Why I rejected Ibori’s candidate as my successor – Okowa

The immediate past Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has explained why he rejected the anointed candidate of former Governor James Ibori as his successor.

Okowa and Ibori had clashed over the choice of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate during the last primary in the state.

Ibori had thrown his weight behind a former Commissioner of Finance in his cabinet, David Edevbie, while Okowa backed Sheriff Oborevwori, who was the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.

Okowa and Edevbie were commissioners in the Ibori administration.

Okowa who was the running mate of the PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, eventually had his way as Oborevwori won the primary.

Oborevwori was sworn in on Monday as Okowa’s successor.

Speaking with journalists on Sunday, Okowa addressed the crisis between him and his former boss.

He said, “We went into the primaries not agreeing on the same candidate, we talked about it but he (Ibori) did not want to shift grounds on his candidate. That’s the truth and I did not agree with that candidate for basic reasons which I made clear enough to him and also to his own candidate.

“I did not hide it. Till tomorrow, I speak about it in truth not because I thought I was a god that needed to install somebody. David Edevbie is my friend. We were with the former governor in his tenure together as commissioners, but in 2014, when it became obvious that it was the turn of the Delta North — Delta Central and Delta South had had their turns — I heard that David was going to run and he was indicating interest.

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“I went from Abuja with three of my friends to visit him in Lagos — and I said ‘David, please, it’s only fair, I know that there are so many people competing but I’m coming to you as a friend. It will not be fair if you run. Governor James Ibori has been there, Governor Uduaghan has been there, it’s obviously the turn of the Delta North; why don’t you allow us to have our space so that we can all be said to be part of the state? Thereafter, we can all work for you to become governor’.

“And at the end, he said ‘I will not run anymore, I will support you’. I thanked him and left back to Abuja.”

Okowa also explained that Edevbie went against his own words and was holding secret meetings with stakeholders, strategising on how to become governor.

“And then suddenly, the next thing we heard was that they had endorsed David but this same David had committed himself to me.

“So we went into the race, a very tough race but God enabled me to win,” he said.

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