October 7, 2022

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As was always expected, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has emerged as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest in the 2023 governorship race in Delta state.
His emergence sets the stage for what would likely become one of the most keenly contested races in the state’s history as he would be the first ever opposition candidate with a political arsenal potent enough to threaten the 23 years hold on power in the state by the PDP.
Several predictions have been swayed by the belief that the PDP would maintain its political dominance in the state. This is plausible. Considering its vast network of support across the state built over the years, the PDP could keep a firm grip on its machinery through its huge war chest.
However, there is a growing tide of opposition within and outside the party, and the emergence of a popular candidate like Omo-Agege has raised questions about any assurances of the PDP retaining its control.
It is important to put in perspective the implication of the DSP’s emergence in the race. First, he is only the third figure from the Niger Delta to have attained a position among the first six in the hierarchy of political leadership under civil rule in the country, and the only one from the Urhobo ethnic group to have achieved that feat.
Of significance also is the speed with which he has ascended the political ladder. Some insist that his election to legislative leadership is settlement for the 2018 mace snatching saga in the red chambers, but his position in the Senate today could also be a result of his political experience and his defence of the interests of his party at the Red Chamber.
Many pundits also ascribe Omo agege’s selection as candidate by his party to his mastery of the political art, underscored by his emergence as a first time senator in 2015 under the banner of a relatively unknown party, the Labour Party, when he won the Delta Central senatorial district in Delta state.
Until his surprise victory, the Senatorial district had always been considered, along with the state, to be the stronghold of the PDP. It is obvious that he has gone on to work his way through the labyrinth of political intrigues in the red chamber unscathed to have emerged one of the dominant political forces both at the national and state level.
Many believe that Omo-Agege has gathered a large following because of a courageous stance against an entrenched political clique that has never really considered the possibility of a threat to its political dominance.
However, he was also once in this clique. He had been a member of the PDP in the early stages of his political sojourn- and for a while too, and had even served in various key political positions under the Ibori government in Delta state.
However, his metamorphosis into an independent political force outside the PDP seems to have reinforced his reputation in the state as a political strategist.
According to respected opinions on Delta politics, there are several reasons why Omo-Agege is regarded as the only one who poses a threat to the PDP establishment in the state. First, With his national relevance, many see Omo-Agege as the most important arbiter for the development of the Niger-Delta at the national level.
His records already show a string of successes in this area: several groups credit him with the development of many of the important initiatives in the area of conflict resolution introduced during the Ibori administration.
Secondly, his admirers insist that he has used his office to bring important projects to Delta state that all previous legislators have failed to do.
He is almost singlehandedly credited with legislative efforts that resulted in the establishment of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, FUPRE, Delta State. He is also credited by many with attracting a Federal Polytechnic to Orogun in Ughelli North Local Government Area, and the establishment of the Defence Space School to Orogun as well.
As it stands, Omo-Agege’s voice has become an influential one in the corridors of power on issues that have long been neglected either because of the lack of clout of the advocates or the contentious nature of the relationship between government and these advocates at the federal level.
As he plays an assertive role as a representative with unprecedented clout both regionally and nationally, Omo-Agege has demonstrated a level of versatility that may prove to be his most tangible endorsement for state executive leadership yet.
Omo-Agege obviously has a keen eye for the intricate demands that navigating the rapids of Nigerian politics requires. He goes back to Delta state, his primary grooming ground, to seek the highest political office at a time when there seems to be yearning for alternative leadership.
He may have the political and administrative experience to govern, but the task would also require appropriate grasp of the issues and the requisite will political will to address pressing demands in the state.
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