Leaders and members of the Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Isoko North Local Government Area and constituents from Isoko constituency have protested against the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa over what they called ‘Okowa’s choice’ to replace the late majority leader of the state House of Assembly, Tim Owhefere.
Owhefere, a lawyer and journalist in the state House of Assembly, died at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba from suspected COVID-19 complications on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, aged 57. He was a member of the PDP and represented Isoko North Constituency in the House.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had last Tuesday scheduled the bye-election into the Isoko North Constituency of Delta State House of Assembly for April 10, 2021 following the death of Owhefere and the subsequent declaration of vacancy for the constituency by the Delta State House of Assembly.
A statement by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, revealed that political parties must conduct their primaries between March 11 and 20, 2021, adding that the deadline for the submission of the list of nominated candidates is 6 pm, March 24, 2021.
Meanwhile, leaders and members of the PDP in Isoko North and constituents from Isoko constituency on Monday embarked on a protest, condemning the choice of Governor Okowa and some party leaders in the area to replace the late majority leader.
Protesters which include women, youths, supporters, and community indigenes as well as political associates as early as 7:30 am blocked the ever-busy Akiewhe-Owhe-Ughelli-Asaba Road with trucks, tables, woods, and so on, causing gridlock as motorists and commuters make U-turns to follow alternative routes.
SaharaReporters gathered that before the burial of the late majority leader, the governor and other leaders from the constituency had chosen one Richard Isagba, an aide to the lawmaker, as the party’s consensus choice to replace him and complete his remaining two years in the House.
But shortly after the burial, the governor allegedly connived with another camp in the party and dropped Isagba to pick one Jude Ogbimi as the party’s choice to replace the late lawmaker.
The protesters while describing the governor as a ‘betrayer and backstabber’, expressed displeasure with the role played by the governor in dropping the candidate initially chosen to replace the lawmaker.
Speaking during the protest, a visibly angry constituent, who simply identified himself as Ogheneruro, said, “Okowa is a disappointment, he is a betrayer, a backstabber. Just on Saturday during the burial of our leader, Tim Owhefere, here in Akiewhe, Okowa came and was pouring encomiums on Tim. Okowa described Tim as a good fellow, trusted brother, a friend, and a man of peace.
“Just a few hours after leaving the burial ground, Okowa betrayed the same man he had showered with encomiums by anointing another person to replace him after earlier anointing Tim’s aide for the replacement. Just like Judas Iscariot, Okowa betrayed his very close friend, Tim Owhefere. Even the Delta state House of Assembly failed their colleague as well.
“The House could not speak for their own even in death. What is two years that the governor cannot use to compensate his acclaimed friend by allowing Tim’s aide to replace him? Just two years. Indeed, the Bible said it, that the heart of a man is desperately wicked. No one really loves you. Even Hon. Leo Ogor of all people could not fight for Tim’s interest. We shall remain on the expressway until our wishes and demands are attended to.
“Even those who Tim took care of when they were nothing also stabbed him in the back. When things were tough for the Managing Director of DESOPADEC, Askia Ogieh, when there was nothing to write home about, Askias of this world benefitted a lot from Tim. But today he was one of those who stabbed Tim. Askia was one of those who stood his ground that Tim’s aide must not be given the chance to replace and complete his remaining two years. What a wicked world.”
Governor Okowa, during a meeting with the newly sworn-in 25 local government chairmen last Wednesday at the Government House, Asaba, allegedly threatened to deal ruthlessly with the council chairman of Isoko North, Christian Iteire, should he be involved in any form of factional politics during the party’s primaries to shop for a replacement for the late majority leader, Owhefere, who coincidentally anointed Iteire against all odds to emerge as the party’s candidate for the just concluded council polls.
As at the time of filing in this report, the protest was still going on with the protesters chanting solidarity songs.