Posted by News Express | 16 December 2014 | 7,720 times
A new godfather has emerged in the politics of Delta State. He is ex-Niger Delta militant, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo.
Going by recent political happenings, Tompolo has effectively dethroned immediate past governor James Ibori as the man who calls the shots in the politics of the oil-rich state. Though incarcerated in Britain after being convicted of corruption, Ibori, News Express learnt, had continued to determined who got what in Delta and even enjoys direct phone acess to President Goodluck Jonathan.
An informed source told News Express that it was Ibori who 48 hours to the December 8, 2014 primaries of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state initiated the move that culminated in incumbent governor Emmanuel Uduaghan dropping his support for power shift to Delta North Senatorial District, which has never produced the governor of the state. Dr. Uduaghan had been discreetly promoting the candidature of former Permanent Secretary in the Delta State Government House, Sir Tony Obuh. However, “the story changed 48 hours to the primaries when Ibori called President Jonathan and said he preferred his fellow Urhobo, David Edevbie, who served as Commissioner for Finance during his administration,” another source disclosed.
Dr. Jonathan reportedly conveyed Ibrori’s wish to Governor Uduaghan, who, out of respect for the President and his (Uduaghan’s) former boss Ibori, agreed to switch his support to Edevbie, the source said.
Edevbie was thus expected to have a walkover during the primaries held at the state capital, Asaba. But rather than that to happen, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, whose name never featured prominently on the list of aspirants favoured, clinched the ticket by a landslide.
How come? Investigations have confirmed that Tompolo was the unseen hand behind the modern political miracle. The billionaire Ijaw leader reportedly favoured Okowa, an Anioma (Igbo) from Delta North, and gave him $3 million to prosecute the primaries.
“The money was released to Okowa on the eve of the election and was believed to be the game changer,” one source said, adding: “While some other aspirants openly at the primaries gave delegates $4,000 and N500,000, Okowa dished out N1 million to each of the delegates.”
Okowa is regarded as governor-in-waiting since PDP is by far the dorminant political party in Delta State. That, however, wouldn’t be Tompolo’s only gain, as he has reportedly been conceded the right to nominate Okowa’s running mate. The ex-militant leader, who recently purchased seven warships to implement a security contract awarded to him by the Federal Government, is said to have positioned a candidate for the deputy governor’s position from his ethnic stock, the Ijaw of Delta South Senatorial District.
If this comes to play, the Ijaws, one of the three major ethnic groups in Delta South Senatorial District, would have taken up virtually all elective and appointive positions for the area.
The other ethnic groups in the senatorial district are the Isokos and Itsekiris.
Already, the chairmanship seat of one of the local government areas in the senatorial district has been conceded to Ekpemupolo’s brother, George, by the PDP.
That decision became a source of controversy as the initial person pencilled down for the PDP chairmanship position was Weyimi Omadeli, whose name was struck out by the leadership of the party a day before the primaries to pave the way for George.
At the time, the thinking was that if the Ijaws should produce the chairman of a local government area, an Itsekiri man in the person of Uduaghan would go to the Senate, while an Isoko man would emerge as the deputy governorship candidate to a governorship candidate from Delta North Senatorial District.
However, after the concession of the chairmanship seat to Ekpemupolo, the representative of the senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator James Manager, also of the Ijaw stock, insisted on retaining his seat after his request to be given the governorship ticket did not materialise.
Uduaghan, an Itsekiri man, who had initially indicated interest in the Senate seat, was said to have conceded the seat to Manager.
This was based on the arrangement that a governorship candidate will emerge from Delta North Senatorial District, with the Isokos getting the deputy governor’s slot.
Informed sources said the unwritten agreement was for the senatorial seat to be rotated among the Ijaws, Itsekiris and Isokos.
Manager will be returning to the Senate for the fourth time. And with the push for an Ijaw to emerge as Okowa’s deputy, the implication is that the Itsekiris and Isokos will have no elective and appointive positions in the next political dispensation.
•Photo shows Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo.
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