Protesting members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State on Monday accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of allegedly imposing a candidate on the party in the forthcoming bye-election to fill the vacant constituency seat at the state House of Assembly.
The bye-election which is scheduled to hold on April 10, 2021 followed the death of the Majority Leader of the House, Tim Owhefere who represented Isoko North constituency on the platform of the PDP.
But some aggrieved members of the party in a protest, condemned what they described as imposition by the governor.
The protesters blocked the ever-busy Akiewhe-Owhe-Ughelli-Asaba Road with trucks, tables, woods, and so on, causing gridlock as motorists and commuters have to make detour to follow alternative routes.
One of the protesters, Mr. Ogheneruro alleged that the governor earlier agreed to support one of the aides to the late lawmaker, Richard Isagba as replacement, lamenting however that shortly after the funeral ceremony last weekend, Isagba had been dropped for another person, Jude Ogbimi.
“Just few hours after leaving the burial ground, Okowa betrayed the same man he had showered with encomiums by anointing another person to replace him after earlier anointing Tim’s aide for the replacement,” Ogheneruro alleged.
But in a swift reaction, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Olisa Ifeajika denied the allegation, saying his principal has never and would never contemplate the undemocratic practice of imposing candidates for elections.
Ifeajika said the governor held series of meetings with notable party leaders in the constituency to arrive at a concensus candidate, urging those aggrieved with the choice of the leaders not to drag the name of the governor into it.
“If a handful of them are not happy with the decision of the leaders in the area, they should not drag the governor into it.
“The governor held series of meetings with the people. If he wanted to impose, he would not have gone to such length. The governor did not impose anybody and will never engage in such act,” he said.
Regardless, the protesters insisted that the late Owhefere was betrayed, noting that none of his colleagues in the House rose to insist that his aide, Isagba should fly the party’s flag for the bye-election.
“What is two years that the governor cannot use to compensate his acclaimed friend by allowing Tim’s aide to replace him?
“No one really loves you. Even Hon. Leo Ogor of all people could not fight for Tim’s interest. We shall remain on the expressway until our wishes and demands are attended to,” Ogheneruro threatened.