Delta 2023: And Ibori Wept

By Annabel Ogheneganre


Iroghwo o… Koi! Iroghwo o… Koi! Iroghwo o… Eranvwe o o o!


In those days when men where men the expression, Iroghwo o…Koi, was such an uncommon battle-cry, that calls to mind the marshal qualities of the men in the society. The expression was never heard in the mouth of children or women. Only proven warriors who have killed in battles are permitted to raise the battle-cry, either to announce their victory after some dangerous exploits in taking human heads or before the act. In traditional African societies, when a man raises a machete and cries out with a resounding voice, boundless energy and venom, the aforementioned expression, he may have set his mind on taking lives.

Among the Ughievwen and Udu people, an ‘Ogbun’ is a man who has killed and having been initiated into the Igbun society, is permitted to raise the battle-cry in public with pride. The modern Ogbun may not be associated with killing but that was the reality in the past. When a man’s anger and bitterness boil over to the extent of raising this battle-cry, a provocation may have reached unbearable level and at that stage, he can take drastic measures to change situations and restore his dignity; his patience may have been stretched beyond limit; he is on the verge of losing his mind and whoever dares him in that state risks being hurt.

On Saturday March 19, 2022, during the declaration of Senator Ighoyota Amori for Senate in Mosogar, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, the former ebullient, tall and handsome Governor of Delta State raised that uncommon battle-cry, which underscore the fact that against all permutations and insinuations in public places, there is no understanding between the former Governor and the incumbent Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa on how 2023 should be managed. Before that day permutations had been widespread that Okowa and Ibori were meeting to disagree and agree on issues that concern 2023. But the bubble burst in Mosogar and Ibori declared in unmistaken terms that there are forces in the state that are working to undermine him, warning that those planning to undermine him in an attempt to disgrace him at the poll will be disgraced by God.

Chief Jame Ibori Declaring his support for Chief Ighoyota Amori

Ibori, who is believed to have produced his two successors, while endorsing Sen. Ighoyota Amori as his preferred candidate in PDP, noted that as a stakeholder in PDP and Urhobo nation, he should have a say on who becomes what in his senatorial district.

“I am behind and I will support Senator Ighoyota Amori every step on the way, and anybody, anyone conspiring, anybody that thinks that because I am now a former governor they want to conspire to disgrace me, God will disgrace all of them. This is not issue of money, all mothers should call their children to order, this is my senatorial district, I am a stakeholder in this party (PDP) and I am a stakeholder in Urhobo, this is my place of birth, I am with Senator Amori all the way’’.

What happened in Mosogar underscores the transiency of power. This was the same Ibori, who made and unmade senators with a snap of his fingers. He removed Senator Fred Brume with impunity and replaced him with Senator Felix Ibru. When the unpopular Senator Adego Eferakeya was to succeed Ibru, Ibori did not struggle to install him. He gave the words and they were obeyed. Senator Peter Nwaoboshe acknowledged the role played by Ibori in installing Governor Okowa in 2015. But here is the same Ibori, begging, pleading and struggling to install Amori a Senator. “Ibori is begging you and you are refusing? Please, support me to send Senator Ighoyota Amori to the Senate’’. These were the words of Ibori. This writer was broken after playing the video from the ceremony. This is not happening, I had screamed.

The Mosogar saga is a harbinger of what is coming ahead. The battle line has been drawn. Ibori and Okowa may not be in good terms and that reposes something ominous about 2023. When the titans clash, there shall be unintended consequences. Ibori’s stand on Chief Edevbie is resolute, and Okowa is seemingly determined to stand by his conviction about the Okpe axis. Ibori is taking Senator Amori to critical stakeholders in Delta Central to beg the people to support his choice. This is novel. Ibori never pleaded, he gave the command and that was all. Ibori may soften many hearts, but Amori may still have to work harder. He sinned against Evelyn Oboro and her supporters may find the pill too bitter to swallow. 2023 is not going to be easy for anybody. If Okowa and Ibori fail to strike any compromise and yield to each other on issues that pertain to 2023 general elections, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege may be the biggest beneficiary and winner in the end.

Dr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa should also remember that in a matter of months from now, he would be a former governor. Whatever he does to Ibori today also awaits him in the future. He was once Ibori’s boy but he seem to have made new friends and Ibori is no longer important to him, or so things seem. If the unfolding scenario is one political drama, then the handshake has crossed the elbow. Election is not all about winning primaries. General elections are more difficult to control than primaries. Whatever permutation Governor Okowa may wish to adopt, he should understand that ceding the Governorship and senatorial slots to Western Urhobo may be counterproductive.

My last week piece has elicited some negative comments as some now believe I do not stand for one United Urhobo. Urhobo is one, but would anybody agree to any arrangement that will, for instance, give Sherrif the gubernatorial ticket and Augoye senatorial ticket? Or would you rather make Gbagi governor and Mrakpor Senator, both from Ughelli south? Why would you say no when the positions are within Urhobo? Let’s not deceive ourselves, Urhobo has two major divisions, Western and Eastern Urhobo now in three federal constituencies. Ceding the gubernatorial and senatorial tickets to Western Urhobo can breed consequences because when the general campaigns commence, lots of issues will be brought to the fore. Those close to governor Okowa should properly guide him so as not to make mistakes. I have said my own.


Annabel Ogheneganre writes from Garki, Abuja (, I have issues with my number and has been suspended for now. You may reach me via my email please)



This was culled from Annabel Ogheneganre facebook wall on 30/03/2022

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