The future appears bleak for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta and Rivers States because of unresolved disputes between former Governor James Ibori and Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on one hand, and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the leadership of the PDP at the centre, and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP on the other.
A political analyst, Matthew Ochei, warns that the fight between Ibori and Okowa in Delta State over who produces the next governor of the state has dangerously divided the party in the state.
While Okowa is backing the incumbent Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, James Ibori, who has been.playibg the role of godfather of Delta politics favours David Edevbie, and the divergence of interests has sharply divided the state chapter of the PDP since after the governorship primary.
Although, Sheriff Oborevwori, Okowa’s favoured candidate won the primary, he was latter disqualified over certificate forgery by a Federal High Court following David Edevbie’s petition
Edevbie, who came second in the primary wanted the Court to declare him the party candidate but an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja restored the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Francis Oborevwori, as the governorship candidate of the PD P in Delta state.
The Appeal Court was of the opinion that claims against the Speaker were criminal in nature and must be proved beyond reasonable doubts. The Court also ruled that David Edevbie, who filed the suit earlier at Federal High Court should have approached the court via writ of summons to enable resolution of disputes and not by originating summons where only affidavit evidence was required.
In his analysis, Matthew Ochei made reference to Appeal Court’s position that allegations of fake documents and certificate forgery against the Speaker were issues that required witnesses from those who issued the certificates and the alleged fake documents.
While Oborevwori, on Governor Okowa’s side is declaring that anything ordained by God cannot be upturned, there are fears that, should Edevbie, Ibori’s preferred candidate proceed to the Supreme Court, that the condition of uncertainty in the state would be worsened, just as the gulf in Delta PDP is said to have been widened by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa sacking. many commissioners and advisers who were not supporting his preferred candidate.
Meanwhile, in Rivers State, the festering disagreement between the PDP at the centre and the .Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is becoming more threatening, with the governorship candidate of the party in the state, Siminalayi Fubara, reportedly missing at the recent meeting between Atiku Abubakar, PDP presidential candidate and PDP governorship candidates in the 36 states, to work out strategies on how to win the 2024 elections.
Political observers believe that the absence of Rivers State at the meeting was a clear signal that the Rivers. Governor might have made up his mind not to work for Atiku in the forthcoming elections.
However, there are also indications that the Atiku camp might have made up their minds to go ahead, with or without the support of the Rivers Governor, and keen political observers are concerned that these unresolved disputes could jeopardize the aspiration of the PDP to return to power at the centre in 2023.