In Delta’s three-horse race, Nigeria’s Deputy President of the Senate would be making a huge attempt to dislodge the political establishment in the state that has been marshalled by the PDP over the last twenty-three years. Are the odds in his favour?
The political climate in Nigeria’s ‘Big heart’ is becoming increasingly charged by the day due to the beehive of political activities picking up at an alarming rate ahead of the crucial March 2023 Gubernatorial Elections in the State.
Delta, one of the oil-rich states in the Niger Delta Region, is prominent among states in the country largely because of its large oil and gas reserves. It is also unarguably perceived as one of the geese that lay the country’s golden eggs, hence the heightened interest in who succeeds Senator Ifeanyi Okowa: the incumbent governor whose tenure elapses on May 29, 2023.
Leading the charge of opposition in the state against Okowa’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is the sitting Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate and gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
Omo-Agege, a well-rooted politician, comes to the duel with an intimidating profile. One with years of practical experience in the politics of the state, having been around since 2003 when he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives but lost out in the PDP primaries. He would soon be appointed as Executive Assistant to former governor James Ibori, after which he subsequently became Commissioner and Secretary to the State Government in a short time.
Eyes on the goal, Omo-Agege first ran for the Governorship of Delta State in 2007 under the banner of the PDP and lost to former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan leading to a lull in his political career. An ambitious politician, he returned to the political scene in 2015 with a bang; as he emerged lawmaker representing Delta Central Senatorial District under the Labour Party (LP) platform.
He would later defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the dispensation after, where he joined forces with other anti-Saraki lawmakers, earning him a suspension from the Senate after he allegedly led thugs to desecrate the hallowed chambers and pick up the mace; the symbol of authority in the process. On his return to the Senate in 2019 under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he was elected Deputy President of the Senate, making him the only federal lawmaker in the history of Delta State to attain such heights.
A trained lawyer who has practised both in Nigeria and foreign jurisdictions, Omo-Agege pays his bills and is not riding on the back of any politician in his bid to oust the current political establishment in Delta, unlike his counterpart, Sherrif Obvoweri of the PDP who is relying on the support of outgoing Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. He also enjoys the support of the All Progressives Congress (APC) members in the state, who seem to have closed ranks amongst themselves after the party primaries that produced him as its flag bearer.
Omo-Agege might also cash in on the grumblings going on in the PDP as the father of the PDP in the State, James Ohanefe Ibori, is said not to be happy with the process that gave birth to Oborevwori’s candidacy as the party’s gubernatorial flagbearer; having backed David Edevbie for the top job in a battle of supremacy that ended at the Supreme Court.While some may be quick to discredit Sherrif Obvoweri as a lightweight, he has the machinery of the state well-oiled in his favour.
Another major player that mustn’t be forgotten is Chief Great Ogboru of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), a 5-time Governorship contender in the state.
Deltans will, however, decide whether to join the party at the centre by electing Ovie Omo Agege (that is if the APC retains power) or choose to support the PDP, which they’ve always aligned with, in the last six electoral cycles. It really would be up to the people of the ‘Big Heart’ to decide!