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Fear of the long shadow

Fear of the long shadow
November 21
13:42 2023

BY OGHENEJIROKOWHO OLOKOR

These are unusual times in politics and for politicians. Despite the dubious perception that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) platform introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has had limited impact on making the people’s vote count, the stunning victory of Labour Party’s Peter Obi in Lagos is one sterling outcome pundits have been unable to dismiss as something that could have been impossible to achieve without the BVAS in the presidential poll.

Similarly, the outcome of the presidential and gubernatorial election in Oyo state where Governor Seyi Makinde never disguised his disapproval of PDP’s unimaginative and provocative choice of its presidential candidate showed that he was able to give vent to his stance on equity without jeopardizing his re-election as governor of his state.

In Delta state where the national assembly election’s outcome has been affirmed by the courts, the fact that APC comfortably picked two of three senatorial seats has made it implausible to logically explain the emergence of a political placeholder that was single-handedly made the speaker of Delta State House of Assembly by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as governor. And he it was who foisted the same on the state to continue a third agenda.

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And the toxic nature of the charade has not taken long to unravel. Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has been unable to fill two critical portfolios – Information and Justice – because he has been unable to obtain the approval of the powers that be. Even the motley crowd appointed as commissioners has not been able to initiate any move on actual governance. Six months into the place-holding administration, all they do is inspect ongoing projects where they go through the motion without movement.

In Delta state, the people now derisively call them “POINTus pilates”, reminiscent of when Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu genuinely inspected projects he was executing. But can the commissioners be blamed? Of course not. They simply lack leadership. Governor Oborevwori has not done anything to inspire them.

Rather, Oborevwori has been overtaken by the fear of the inevitable. Having seen how the innovative measures introduced by INEC are now used to uphold the people’s verdict and bearing in mind the overwhelming victory of the Delta APC in the senate election, the governor has basically abandoned governance in pursuit of illusive political straws to hang on to.

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That the people of Delta state have been yearning for genuine change in leadership is not lost on the governor. They saw in Ovie Omo-Agege the fresh path to development. Oborevwori knows how the electoral process was brazenly manipulated to put him in power. He knows that unlike the election petitions tribunal which operated under a very challenging atmosphere in Delta state, his “victory” will not stand the independent scrutiny of higher courts.

Apparently, in anticipation of the fate that awaits them, they have resorted to using fake names to sponsor articles suggesting that Ovie Omo-Agege has been bought over by Chief James Ibori.
To the uninformed media hacks, that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed some of the best hands and technocrats who played very big roles in the massive electoral fortunes of the APC in Delta state is proof of their unfounded allegation. They forgot or just did not know that it was the turn of Delta state to produce the board chairman of NDDC in addition to a statutory representative of the state on the board.

If Deltans are yearning for a new leadership that will bring the state out of perfidy that was its unfortunate lot under Okowa, and Ibori is a Deltan and leader, then he has made the right call. This is not to suggest that there is such development between Ibori and Omo-Agege. The former deputy president of the senate has always been his own man. He has a road map to accelerating the development of Delta which the people have bought into.

As our people say, when a man fouls his community, the sight of his ever-constant shadow evokes morbid fear in him. For Oborevwori and his group, the time of the long shadow has come.

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Olokor writes from Asaba.



Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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