2019: Groups Condemn Okowa’s Comment On Ibori, Tompolo


…Say Governor Is An Ingrate

By John Oghojafor

Less than two years to another governorship election in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has openly rewritten the history of his emergence as the chief executive of the state, apparently pushing to the background the role of two key figures in the state who, it is believed, stuck their necks out to provide the ladder with which the governor climbed to the exalted position he is celebrating today.

 In a recent interview Governor Okowa granted to a national newspaper (not The New Diplomat), the Ika-born former Senator, ascribed his emergence to several persons including those outside the state, claiming that his emergence came from all fronts.  

 “A lot of people assisted me including the people you talked about (Ibori and Tompolo).  A lot of people including Prof. Sam Oyovbaire who believe in me, ensured my victory.  That was why my victory was a mass movement and nobody could stop it.  You cannot directly say that my emergence was as a result of any particular person”, the governor said.

Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo)

 Reacting to the governor’s comment on that interview, groups loyal to the former governor, Chief James Ibori and the ex-Niger Delta agitator, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) have condemned the governor for forgetting so soon how the duo of Chief Ibori and Chief Ekpemupolo provided the much-needed platform on which Okowa won the PDP primary which made the main election a walk-over for him in 2015.

 Addressing newsmen in Ughelli on Sunday February 11, 2018, a group known as the Niger Delta Peace Front led by Comrade Julius Koromokaye (national coordinator) and Comrade Samuel Ebibere (Secretary), expressed concern about the comments of the governor, noting that such interview at a crucial time like this that he was preparing for his second tenure was uncalled for.

 “Why should the governor be talking like that?  Has he forgotten how his primary was conducted and bankrolled?  Where were those people he was ascribing his victory to when our boss was dolling out his personal money to sponsor his primary?  This is not fair at all.  It is like biting the finger that fed him”, the group said.

 Also condemning the governor’s comments in the recent interview, a group of young men loyal to the former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, regretted why their leader (Chief Ibori) “mistakenly adopted Okowa for a second tenure” shortly after he returned from London, adding that it has made the governor to take everybody for granted.

 “Can you imagine the governor referring to our leader (Chief Ibori) and Chief Tompolo as “the people you talked about” in that interview?  That is derogatory and it appears the governor has forgotten so soon.  We don’t blame him.  2019 is around the corner, we shall know who is who”, the leader of the group who spoke in confidence stated.

 The group queried further, asking rhetorically what role Prof. Oyovbaire played in the emergence of the governor in 2015 that warrant such encomium by the governor, noting that the man even lost in his ward in the 2015 governorship election.

 Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has debunked insinuations that he was not in good terms with the former governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, stating that it was one of those antics of distractors who are trying to create a gap between two people.

 Said he: “I believe that is the antics of those political opponents who are trying to create a gap between two people.  James Ibori and myself are still very good friends and we still maintain close rapport.  At any opportunity that he had had to speak, his support for me had never been in doubt.”

 Governor Okowa also used the opportunity to explain why he had to abandon some projects he inherited from his predecessor, Dr. Uduaghan, stating that it was in the interest of the public.  

 Speaking specifically on why he scrapped the Edumarshal programme which was established by his predecessor to ensure that children of schooling age were removed from the street to school, Governor Okowa said that there were other ways of encouraging children to go to school, adding that, “we can educate the parents, encourage the society to realize that education is important and improve the standard of education which we have been doing.”

In the process, he openly down-played the unique roles played by godfather of PDP in Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori and unprecedented financial backup which the Gbaramatu-born former agitator, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo (aka Tompolo) gave to the Governor during his desperate search for the party’s governorship ticket.  

 A critical look at the governor’s response to question on the contribution of the two dramatis personae, clearly indicates that Governor Okowa has forgotten so soon that the actual election that saw him to Government House in 2015 was actually the PDP governorship primary which took place at Asaba the Delta State capital.

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