ned Nwoko over the years has a clear identity through his aspirations for Anioma, hence he is seen today as the only symbol of recognition of the ideas of the entire Anioma indigenes at home and in the Diaspora and there is a general feeling amongst agitators of states creation that Ned Nwoko has won widespread acceptance as the man with the torchlight to lead Anioma people to the promised land-their long desired ‘Anioma State’.
Prince Ned Nwoko has also been seen in the days leading up to the election, as “the number one political leader of the opposition in Delta North” to the extent that there is now a new interpretation for the acronyn NED, which is; New Era for Delta.
Speaking on his chances, Ned Nwoko has this to say: “every Deltan is free and eligible to contest the election and no Deltan should be denied the right to express their civic right or responsibility in the electoral process. The PDP should stop intimidating political opponents because the era of intimidation was over in Delta State. Deltans will resist every attempt by any politcal party or individual to rig the forthcoming April polls and the PDP should endeavour to respect the mandate of the people.Deltans deserved to be given the government of their choice and should be allowed to elect the representatives of choice in a free and fair election”.
According to him: “We are ready for change. Our governorship candidate Chief Great Ogboru faced the huge PDP machinery all alone in the last re-run election and as a result of his popularity and the regime of imposition of candidates on the electorate, key politicians and important people are leaving the PDP in drooves and joining other parties including myself. Uduaghan is responsible for the decampings in the PDP and as you can see the real opposition is now in the DPP. Our symbol is the Pineapple and this is the symbol for change. We have credible candidates in our party now and we are ready to defeat the PDP in a free and fair election”, he said.
Speaking further Ned warned the ruling PDP thus: “You cannot rule by Force. The voter registration process was flawed because the PDP imported ghost voters to register in several local government areas in the state, all in an attempt to subvert the will of the people. The people will not accept this anymore”.
Whether the people will concur with what he has said or not remains to be seen as Deltans troop out to cast their votes for their preferred candidate.

2 thoughts on “DELTA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS: PROFILES OF TOP CANDIDATES (I): DELTA NORTH SENATORIAL ZONE- NED NWOKO

  1. Hon. Ned indeed you have fought and is still fighting for the realisation of the dream of every North Deltan. You have my support; at least as a Pastor, I have always told my Father you are my interest and I am assured and assure you that you will succeed. You are blessed, Hon. Ned.

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