By Ifeanyi Olannye
Mr Olisa Ifeajika, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, says the governor is not averse to zoning of governorship of the state.
Ifeajika who stated this while speaking with journalists on Thursday at Government House, Asaba, said the clarification became imperative as it was contrary to insinuations in some quarters.
He said that it was also not true that the governor came to power through zoning consensus as being canvassed by some highly-placed persons in the state.
The CPS said that it was imperative to put the records straight in order not to mislead the people of the state and other Nigerians.
“There is an insinuation making the rounds; ordinarily one wouldn’t have bothered to talk about it but because it’s coming from very highly-placed persons, there is need to put the records straight.
“It’s not true that the governor of this state, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, is opposed to zoning, particularly for the governorship of this state.
“The times he spoke, it was loud and clear. He said that God will help the people of Delta to determine who will take over from him.
“But even at that, he told the people that at the right time, the leadership of the PDP will sit down to decide who the governor will be and after that, leave it to God to decide ultimately as he cannot play the role of God,” he said.
He added: “That has been his position; so, it’s not true that the governor is opposed to power moving to Delta Central or any other senatorial district for that matter.”
He said that the insinuations that the governor came to power through zoning were wrong because people from other senatorial districts participated in the primaries that brought him to power.
Ifejiaka explained that there was no time in the history of the state that any primary for governorship was allowed as an exclusive preserve of a senatorial district.
“The insinuation that it was through zoning that Okowa became governor is also wrong.
“We are all witnesses to the primaries that brought him to power, persons from the other senatorial districts in the state other than Delta North, participated in the exercise.
“There was no time in the state, particularly in this present dispensation that any primary for governorship has been allowed to be for only one particular senatorial district.
“In all the records we have, primaries had been for all comers; people from all the senatorial districts always participated in all of that.
“For the one that brought Okowa to power in 2015, we are aware that aspirants from Central and South Senatorial Districts participated, including a former minister who has become an apostle of zoning and saying that zoning consensus brought Governor Okowa to power,” Ifeajika said.
He added, “Indeed, former Chief of Staff, Olorogun David Edevbie, came second in that race, meaning that if he had come first, there was no way they would have asked him to stay away and allow Okowa to grab the ticket on the grounds that it was the turn of Delta North to produce the governor.
“In other words, it is not true that it was zoning that brought Okowa to power, it was his person, his pedigree in politics and the grace of God. He also had, as he still does, immense goodwill across the three senatorial districts.
“So, what we are praying for and also asking the people of Delta to do is that everybody should come together and at the right time, the leadership of PDP will come together and decide who the successor to Gov. Okowa will be, and of course, they will be guided by God as the governor himself, had said.
“That’s what we need to do; so, the insinuation that the governor is opposed to the next governorship candidate coming from a particular place is untrue and it is important to put that record straight.”
On the defection of Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North, to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its effect on PDP’s performance, the CPS said it would not have any impact on PDP’s dominance in the state.
“The beauty of democracy is that people are allowed to move to any party they like. The movement of Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi does not translate to the dominance of APC in Delta.
“Yes, Nwaoboshi has gone to APC but I can tell you that the impact of his defection cannot rattle PDP in this state. Delta is a PDP State and will remain so.
“That APC now has two senators does not translate to it being able to take Delta in elections; they cannot win one-twentieth of Delta electorate,” Ifeajika said.(NAN)
By Ifeanyi Olannye