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Published On: Fri, Jan 5th, 2018

Delta LG elections: PDP candidates face APC’s rising popularity tomorrow

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From Osakhare Erese, Asaba

To almost all the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the January 6, 2018 local government polls in Delta State, the election is already won and lost. As the ruling party in the state, and for an election to be organized by the state funded electoral commission, as far as the PDP is concerned, no man born of a woman in the All Progressives Congress (APC) can dream of defeating any PDP candidate, be it in the chairmanship or councillorship slots.
It would be recalled that not a few were surprised at the decision of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to conduct the LG elections as and at when due, contrary to the precedence of using caretaker committees and heads of personnel management of the councils by past administrations in the state.
It would also be recalled that the incumbent Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan did not organize local government elections in the state until the twilight of his administration. Conversely, it is being said in the state that Okowa sees the polls as one that is very strategic to his second term bid.
Since 1999, Ifeanyi Okowa is likey to witness the most fiercely contested return bid for an incumbent governor in the state considering that the ethnic factors that saw him only narrowly winning the PDP ticket in 2015 is very much at play, with the Central District repositioning itself for a shot at a position many of them are bitter has eluded the area since the exit of Chief James Ibori. Hence, according to the pundits, Okowa has started an early horse trading ahead of the general elections. it was gathered that primaries were not held in many of the local government as candidates emerged by ‘consensus’, an act which the party held as a demonstration of maturity and understanding among party men.
Other political analysts maintain that it was another scenario of imposition of candidates for which the party had become notoriously known. candidates were selected and anointed as usual with losers left to nurse their wounds quietly for fear of being politically victimized by the godfathers.
It was also gathered that some opposition parties which are natural stooges of the PDP in the state approached Okowa for slots and were granted as permanent allies of the ruling party against the main opposition party in the state, the APC.
Meanwhile, some political watchers in the state are saying the APC is capable of giving the PDP a run for their money but this depends on how much the State Electoral Commission is prepared to be neutral and provide a level playing ground for all candidates irrespective of party affiliation.
The APC in the state have become more organized after the leadership crisis was resolved last year, it is being funded with the party at the helms in Abuja while some political heavyweights in the state grounded in grassroots politics are now within its fold such as Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, former Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Cairo Ojougboh, fomer factional Vice Chairman of the PDP to Ali Modu Sherriff but has now decamped to the APC. they are also others in other parts of the state.
Ochei is known for his benevolence which makes him very popular in his local government area, helping him to produce a House of Assembly candidate from another party after his estrangement by the PDP, although his godson was later sacked by the tribunal.
Ojougboh was involved in a high profile defection to the APC, a move that is anticipated, would swing the political equation in favour of the APC, at least in his own local government area and other parts of Ika land that may have been shut out of Okowa’s government since 2015.
Also, the fact that many candidates of the PDP, especially in the chairmanship positions are tired legs who have traversed their political terrain for a long time without much impact on the lives of the people at the grassroots, perhaps, this time around, the change mantra of the APC may play against the confidence of the PDP in the January 6 polls.

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