There are strong indications that the scenario that played out in Anambra State in 2003 when then Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju was denied a second term may happen in Delta State in 2011. Investigations revealed that the ambition of Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan to run for a second term in office has suffered a major setback with the near certainty of a decision of the hierarchy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to drop him as candidate in 2011.
According to sources, S. D. Mukoro, then a major in the Nigerian Army who was mentioned in the failed coup attempt led by Gideon Orkar to overthrow the government of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990, is being positioned to fly the gubernatorial flag of the PDP in the 2011 election in the state. Another person in the race for the Delta State governorship is Godswill Orubebe, minister for Niger Delta Affairs.
Uduaghan’s relationship with James Ibori, former governor of the state, who is battling to regain his freedom in Dubai appears to be his albatross. He was secretary to the Delta State Government when Ibori was governor. It was through Ibori that he (Uduaghan) became and since then he has been close to the former governor. When President Goodluck Jonathan visited Delta State recently, the state government made him to go to Ogharra, Ibori’s hometown, to commission projects. It was seen as a ploy by the state government to make Jonathan soften his stand on Ibori who had been dceclared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on corruption charges.
The group opposed to Ibori and by extension, Uduaghan, is led by elder statesman, Edwin C lark. The group believes that four more years of Uduaghan is like another four years of Ibori’s administration by association or by blood as he is Ibori’s cousin. It was Clark’s group that wrote the petition against Ibori that made EFCC to go after the former governor, who has turned fugitive.
Another ‘sin’ of Uduaghan is that he has alienated many people who worked for him in 2007. Our source said unlike Ibori who financially empowered those who worked for him to contest and win elective positions, Uduaghan has been very ‘tight-fisted’. The source said there is a man whose house was burnt in the course of working for Uduaghan’s election in 2007. The source, who did not give the name of the man, said the man has rebuilt his house from his own resources without help from Uduaghan. Such aggrieved people, we learnt, are not happy with the governor and will be available in the effort to deny the governor second term.
The governor’s lukewarm attitude when the struggle to empower then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is also counting against him. The Clark group is particularly using this point against him.
The governor’s travails is already taking its toll on the Delta State chapter of the PDP, which is now plarised along two lines, the group loyal to Clark and the one loyal to Uduaghan. The Clark group is pushing for the removal of the state chairman of the party, Peter Nwaoboshi. The Clark group is arguing that there was no state congress in 2008 when the present state leadership of the party was elected. The group feels that if the state executive is not removed, the plot to truncate Uduaghan’s 2011 ambition would not succeed.
Investigations revealed that between Mukoro and Orubebe, Mukoro is more favoured and has been invited to return to the country from his base abroad.