The race to Delta State Government House may have been narrowed down to one by former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has an influence on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State.
Kenneth Gbagi, a frontrunner for the race and international industrialist got the nod for Obasanjo’s support when he paid him a visit in his Ota hometown of Ogun State on Tuesday with his political associates. Presenting himself to baba as Obasanjo is fondly called, he went down memory lane on how the former President had asked him four times in the past what he wants and he replied that “Your Excellency, let me develop myself first in business past”. He noted that having built businesses successfully, he has decided to bring the technocratic approach into the governance of Delta State and has come back as a son to give an answer to the question Obasanjo had asked him four times. “Baba, I have come to give you the answer of what I want. Sir, I want to govern Delta State and industrialize it”.
He stated that he has consulted God and man and they have given approval for him to take over the mantle of leadership from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who is in his last term and as a child who must seek his father’s blessing before embarking on a journey. Gbagi, a former Minister of Education under Obasanjo reminded the Ex-President of how he contested the PDP gubernatorial ticket in 1999 with Prof. Sam Oyovwaire and James Ibori and despite the outcome, he has never left the party but stayed behind to build and nurture it, waiting for the right time to get to the turn of Delta Central again for him to throw his rat in the race.
An elated Obasanjo stood up, tapped Gbagi on the shoulder, and told him point-blank that he is happy to hear that he has come back to give him the answer to the question he had asked four times in the past. “Gbagi is right in his claim that I had asked him what he wanted before now so I could do it for him. Instead, he chose to do business. Now that he has come to say he wants to govern Delta State, I will give him my support”. Going proverbial, Obasanjo told the visiting audience that “when you have a fine bead, no matter how you love a stranger, you tie the bead around your son’s waist. Gbagi is my son. If there are ten people in this life who have hosted me, I can name each of them and he is one of them”.
He promised the governorship hopeful that he will get to the government house in 2023 but has his fears that “there are people we send there and expect that they will do well but they end up not disappointing us. I do not want you to disappoint us and fail on the promises you have made to the people of Delta”. He recalled how he was hosted in Oginibo, Gbagi’s hometown in Delta during Okowa’s re-election and how he asked the Ex-Minister what he thought of Okowa going back as governor and Gbagi replied “Sir, he’s our man”. He noted that when Gbagi said that, he smiled and said “since he’s our man, he has to win second term”.
He told him to go and campaign around the state and have more friends than enemies as politics is a game of numbers. Admonishing Gbagi, he advised him to be a needle with a thread when he gets to the government house, sincere people who will look him in the face and tell him when he’s going wrong and draw him back, just as the thread pulls back the needle.