While many Nigerian media, especially Vanguard Newspaper continue to guess and fathom stories from their imaginations on how popular politician, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa emerged as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Delta State, Secrets Reporters days of finding has exclusively found out why.
In the days preceding the election, sources who have the eyes and ears of the government confided in us that contrary to reports that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has a robust political relation with the Owa born political maestro, Okowa, the truth is that the Governor since his days in office has always plotted on how to hand over power to a man from Delta North but definitely not Okowa. According to the source; Uduaghan feared that handing over power to Okowa will spell political doom for him, as the Senator is known to have a mind of his own. Besides, we gathered that the governor feared that handing over power to a man more politically experienced than him will wipe away his legacy and footprint from government. With this in mind, he set out from day one to begin to look for a puppet successor. The mantle fell on the once powerful and innocent Permanent Secretary, Sir Anthony Chuks Obuh.
Obuh we gathered when approached by the governor through his emissaries to prepare to become governor at first refused vehemently, revealed our source, but when he was told by the governor that all structures will be thrown behind him while the powerful politicians will be asked to step down for him, he reluctantly agreed. His interest only got strong when he saw the way his name became a household name following the public declaration by Chief Ayiri Emami that the governor has sent them to deliver him. The statement of Ayiri according to many was not just the voice of Uduaghan but James Ibori whom Ayiri is known to be loyal to and has defended even in prison at the expense of his business and political interest. To do the media work for Obuh was Vanguard Newspaper whose reports were tilted to go negative against the major opponent, Okowa, while projecting their new principal.
Obuh’s emergence created serious crisis in Anioma with even Peter Nwaoboshi who though calm outside was daily boiling inside. Even the bitter political enemy of the Senator, Cairo Ojuogboh repeatedly told his followers that he will never answer ‘Sir’ to a political virgin like Obuh, but would rather support a councilor who is a politician than the new entrant. While he smiled with the governor, sources told us that he plotted against him. It was against the backdrop of this that the governor’s men wanted to use him to disqualify Okowa for alleged anti party activities, a move that never worked. Okowa and Cairo have been locked in political battle over the control of the political soul of Ika land.
While the Obuh song went viral, the governor began to face his worst media thunderstorm. A member of his cabinet who resigned to contest a political position in an exclusive chat with Secrets Reporters revealed that the governor never expected the kind of negative media publicity he would get. “With the way you guys (referring to Secrets Reporters and her close media partners) were releasing fraud reports against the governor, all backed with documents and challenging him to deny while promising to bring out more, we knew that he will soon leave Obuh if the attack must stop. I can tell you that the governor had to call his team to ask them how sensitive documents were getting out of the government house without insiders. This was one of the major reasons he sacked some Commissioners who he believed were feeding you with such dangerous documents”, the highly placed source confided in us.
Another of the source who was in Obuh camp further revealed that during one of their meeting, one of the strategy was to also have a powerful media team that can reveal documents exposing Okowa, but for each of such documents, they realized that the governor authorized such payments. “You know there was the $1 billion Ugborode town project. That was brought up to affect Okowa just the way Oga (Uduaghan) was on heat, but somehow you guys diffused the report and linked it back to the governor as being the one who authorized the payment” revealed the insider.
We can exclusively report that the governor who has had enough of the one week, one negative fraud report called the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) to ask them who they will bring if he decides to switch camp, and the unanimous answer was Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege. The governor immediately made it known that it will be better he supports Okowa than support Omo-Agege since both men have same political will. He told them pointblank that he has decided to give them the governorship but on the condition that it will be Olorogun David Edevbie, who he can work with. The decision was meant to be a top secret which will be announced a day to the primaries; by this time he would have summoned all the delegates to secure their trust and vote for Edevbie enmasse. The UPU happy with the agreement agreed to keep it confidential, while throwing away Obaisi.
The bubble however busted the same day when Secrets Reporters undercover reporters who have followed the political drama in all the various camps including the UPU blew it open few minutes after they finished their meeting in Abuja which was summoned by the Niger Delta Minister, Steve Oru where we gathered that $1 million was given to the Urhobo body to produce Edevbie.
The news report which went viral shocked the governor, who could not comprehend how a secret meeting got leaked by the online press, exclusively broken by Secrets Reporters and later carried by The Will. A member of the UPU who called our newsroom demanded to know how the information leaked and pleaded that we keep every other information at our disposal secret till their Uvwiamuge Declaration is achieved considering the fact that one of the Editorial board member is their son; a promise Secrets Reporters could not keep but went further to reveal the messy details of how Edevbie was picked.
Despite the news report, Obuh we gathered was still told by the Governor that it was all media propaganda as he still has his backing. The media team still went ahead with their strong campaign calling this news medium a mere whistle blower who will cry at the end of the day. Few hours after the governor had assured Obuh, a meeting of the top campaign group was held till early in the morning where the sad news was broken at exactly 3.15 am that Edevbie is now the new person to follow. Looking devastated, Obuh had no choice but to key into the project. We however gathered secretly that while he went ahead with his primaries, he had instructed his die hard delegates to vote for Okowa if nothing happens to restore him. The Governor has lost grip of some delegates to Obuh.
To kill the Edevbie dream, Secrets Reporters gathered that Senator Okowa met with Nwaoboshi in his apartment where the later agreed to support him. On the election morning, a meeting of all the Anioma aspirants was held in a hotel (name withheld) on how to arrive at a consensus candidate. Most of the aspirants agreed to adopt the Senator who is known to be more experienced and has the political clout to pull the rug off the governor’s feet. The major dissenting voice in the meeting was Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei who still believed that he had pocketed the delegates and dared Okowa to meet him at the field to test their popularity.
On the day of the election, the Urhobos of Uvwie and Udu extraction swore never to follow the governor directives since they were more comfortable with a choice of Omo-Agege and decided to punish him, by following Okowa. Ethiope West, another Urhobo area had divided votes while the Ijaws led by Capt. Pius Sinebe from Patani on the appeal of Senator James Manager who personally wanted to retire Uduaghan from politics all gave their votes to Okowa, thus redirecting the political clock of Delta State from godfatherism to credibility which many Deltans believe the Senator has.
As the voting was being counted and it became evident that Okowa was leading, a source revealed to us that Ochei began to sweat profusely, while almost in tears. The Senator we gathered sat close to him and kept holding him to calm his nerves as everything would be alright. When he was declared the third in the race, he looked around and seeing no one clapped; he clapped for himself.