The crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Delta State over which zone should produce the next governor and the rumoured backing of two different aspirants by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Chief James Ibori has shaken the root of the party to the extent that it now requires the national leadership of the party to intervene for peace to prevail and for much needed unity to return to the party.
TrackNews gathers that the National Chairman of PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu and some governors elected on the platform of the PDP are scheduled to visit the State on Friday over the prevailing crisis.
According to reliable sources, the move is to reconcile former Governor Ibori and incumbent Governor Ifeanyi Okowa whose gubernatorial choices of interest have thrown the PDP in Delta into a crisis situation.
There is also the fear that Governor Okowa may not respect the zoning arrangement in the state as he is also rumoured to be favorably disposed to honouring an agreement he is said to have with militant kingpin, Government Ekpemukpolo, aka Tompolo, that the Ijaw ethnic group will be allowed to present the candidate of the party to succeed him in 2023.
The fear among some party members, especially those of Urhobos who constitute Delta Central, is that Okowa is trying to play Urhobo candidates against each other thereby weakening them in a bid for an Ijaw candidate to emerge.
There has been a silent but palpable war between the Ibori political family, which Governor Okowa used to belong, and new groups budding around Okowa, which is threatening the unity of the ruling party in the state.
The fight is over which group should produce the candidate of the PDP going into the primaries of the party, and preparatory to the 2023 general elections
While Chief Ibori has made his choice known in the person of Olorogun David Edevbie, Governor Okowa despite public statements to the contrary, TrackNews had earlier reported from reliable sources close to the governor, that his choice is the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori or an aspirant endorsed by Tompolo.
The choice of the Governor has pitched him against his former boss, who prefers Edevbie, who has also been endorsed by the apex sociocultural organisation of the Urhobo nation, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU).
Nevertheless, the endorsement of Edevbie by the UPU has also torn the apex Urhobo sociocultural organisation apart as members of the Union on different sides of the divide have not taken the endorsement kindly.
Following the endorsement, National Legal Adviser of UPU, Chief Isaacs Itebu, who himself is a strong promoter of Oborevwori, moved to rebuke the President General of the Union, Olorogun Moses Taiga.
The expectations of many Deltans is that the governorship should rotate back to Delta Central Senatorial District. There are also calls that it should be micro-zoned to the Okpe, Sapele, Uvwie Federal Constituency that has never produced a governor or deputy governor in the state.
Some see this as the reason the immediate past Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, who was until recently a favoured guber aspirant, was prevailed upon to drop his ambition and instead embrace a position in the State House of Assembly.
A source told TrackNews that after observing the situation in the party, some leaders of the party in the state, in a move to avoid the party losing the State to the All Progressives Congress (APC), invited the national leadership of the party to intervene in the matter.
“We cannot deny anymore and continue to deceive ourselves that there is no problem in our party. There is a big problem in the PDP of Delta State, of which, if not addressed meticulously ahead of the primaries, our party would be left in shreds for the opposition to take over,” a leader who sought anonymity noted.