The Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; ex-governor James Onanefe Ibori and others on Saturday vowed to ensure that the Peoples Democratic Party retains the governance of the state in 2023.
They, therefore, pledged to join hands to return the PDP in next year’s general elections in Delts.
The governor and the PDP chieftains enjoined all party members in the state to form a united front to enthrone peace and understanding as a family united by democratic tenets.
Governor Okowa and Ibori spoke during the PDP mega rally in Asaba, the state capital, on Saturday.
The governor assured PDP members in the state of free, fair and transparent primary elections ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Okowa stressed that PDP remained one united family, assuring that leaders of the party would ensure that primaries for all elective positions were free and credible.
He said that the massive mobilisation for the rally was ba testimony to the readiness by the PDP to rescue Nigeria from the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Okowa warned aspirants in other political parties in the state not bother contest elections in Delta so as not to waste their money.
The governor said, “I give thanks to God for what is happening here today and I thank our leaders in the PDP, our state and local government executives, our youths and women for the massive mobilisation for this rally.
“It is the grace of God and through their hands that we have mobilised to make a statement today across Nigeria that PDP is prepared to take over this nation.
“One good thing about us in the PDP is that we are one family. We are not like the other people where one man takes it all. Here in PDP, we are one family.
“We work as a family with the love of God but in the other parties, they are always fighting themselves.”
Okowa thanked the people of the state for their support and cooperation with his administration.
Okowa noted that the PDP had been able to retain its control of Delta State as a result of the unflinching support of the people.
He added, “It is because you have always supported us that is why when we win, we win very well. We won well in 2015 and in 2019, and in 2023 we will finish work again.
“We are advising those who want to run in other political parties not to waste their time and money because there is no space for them in Delta.”
The governor also noted that his administration had recorded a lot of landmark achievements since his election, stating that he had appointed many more youths into government, a development he said had never been witnessed in the history of the state.
Also speaking, former governor James Ibori, lauded Okowa for his leadership of the state and the party, declaring his continued support for the incumbent governor to ensure his success support even beyond his tenure.
Ibori said, “I thank you for the job you are doing in Delta and at the national level for the benefit of Nigerians. I most especially thank you for what I am seeing here today because you have done very well in Delta State and I cannot be more proud that you are our governor today.
“You are leading us very well and it is our duty, and we are all committed to say that you will finish very strong and at the end of the day we will all gather to thank God for you.
“From what I can see here, you have provided an atmosphere for a free and fair contest and you have provided an atmosphere for people’s aspirations to be heard without intimidation whatsoever.
“Of a truth, this was the philosophy behind the formation of this great party when I said in 1998 that democracy is about opening up the space and environment for everybody to aspire to whatever he or she believes in and I thank you for continuing with that vision.
“I want to thank you on behalf of teeming members of our party thank you and pray that God will continue to guide you as you lead us in the years ahead.’’
He further said that he didn’t “believe that your leadership will terminate at the end of your tenure as governor; I don’t believe that.
“I have come to say that you have earned your strides and your strides will continue to carry you on by the grace of God.
“On behalf of my one vote, my unit in Ogharefe, Ethiope West Local Government Area, I want to commit and dedicate myself to the service of PDP Delta State and Nigeria at large.”
Delta PDP Chairman, Chief Kingsley Esiso, while welcoming the defectors said that the rally was primarily organised to welcome them from the APC and other political parties.
Esiso noted that the mass defection from APC was a clear evidence that the ruling party had failed Nigerians in all ramifications.
He said, “I can tell you that the primary purpose of this rally is to reduce the opposition party in Delta State by 90 per cent.
“My heart is full of joy and a testimony that APC is a failed political party and the people of Delta have come to realise that APC has only come to bring us economic hardship, poverty, banditry, kidnapping and failed promises.
“It is therefore not a surprise that every reasonable member of the APC is jumping ship to join us. Today, we are harvesting many of their leaders from different local government areas and we are celebrating this victory for our great party.”
Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Otuaro; Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Chief Ndudi Elumelu; Senator James Manager and former Senate Chief Whip, Senator Stella Omu, were among other party stalwarts who also spoke at the rally.
The defectors were led by former APC chairman in Delta State, Chief Cyril Ogodo.
Ogodo pledged to join hands with the PDP in Delta to ensure that APC no longer existed in the state.