By Annabel Ogheneganre
Since May 25, 2022 when Governor Ifeanyi Okowa cunningly foisted Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori on the PDP as the party’s flagbearer and Okowa’s eventual emergence as PDP Vice Presidential candidate, there had been some form of misgivings in the state with regards the fate of Chief James Onanefe Ibori in the party. Ibori had maintained uncommon silence which kept his supporters wondering why a man of Ibori’s clout could be so rudely intimidated and frustrated into a shocking political coma by his political son whose supporters was flouting as the new leader of the party in the state.
Sheriff Oborevwori won the gubernatorial primaries in line with expectations since the incumbent governor, who treacherously preached level playing ground was hoarding the delegates from the reach of Edevbie and other aspirants towards Oborevwori’s victory. In the Presidential primaries, Okowa betrayed the southern Nigeria cause and mobilized for another Fulani man in Atiku after brokering a Vice Presidential ticket deal with the Turaki Adamawa. Even when the PDP settled for Nyesom Wike for the VP slot, Atiku held on to Okowa and that was the last straw that broke the Carmel’s back. Ibori said nothing. When he eventually struck, the impact was devastating and Oborevwori is now history.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo did not mince words with his ruling that has changed the face of politics in Delta state ahead of the 2023 polls. He was assertive enough in saying that “In accordance with the provision of Section 84(3) of the Electoral Act, the court hereby holds that the plaintiff (David Edevbie) is the valid Governorship candidate of the PDP in Delta state and should be accorded the maximum respect”.
In approaching the Courts, Chief David Edevbie prayed for the following reliefs which include a declaration that ‘’the 1st Defendant is not qualified to participate and/or be declared the winner of the 2nd Defendant’s Delta State Governorship Primary elections which held on 25th May, 2022 for the purpose of electing its candidate or flagbearer in the forthcoming 2023 Gubernatorial Elections in Delta State, scheduled to hold on 11th March, 2023 by the 3rd Defendant.
‘’A declaration that having supplied false information and submitted dubious or forged credentials/certificates in order to participate in and be declared the winner of the 2nd Defendant’s Delta State Governorship Primary elections which held on 25th May, 2022, the 2nd Defendant herein is legally precluded from submitting, forwarding or otherwise transmitting the name of the 1st Defendant to the 3rd Defendant as the candidate or
flag-bearer of the 2nd Defendant in the forthcoming Governorship elections in Delta State, now scheduled to hold on 11th March, 2023 by the 3rd Defendant.
‘’A Declaration that the Plaintiff who, next to the ineligible and unqualified 1st Defendant, scored the highest number of valid votes cast at the Delta State Governorship Primary elections of the 2nd Defendant which held on 25th May, 2022, ought to and should be returned and declared the winner of the 2nd Defendant’s Governorship Primaries and, accordingly, returned as the candidate of the 1st Defendant for the forthcoming Governorship elections in Delta State scheduled to hold on 11th March, 2023 by the 3rd Defendant.
‘’A declaration that the 3rd Defendant is legally precluded or prohibited from accepting or receiving from, acting on or otherwise recognizing or giving effect to the name of the 1st Defendant as the candidate or flagbearer of the 2nd Defendant for the forthcoming Gubernatorial elections in Delta State now scheduled for 11th March, 2023 by the 3rd Defendant.
‘’An order of this Honourable Court disqualifying the 1st Defendant from participating as the candidate of the 2nd Defendant in the forthcoming 2023 Gubernatorial elections in Delta state, scheduled for 11th March, 2023 by the 3rd Defendant.
‘’An order of this Honourable Court commanding, directing or otherwise mandating the 2nd and 3rd Defendants to replace, forthwith, the name of the 1st Defendant with that of the Plaintiff as the lawful candidate of the 2nd Defendant for the forthcoming Gubernatorial elections in Delta State, now scheduled for 11th March, 2023 by the 3rd Defendant’’.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo therefore ordered INEC to replace Oborevwori with David Edevbie as substantive candidate of the PDP for the coming polls. Okowa thought he was crafty enough to get everything but Ibori insisted on a huge sacrifice from Okowa before supporting his Vice Presidential ambition.
Sheriff Oborevwori became the sacrificial lamb unknown to the DTHA Speaker. When they were busy clapping for Okowa as a deft political tactician, Sheriff’s fate was already sealed. Sheriff is gone and no amount of Appeal will bring him back as candidate of PDP for 2023. However, those who were ‘Sheriffied’ need not be ‘terrified’ because a David is here to lead with the fear of God not with the cult-like gut of mindless gangsters who have held the state down under Okowa. Under David Edevbie, merit will count and nothing would be dictated from some cult of wicked and evil people as the state witnessed under Okowa.
Politics is very deep. Sheriff has been traded off. He may and cannot like what has happened. But he should have seen it coming. Ibori is not a man who will go down without a fight. Okowa should learn from the masters of the game instead of behaving like a little girl who want to teach his mother how to make babies.
This will further complicate the 2023 elections for the party but having Ibori for enemy posed a bigger danger. The true face of 2023 is showing. David Edevbie is the real deal ahead of 2023. Deltans should not be terrified. Everything would be fine.
Annabel Ogheneganre writes from Garki, Abuja. (email@example.com)