Reacting to Friday’s Supreme Court judgement on the dispute over the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s governorship ticket in Delta State, one enthusiast in a Delta WhatsApp forum said “Congratulations to Sheriff! A bigger Congratulation to APC.”
The sarcasm was easily understood by many.
Ahead of the court judgment, there was a report that associates of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege were passionately praying for Sheriff Oborevwori to win the dispute between him and Olorogun David Edebvie on the PDP ticket.
The interest of Omo-Agege and his band was understandable. Not only is he the leader of the APC in Delta State, he is also the party’s governorship candidate.
Unlike the situation in PDP that had to go to the Supreme Court, Omo-Agege’s emergence as APC candidate was on a canter.
Not too long ago, Olorogun Festus Keyamo had quarrelled bitterly that Omo-Agege foisted his house boys and house girls as party executives in Delta to the intent of affirming him for the ticket.
However, in the PDP which has held sway over the state since the return of democratic rule in 1999, Oborevwori, Edevbie and the powerful Senator James Manager, fought a bitter contest that was only concluded yesterday.
It was understandable that the outgoing governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa should have a say.
He did not just have a say, he proclaimed his way with Oborevwori.
How Okowa, the urbane, Edo College nurtured, University of Ibadan graduate, would go for a candidate of disputable academic credentials remains a mystery.
Willy-nilly, his intention on Oborevwori was strongly opposed by James Ibori, the penultimate governor of the state who was seen as the power behind Edevbi.
Indeed, among many in the political class, Edevbi is not much regarded. Indeed, many truly or falsely say he is worse than Governor Godwin Obaseki in human relations.
According to them, like the guy in Benin, he is more at home with pals in Lagos and London.
However, Ibori who brought him from London and made him commissioner for finance for eight years, and after that, principal secretary to President Umaru Yar’Adua was determined on him.
Not even the shocker of Ibori’s daughter’s narrow escape in the PDP Ethiope Federal Constituency primary dissuaded the former governor.
Indeed, all that Edevbie had going for him were associates of Ibori within the PDP.
Now the conclusion of the Supreme Court case over the candidature of the Delta PDP flag bearer in the favour of Oborevwori effectively ends the political career of Edevbie.
He may well return to Lagos or London.
But could that also be the end of his godfather, Ibori? Would Ibori relocate to Lagos or London? Certainly not.
Speaking at a gathering some few months ago, Ibori had vowed that God would disgrace those he alleged were planning to disgrace him.
As nearly everyone says, Ibori’s option from avoiding disgrace is to pitch tent with Omo-Agege.
You then would understand the prayer and fasting by Omo-Agege and his supporters for Oborevwori and Okowa to win the PDP ticket.
You would also understand the congratulation to Sheriff and bigger congratulations to APC on the outcome of the PDP case cited at the beginning of this piece.
Omo-Agege’s path started from the PDP when he contested against Uduaghan and Okowa for the PDP ticket in 2006. Since then, he has been at daggers-drawn with both men.
It can then be said that the battle ahead is essentially an Okowa vs Omo-Agege battle with Ibori at the background.
Ibori’s support for Omo-Agege would not be shocking given the rumours in 2006 that he empowered the new America returnee to be a successor. It subsequently turned out that he was only a decoy to preserve Uduaghan.
After the celebrations in the Oborevwori and Omo-Agege camps on the ouster of Edevbie from the ballot courtesy of the Supreme Court judgment, the two camps will in coming days return to the gutter in what is expected to be the most bruising contest for the governorship of Delta.
The Omo-Agege Camp will understandably hurl the innuendo of Oborevwori’s streetwise reputation. They will also lampoon his academic records and make it an issue.
The PDP on its part will also remember that Omo-Agege has a past and remind us of the mace snatching affair in the last Senate.
However, that incident that is ordinarily an unfortunate sour in our democratic experience will echo differently to different people.
To some it will be seen as a shame. To others, it will be seen as the feat that projected an Urhobo, nay a Deltan to the highest political office since the advent of the Fourth Republic.
Whatever, for Ibori who has the reputation of having anointed the two governors that succeeded him, the options are not easy. Damaging Okowa could also threaten his friend, Atiku Abubakar’s presidential bid. And perhaps also bring out the fighter in Okowa who as governor may have access to the secrets of his predecessors!