Despite Nwaoboshi’s imprisonment, victory song far from Nwoko, others

MATTHEW OCHEI writes on the moves by former House of Reps member, Ned Nwoko of the Peoples Democratic Party, to scuttle the third-time ambition of the incumbent Senator representing Delta North senatorial district, Peter Nwaoboshi on the platform of the All Progressives Congress

With political manoeuvrings and intrigues at their peak in Delta State, the Delta North senatorial district is witnessing an unusual scheming by the new order desirous of sending the old into political retirement.

While political juggernauts in the district believe it is all over for Peter Nwaoboshi, others think that the court might come to his rescue given the circumstantial evidence before it. On one hand is Ned Nwoko, a billionaire businessman craving the support of the people to give him a chance to improve their lot. On the other hand, is the old horse, Nwaoboshi, who says the older the wine, the better. For Nwaoboshi, the 2023 elections are not the time to reinvent the wheel but a window of opportunity to consolidate the gains already in the bag.

Things do not look rosy for the incumbent senator as an Appeal Court sitting in Lagos on July 1, 2022, sentenced Nwaoboshi to seven years in prison for alleged fraud. This singular kick is seen by many as capable of ending his tenancy in the red chamber. His supporters are however optimistic that the Supreme Court would vindicate him to enable him to continue the good works he has been known for in the past few years.

Nwaoboshi, the incumbent Senator representing the district won the senatorial bid under the platform of PDP in 2015 and 2019 but defected to the APC a few days after his suspension by the former. He would be vying for his third term on the platform of the ruling party.

Nwaoboshi was a former chairman of PDP, Delta State chapter from 2007 to 2014 and a one-time Commissioner and Special Adviser in the Governor James Ibori-led administration. The Senator’s troubles are by no means easier given the personality of the man he is up against. Ned Nwoko, the Prince of Anioma and PDP candidate is a tough nut to crack for any politician considering his popularity and financial war chest.

Nwoko, who was a former member of the Federal House of Representatives during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had also contested the Delta North senatorial seat in 2011 but lost out to Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. Nwoko again re-contested the senatorial seat in his ambition to represent his people in the Upper Chamber in 2014 and 2019 but lost on both occasions to Nwaoboshi.

Speaking recently at a campaign rally, Nwoko gave reasons why he is the best man for the job. He said, “I like Nwaoboshi to come out from where he is so that I can beat him. I don’t want to win by default. I want to win clearly. This is the chance for me to tell Nwaoboshi that I am the best material representing Anioma’s interest. A good lawmaker is as good as a person with executive power. It is all about lobbying. There are many things to be done.

“I will focus on the general well-being of Nigerians because as a senator, I represent Nigerians whether you are in PDP, APC or Labour Party, it does not make any difference. The well-being of Nigerians is more important. If you look at the bills that I sponsored when I was in the House of Representatives, they were about the people, the minimum wage, disability allowance, and youth service, among others.”

He further gave a hint of what to expect from him in capital projects execution if given the mandate, saying, “Coming down here, this road (Asaba-Benin road) needs to be resurfaced. We need service stations along the way. We just witnessed a very devastating flooding in Nigeria. We need to work on having dams wherever necessary. We need to have roads from Oko to Ndokwa East all the way through Isoko to Warri. That road must be done and the embarkment must be elevated. We need to look at gas flaring. I am prepared.”

The PDP senatorial candidate said he has got the needed experience and requisite lobbying skills to attract development to Anioma nation if elected.

A political analyst, Mr Osita Boise said it is quite unfortunate that Delta North senatorial district is mocking the incarceration of an illustrious son rather than joining a team of well-wishers to advocate his release.

“Delta North has been known for peaceful disposition and love toward one another but we must not allow politicians to tear us apart. I call on well-meaning Delta Northerners to shun the campaign of calumny and rally round their brothers not minding the victor, bearing in mind that whoever emerges from Anioma is a son of the soil. Life itself, though interesting, is transient. That is my message for the Anioma people,” he said.

An APC stalwart in Delta North, Mr Victor Sorokwu said Nwaoboshi remains the third tripod known to contemporary Delta politics.

In the words of Victor Sorokwu, a PDP chieftain in the area, “Nwaoboshi will always remain relevant in Delta North politics. He is already a household name and a champion of the Anioma nation. He is the incumbent Senator representing our Anioma nation and his contribution to the development of the nation cannot be wished away by a non-starter. Today, in Delta politics, Nwaoboshi remains the third tripod known to contemporary Delta politics.”

According to Sorokwu, “Nwaoboshi’s incarceration will not in any way diminish his relevance, acceptance and winsomeness in the 2023 general election. Come to think of it what will his opponent campaign with? As far as we are concerned, we need a ranking senator and that is what will position Anioma nation visibly in the red chamber and God’s willing, he will secure a leadership position as principal officer in the next senate.”

Speaking further, a pan-Anioma pressure group, Concerned Anioma Patriots said till date, the people of Delta North do not know the whereabouts of Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

The coordinator of the group, Mr Fred Nwaokolo said the group had called on the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to disclose the whereabouts of Nwaoboshi.

“We have stated it before and we are saying it again, that Senator Nwaoboshi is neither the first nor will he be the last to walk this torturous path as the exact abode of his contemporaries, such as the Senate Chief whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and of course, Senator Joshua Dariye was not hidden. The eerie silence on Senator Nwaoboshi’s exact abode will invariably engender a plethora of speculative versions.

“The various suppositional versions making the rounds opined that the Senator is either at a custodial centre or a secret health facility while yet others say he currently enjoys a convoy-backed unfettered movement.

“It is a curious paradox that a senatorial zone with the highest number of local government areas in the state and endowed with eminently accomplished personalities has been without a representative for the past six months.

“If you do not see or hear from somebody, how will you think of voting for such a person? 2023 is close but we have not set our eyes on our representative or heard from him,” he said.

He, therefore, admonished Malami to reveal Senator Nwaoboshi’s dwelling place as it will avail Delta North the deserved representation at the senate, dispelling the notion that he (Malami) believes in the Orwellian assertion ‘That all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

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