By Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe Esq
This is certainly not the time for blame games, rather it is the proper time to stay focused, united and tenacious for the actualization of the collective electioneering desires of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, political family in Delta State, so as to record yet another superlative landslide victory at the polls in 2023.
Of a truth, DC-23 consultation across the three senatorial districts must be commended. It was well intended on the basis of power shift to Delta Central in 2023, and I am very proud of the remarkable achievements so far recorded by the group, notwithstanding the crisis generated by the outcome of the screening exercise which finally produced three most outstanding aspirants!; Rt Hon Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, JP, Chief Kenneth Gbagi and Chief David Edevbie. However, the screening appears to have infringed on their fundamental rights to aspire for the office of governor of Delta State.
As it were, the three finalists are prominent sons of Urhobo nation, so also are the other nine aspirants who were either screened out or did not present themselves for screening by DC-23. It is on record that two outstanding aspirants did not show up at DC-23 screening exercise namely: Rt Hon Festus Ovie Agad and Dr Peter Mrakpor, SAN.
Agas and Mrakpor are notable public figures, both are lawyers while Mrakpor rose through the ranks to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and Delta State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, a member of the Body of Benchers in Nigeria.
The gospel truth is that those who concioysly subjected themselves to DC-23 screening impliedly agreed to accept the outcome of the exercise, and therefore lacks the moral justification to reject the committee’s results. You cannot eat your cake and have it.
Those sacked by DC-23 should know that they now have serious eligibility problems which obviously requires God’s intervention for any of them to win at the party primaries. They should consistently thank the governor for a guaranteed free, fair and transparent primaries, otherwise the door would have been permanently closed against them in this dispensation, as far as their 2023 governorship ambition is concerned.
Agas is a highly experienced politician, cool, calm and calculated, never antagonistic but results oriented. He is a political associate and friend of the governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, and served as Director General of Okowa Campaign Organisation prior to clinching the governorship ticket of PDP in 2014. He was a Deputy Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, former Secretary to Delta State Governor and currently Chief of Staff.
Agas’s wife who is now a Permanent Secretary was the pioneer Director General of 05 Initiative, a pet project of our amiable Mama Delta, Her Excellency, the First Lady, Dame Edit Okowa. Therefore, the Agas family is an integral part of the Okowa family and impliedly members of Okowa Political Dynasty/Delta Political Vanguard, DPV.
As you read this piece, Agas is still very much in the race because he did not at any material time announced his back off from the governorship race. I guess he is at the moment focusing on government business and may decide to assemble his team before party primaries sooner or later in the year. Of course, anything can happen and Agas is eminently qualified, got all it takes to sustain and build on this administration’s Stronger Delta Mantra.
It is therefore safe to assert that Agas is still very much in the 2023 governorship equation as an interested party. He may as well be lucky to pull the winning card at the party primaries.
On the other hand, Mrakpor SAN, is still very much in the race, DC-23 screening or no screening. He is an interested party and a major stakeholder in the scheme of things as far as the 2023 governorship election is concerned. Mrakpor appears to be another factor to reckon with because of his close working relationship with governor Okowa, and as a legal icon who was at the centre of all electioneering legal issues of the governor in 2015 and 2019.
Mrakpor served as the State Honourable Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General for six years in this administration and was the Chairman of College of Commissioners in the state. His name was the first I ever heard as one of the persons likely to be considered for the number one job in 2023. However, he has unresolved issues with his marriage to one of the political Amazons of the Anioma nation, Rt Hon Joan Mrakpor, which became a public issue yet to be resolved. A school of thought reasoned that the pending matrimonial issues if not reconciled may jeopardise Dr Mrakoor’s chances of pulling the winning card at the party primaries.
The above circumstances not withstanding, another school of thought opined that good governance and visionary leadership must be separated from marriage but viewed against the background of the person, character and antecedents of the individual and his ability to deliver dividends of democracy.
Those in favour of Mrakpor’s candidacy averred that Dr Nelson Mandela put away his wife and served efficiently and effectively as South Africa’s Black President, with a companion by his side.
The 1999 constitution did not expressly say that a governorship candidate or a governor must be married, and the office of the First Lady of a State is not also expressly enshrined in the subsisting constitution of Nigeria, as amended. And who knows, Mrakpor may either reconcile his differences with Joan or get another wife or a companion before party primaries and may still be the man after governor Okowa’s heart for the number one job. Most importantly, Peter and Joan had children together and will always be one united family, with or without valid marriage.
Therefore, it is also very safe to assert that Peter Mrakpor, SAN, is still very much in the political equation for 2023 governorship race.
To all the aspirants, you are the pride of Delta State, eminently qualified to hustle for the number one job. Nothing do unah! However, we must remain focused and united for a common goal. Our party leader and governor, Senator Dr Okowa already laid a solid foundation and built enduring structures for a Stronger Delta, and whoever emerges at the party primaries as PDP gubernatorial candidate should be accepted and supported to win the election.
This is key, because there are rumours making the rounds that a particular political sub family with the PDP larger family may urge their preferred candidate to pick the governorship ticket of another party should he fail to get it in PDP. This option, if it is true, must be jettisoned, it will not change the fact that Delta is PDP and PDP is Delta State.
Good luck to all the aspirants and by divine intervention, the best among the equals will emerge as successor to our pragmatic, visionary and promise keeper leader and governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, come 2023.
We must remain united and collapse political structures to deliver whoever emerges as PDP gubernatorial flag bearer, so as to sustain rapid socioeconomic and infrastructure development across the three senatorial districts.
Stronger Delta, Let’s build together!
About the writer: Chief Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, Esq, JP, is the Executive Assistant to Delta State Governor on Communications, and Chairman, Coalition for Media Politics and Governance, CPMG, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He is a lawyer, Justice if the Peace and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Information and Strategy Management, Fcim.