THE campaign train of the Delta North Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has successfully, toured Seven out of the Nine Local Government areas of Delta State. It started with Aniocha North where it was more of a “thank you” visit to Deltans because of the fact that the area has produced among other top political office holders since 1999, a Deputy Governor on the PDP platform, Chief (Sir) Benjamin S.C. Elue.
Aniocha North is also, peculiar as it is home to the Delta North Senatorial Candidate, the Star Prince, Ned Nwoko, and a vibrant lawmaker, Rt. Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who is the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Of course, Deacon Chuks Nwaebuni, the Campaign Coordinator for the Local Government did justice to his job as he seamlessly piloted the campaign train from one Ward to the other and at Aniocha South where we have former Ministers in the likes of Chief Chris Agbobu, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and others, the tempo increased, but when the campaign train entered the home of Hon. Sunny Tatabuzogwu, that is, Ika South where Hon. Tatabuzogu holds sway as the Council Chairman, it became a home-coming. The turnout of people in the communities visited was massive.
If the tempo increased at Ika South where the likes of Cordelia Anyagu, Cosmas Igbenije, Peter Idion, Dennis Araro, and others chested out to say it was their area, Ika North-East, home to the Governor of Delta State, Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was a carnival from the first day of the visit and the wife of the Governor, Dame Edith Okowa and the House of Assembly candidate in the area, Barr. Marylyn Daramola for the first time since the commencement of the tour, introduced a stage, the type seen at Presidential rallies, and such notable musicians like Harrysong mounted the stage to entertain the audience. So, the first day in Ika North-East witnessed what several political parties can never get even at their Presidential rallies. The Local Government is also, home to the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri, Lady Collina Anazia, Barr. Eugene Uzum and others.
What happened on the first day in Ika North-East changed the narratives in the campaign and on the last day of the visit to the area, Mr. Raymond Mgbakor and Hilary Ibegbulem, as if determined to prove a point that there was no single opposition in the area, had a well-organized campaign grounds again with almost all the people in their communities in attendance.
At Ukwuani Local Government Area where the Commissioner for Finance, Chief Fidelis Okenmor Tilije is from, the joy in the people can be literarily felt and when the campaign train visited Chief Tilije’s Ward, his organizational acumen was evident. Apart from the live band, performance by masquerades added colour to that visit. Naturally, Tilije has made name right from the 1990’s when he was at Fortune Bank and politically, he had contested elections as Deputy Governorship candidate to Chief Great Ogboru, in short, it is being whispered in political circles that apart from being the strategist that made Chief Ogboru popular during elections, he was also, the financial war-chest of Chief Ogboru’s campaign, as such, he is a great asset to the PDP and what happened during that visit to his Ward was a testament to his reach. As we were about leaving Obiaruku, someone whispered, “Tilije and Omenosa, Chief Isaac Onyesom will move the people to Chief Tilije’s country home by the River and this show will continue till tomorrow morning.”
On Monday and Tuesday, the campaign train was at Oshimili North where the Secretary to the Delta State Government, SSG, Chief Patrick Ukah is from. Development of the area could be seen from all the Wards visited and of course, the fact that Chief Ukah, the Akatakpo-Enyi of Okpanam Kingdom was the campaign coordinator of the Local Government spoke volumes of how the people naturally embraced the PDP as great beneficiaries of good governance provided by the umbrella political party. The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, is also from the area and he danced all through, beaming with smile when the campaign train visited Illah, his community.
The Chairman of the Local Government Council, Hon. Innocent Esewezie, who has proven that youths can do wonders in the management of men and resources when given the opportunity ensured that during the visit to his Ward, caterers were brought to feed the people and of course, he added gift items too for people to always remember the day that they visited his Ward at Ibusa.
On Thursday and Friday will see the campaign train visiting Ndokwa West, that is, my Local Government where the Deputy Governorship candidate of the PDP in Delta State, Chief Monday Onyeme is from. Chief Onyeme is a known philanthropist, a socialite, easy going, accessible, and loved by the people, so, the question is, what will the campaign train meet in Ndokwa West?
As an insider, I am aware that no stone is being left unturned to ensure that the “PDP festival” that is moving from Local Government to Local Government gets the highest momentum in Ndokwa West. The area boasts of such notable politicians as Rt. Hon. Ossai N. Ossai, Rt. Hon. Sam Osasa, Chief Festus Ochonogor, Hon. Aneke Ifemeni, among others, and the Chairman of the party in the area, Ogbuefi Lucky Okuji, surprisingly, skipped the campaign tour of Oshimili North Local Government Area apparently to be at home to ensure that the campaign train gets a rousing welcome in the area.
In the next couple of weeks, the Ward-to-Ward campaign will end but, most people will not want it to end. This is because, while it has provided an avenue for people to have fun almost all through the month, enjoying live performances by notable artists, and having opportunities to be in a convivial environment where people throw banters despite the hardship imposed on Nigerians by the All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government. The people are also happy that the campaign tour has provided an avenue for them to thank God for what He has used the PDP to do for humanity
Naturally, one set of people that will want the campaign train to visit and visit the Local Governments again and again, are those who hawk wares. At every community visited by the PDP train, the groundnut sellers, and bottled water sellers, including those who sell branded wares always run out of stock because of the heavy patronage. What about Okada riders that are readily available to convey those who are missing their ways or the hotels that are fully booked because of the “PDP festivals?”
Most of these persons in the communities have benefited so much from the PDP that they were also, itching for an avenue to say “thank you” to the party and further pledge their loyalty to the party; an opportunity that was presented by the campaign tour. Of course, the wife of Prince Ned Nwoko, Regina-Daniels who is a famous face in Nollywood is one person who has been attracting the youths, especially the females to the rallies. The youths are always eager to have photographs with Regina-Daniels; a rare opportunity which Regina-Daniels always granted. Though, her husband, Prince Ned Nwoko, has succeeded in emerging unopposed, because, no one can be seen opposing him from other political parties, his commitment to the tour of the Wards has distinguished him as someone who is eager to know those that he is representing. Prince Nwoko, it would be recalled, has been contesting for the Senatorial ticket of the PDP since 2003. He participated actively at the PDP primaries that took place at the Arcade, the ones that took place at the Cenotaph, and today, he has emerged as the candidate. The fun in his emergence is that his known opponent in the primaries, Surveyor Paul Osaji, is not only supporting him as “a party man” by going from Ward-to-Ward but, he is doing that financially too.
It is worthy to state here that some regular faces at the rallies include the Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ochor Christopher Ochor, Chief Godwill Obielum, and Chief Nkem Okwuofu, not forgetting some persons who prefer to work behind the scene like Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, Comrade Joshua Opia, Dr. David Oba, and several others.
The Deputy Governorship candidate, Chief Monday Onyeme, as the leader of the team, is always ready to reel out the candidates of the party from the House of Assembly candidates to the Presidential candidates and at the end, the people will chorus, “PDP! Five over five; PDP! All the way.”
At the campaign grounds, one could not help but notice that Chief Onyeme has perfected the act of marketing the candidates, displaying rare skills in marketing and public relations despite the fact that he is a renowned Chartered Accountant. The success stories of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration in a lot of ways, is making the marketing of PDP to Deltans very easy as most Deltans are beneficiaries of good governance as provided by the PDP-led administration and they are ready to vote out the APC in the 2023 general elections for their Governor, Sen. Okowa to emerge as Vice-President to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and for Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori to emerge as Governor of Delta State.
Chairman of the party in Delta North, Elder Moses Iduh, has a template on the failures of the APC-led Federal Government and he is always ready to dish out such with the people acknowledging the failures of APC-led Government and why they will vote for the PDP.
The days ahead promises to be more interesting. If the Ward-to-Ward campaign could be this interesting, what should the world expect when the PDP embarks on campaign tours of Local Governments?
Your guess is as good as mine because, in Delta, no one wants to be left out in proving that he or she is a great supporter of the party that has put smiles on their faces, the PDP.
Comrade Fidelis Egugbo, the writer, is the Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Media. He is also, a member of the Media Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta State Campaign Council.