Okowa: Implications Of An Electoral Triumph

BY MONDAY UWAGWU
FOLLOWING the outcome of the 2015 gubernatorial poll in Delta State, it has come clearly evident that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is still actively ahead of all others, at least, in terms of voter response.
Significantly, the poll was evidently largely peaceful, bearing fruit to the fact of the activism of the peace and security agenda of the Uduaghan administration; it is equally a befitting tribute to the fact of the significant enlightenment of the electorate in the state-far less people are now getting involved in election malfeasance. This is a good development, given the multi-cultural profile of the state, and the stridency with which the three candidates-Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP; Chief O’tega Emerhor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Great Ogboru of Labour Party-fought the electoral war. Clearly, the real winners-in far more ways than one- are the ordinary Deltans, who, in spite of the deluge that swept across parts of the state that polling day, still m
ade it to the polling units to cast ballot for their preferred candidates and parties, peacefully.
As for the poll result itself, this bears testimony to a trend in the state-the potency of the ruling PDP and-and operational efficiency of its war machine. It is instructive, for instance, that Okowa’s victory, and hence that of the party, means in effect that the party has been in power at the state governorship level, for all of the past roughly 16 years. That it has done this is not only evidence of potency, but doing this at a time that the party has lost the vital Presidency and was in its worst operational clime, so to speak, on that account, attests to the resilience of the men and women behind it. Without a doubt, legion factors are responsible for this, not the least is the relative strength of the other parties in relation to the PDP; what is not in doubt, whatever anyone says, is that the PDP in the state has teeth, and can bite, as it has roundly demonstrated.
Prominent elements of the potency of the PDP machine include its operational reach-it has the most penetrative reach of all parties in the state, and, arising on that account, an appeal that is also quite reckonable, across the state.
The performance of officers, either elected or appointed into office in its name, have generally performed, and the fact of this is ascertainable from the fact that, in the face of the time for change campaign of the APC and Labour, for instance, the vast majority of Deltans, going by the results announced yesterday by INEC in Asaba, still opted for the party (which is now in opposition, in the light of the presidential poll outcome), in the implied resolve to swim or sink with it; only demonstrable conviction in the capacity of the party and its leaders would have made Deltans-a highly mobile and enlightened people-to go the way they have chosen.
Clearly, a critical factor in favour of the PDP in the last Saturday gubernatorial poll in the state is not only the vital resource of fund –as some have said, vital and true this may be-but its organisational structure; arising from the fact of it having being in power for the past nearly 16 years, is the opportunity it has had to build a network of strategic political structure across the state that is as responsive and organic as it is penetrative and potent. This is one factor that has, almost always, played in its favour in crucial moments, and while other parties lack this-again for understandable reasons-the PDP has always latched on it to telling effect to overwhelm even the most formidable political foe.
While the details of the mechanisms of this all-conquering political war machine of the state PDP may not be easily gleanable from the public, it is imperative that, in passing, we admit that its efficiency must be partly, if not largely attributable to the disposition of the state Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who, if he were less noble and committed to the Delta PDP family principle, especially its electoral inviolability, would not have engineered the party to its earth-shaking electoral success. For one, after the truncation of his rumoured Senatorial aspiration, and the defeat of his alleged preferred gubernatorial aspirant in the party’s primary election held in Asaba before active Television tubes, a less faithful party leader could have chosen to look the other way, while things spoil, as it is said in Delta parlance. But not Uduaghan; in fact, after the shocking outcome of the presidential poll, while others were still either ruminating the loss or celebrating their victory, he summoned all stakeholders of the party to a meeting where the strategise for an effective electoral outing in the subsequent polls were mapped out and fine tuned. This was followed out by not only missionary implementation, but also by the reasoned reach out to all those-within and outside of the party-who could in one way or the other, affect the polls’ outcome, to bring them in tow. This enabled the party to go into the poll proper as a truly united front, a feat, given the otherwise potent appeal of the time for change campaign of the other contenders, especially the APC, which had earned the highly- strategic presidency in the earlier tranche of polls.
Yet, one other fact cannot be denied; this has to do with the fact that, long before many deeply appreciated it, Gov. Uduaghan, as the undisputed leader of the PDP leader in the state, made the party machinery in the state to respect the valuable principle of in-house democratic practice by holding the most transparent gubernatorial primary in the history of the party in the state. This highly credible process and its open and acceptable outcome made the work of the party-in relation to the subsequent post-primary healing process-quite easy and the eventual campaign for the general elections, far less treacherous than had been experienced in recent past. With the PDP going to the governorship contest far more united than is otherwise feasible, the other parties had their work cut out for them, while the poll was the PDP’s to win or lose.
Then while it is generally held-and with good and justifiable reason-that parties, generally, rather than individuals, win elections, it is increasingly evident that the perception of the individual flag bearer of the respective parties is increasingly becoming an issue in voter response and field returns, in polls. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is one of the core values that influenced the outcome of the governorship poll in the state. Without any iota of doubt, all three candidates-Ogboru (who set the record of contesting the governorship a record fifth time by his participation in last Saturday’s poll); Emerhor andOkowa are eminently qualified to lead the state and its people. That is the honest truth-the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as it is said in the legal parlance.
However, if the truth has to be said, Okowa, without any doubt, at least, perceptibly, encompasses more leadership ingredients than the others, pound-for-pound, as it is said in professional boxing. While others can rightly lay claim to sundry leadership virtues, Okowa, without any doubt,has all what others have, and much more; he is experienced across a wide range of issues-politics, administration, etc, and has highly relevant exposure at the three tiers of government-federal, state and local, where he had served as either secretary, chairman, commissioner, secretary to state government and senator- and has an inimitable across-the-border appeal to virtually all interests in the state. This is the solid explanation for the result of the poll which showed him winning in virtually all districts, making him a truly pan-Delta mandate-bearer that has the innate potential to lead our people to a state of inimitable brotherhood, differences in tribe and tongue notwithstanding.