As 2023 comes into sharper focus, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Delta State, and its main challenger, the All Progressives Congress (APC), have been strategising to gain upper hand and outdo each other.
There are defections from one party to the other, the most recent being that of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi from PDP to APC, thus provoking verbal ‘warfare’ from both camps.
The exit of Nwaoboshi from PDP comes with consequences for politics in Delta. This is because Nwaoboshi, also called the oracle in Delta politics, is no mean player in Delta North.
As a founding member of PDP, and pioneer state secretary, Nwaoboshi was part and parcel of the foundational structure of the political dynasty that is still in place today.
At the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999, and assumption of office of Chief James Ibori as governor, Nwaoboshi was among cabinet members, where he served as commissioner for water resources, reappointed commissioner for special duties in charge of Abuja Liaison Office – a position he occupied until Ibori dissolved the cabinet towards 2007. Nwaoboshi, at that time instigated the clamour for power shift from Delta Central to either South or North. He was part of a political pressure group known as Equity 2006.x
At that point, he had fallen out with Ibori and his associates in government, namely: Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta South) who succeeded Ibori; incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa; Deputy Senate president, Omo-Agege, Chief Ighoyota Amori, among others.
James Onanefe Ibori
As it were, fighting for his political survival, Nwaoboshi teamed up with some external aggressors to fight Ibori’s political family, led by Dr. Mrs. Mariam Alli, wife of former PDP national chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Alli and a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Godwill Obielum, who had battled for the soul of Delta North.
From there, Nwaoboshi became the Director General of the Obielum governorship team and eventually emerged as the state PDP Chairman, through the instrumentality of Dr. Alli Nwaoboshi. He held sway as chairman for two terms (between 2008 and 2015) and being the chairman of the ruling party, Nwaoboshi returned into the mainstream of Delta politics and reintegrated into the Ibori family- the deciding circle. In the build-up to 2015 General Election, he became pivotal in the crusade for power shift and the eventual emergence of Governor Okowa of Delta North as the flag bearer of PDP in that election. As a reward, Nwaoboshi was gifted with PDP Delta North Senatorial ticket and elected as Senator representing Delta North till date.
And apparently done with Delta PDP, Nwaoboshi in a bid to remain relevant began to plot his way out of the party. To trigger that move, he criticised the government of Okowa in a manner that was unbecoming of a ranking party member.
In reaction, the PDP state Publicity Secretary, Dr. Infeanyi Osuoza, announced a month’s suspension of Nwaoboshi, saying the suspension “becomes necessary against the backdrop of the recent romance with an opposition party, verbal recklessness, and unprovoked utterances of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, particularly against the person of His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Executive Governor of Delta State.”
The statement added that the PDP state working committee, viewed the senator’s action strongly as totally unacceptable, disturbing and unbecoming of a politician and party member of his stature.
It added: “The matter has been referred to the state disciplinary committee, to afford Senator Nwaoboshi a fair hearing and the opportunity to appear before it and defend himself over his recent utterances and actions against the party and its leadership in the state.” But that came too late. The man had moved on and was not going to look back, at least not anytime soon.
[FILES] Ifeanyi OkowaNo doubt, the exit of Nwaoboshi has caused a quake in the ruling party. In his reaction, a stout supporter of Governor Okowa, Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, who is also executive assistant to the governor on communications, said Nwaoboshi pitching tent with Deputy Senate president Omo Agege, “will certainly crash like a pack of card, because Agege will not be governor in 2023, and PDP will occupy Delta Central seat at the Red Chamber. It is only a political mediocre that will ever imagine that APC will win any state in the south-south geopolitical zone in 2023.”
He said for Nwaoboshi, it is the handshake with President Buhari that will be his only reward for deserting a party that has given him everything since 1999.
O’Tega Emerhor, founding leader and former governorship candidate of APC said Nwaoboshi coming to APC family is a plus in all ramifications.
Hear him: “Nwaoboshi joining the progressive family in Delta and the quest to liberate Delta State come 2023 from poor leadership and bring it to the progressive fold is gaining ground. Nwaoboshi is a political tactician who is bringing on board over three decades of experience in active politics.
“The APC in Delta is waxing stronger by the day and I want to assure Senator Nwaoboshi, the political Oracle that there is no joiner in APC Delta, every member has equal stake. I therefore, enjoin party leaders and faithful to extend hands of fellowship to the Senator who is bringing huge political capacity into the party.”
The Deputy Chief of Staff to the deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, Mr. Alex Onwuadiamu described the lawmaker as a “great asset” whose ounce of political timing is strategic in influencing political outcomes.
He said, “Distinguished Sen Peter Nwaoboshi is a great asset to the Delta State APC and the APC family nationwide, a man whose political expertise is never in doubt.
“This synergy is one that bodes well for Deltans as APC is on the cusp of rescuing the state from the ill-fated PDP administration. We can only but embrace the erudite lawmaker into our fold as he brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to move the party forward in the state.”
A look at the positions of the two parties means that APC is now in control of two senatorial districts in Delta, which if properly managed could impact heavily the next general election in the state.
Also, Nwaoboshi appears to be in a good position, being a former state PDP chairman for eight years, to leak the PDP method of winning streak to his newfound bride.
The senatorial district he is representing (Delta North) now has some kind of national outlook, as their representative now belongs to the ruling party.
From all indications, Nwaoboshi departure may not be a plus for Governor Okowa, who is said to be eyeing the Senatorial seat Nwaoboshi occupies. This is because if Nwaoboshi teams up with the Deputy Senate President who is eyeing the governorship position of the state in 2023 as running mate, Okowa and PDP may have him to contend with. Reason? Nwaoboshi’s move has boosted the morale of other APC chieftains in Delta North, namely, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and former PDP vice chairman south-south and former Speaker of the state, Rt. Hon Victor Ochei, now a policy maker in NIMASA.
These APC leaders, including the rank and file are eyeing the state’s number one seat of power come 2023; and are willing to grab.