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Delta State Politics Faces Uncertain Future

Part 1

Onochie Nwokolo
22/05/2010

Delta State, a major oil producer in the Niger Delta region is in a major political confusion on who becomes the next Governor of the State in the 2011 elections.
In the past three years, the opposition parties to the ruling People’s Democratic Party in Delta State have been successfully dwarfed having performed abysmally or rigged out in the last gubernatorial elections.

However, today, the real opposition is within the ruling party in the state with most of the opposition channeled to the incumbent Governor of the State, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan. Precisely, before Jonathan Ebele Goodluck emerged President of Nigeria, the opposition had been seeking a message that would help them regain some control of the party structure and political appointments but the story is now different. Recently, these members of the state PDP who feel marginalized by Governor Uduaghan have been harshly attacking his administration as a wasteful spender whose programmes have had little positive impact.

Even some Uduaghan’s supporters are rebelling, questioning his mode of running the state as a family affair and his  authority in awarding mega contracts single handedly. And yet all this is just the beginning of the battle and related headaches for the Uduaghan administration: Questions are now being raised openly about why an impeachment has not been effected and an avalanche of reasons are emerging why the thought of a second tenure for Uduaghan should not be on the Party agenda.
At the forefront of opposition against the Uduaghan administration is Chief E. K Clark, a former Federal Information Minister and member of the PDP.

Even as an octogenarian, he has proved that he can still draw a crowd and redefine the political trend of his home Delta State. The new force behind the opposition may not be far from public knowledge because Chief Clark is well known to have the ears of the Presidency.

He had in the past been very vocal on the national level especially on issues relating to perceived marginalization of his people from the oil rich  Niger Delta region. Beyond, asking for more revenue for his people from the Federal government, he has also variously given voice to the mismanagement of resources by Governors of the Niger Delta region.

Of particular focus is his home state. With the ascension of Jonathan Goodluck as the first President of Nigeria from the Niger Delta region, the complexion of Chief Clark’s opposition has changed with quantum momentum that has made it pretty obvious now that Uduaghan and his supporters were wrong in undermining the force of his opposition.

Opposition to incumbency is common practice and welcome development in any good democratic setting because it has the potential of strengthening governance.

However, in Delta State the existing opposition is increasingly becoming complex with adverse consequences. Governor Uduaghan has many detractors, even within the PDP and from unfolding events; he may not have proven to be a good manager of political crisis. Presently, his biggest opposition which is the Chief E.K Clark's group cannot be ignored.

Even without any visible structure to make them win elections, the purported backing of the Presidency and the growing resentment against Uduaghan's administration by some prominent politicians in the state are two strong weapons the opposition is effectively utilizing in wedging a political battle. That Uduaghan is a force within the party is indisputable, but in the present circumstance, his power is not overwhelming.

While critics are raising questions about why the huge allocation of funds by the Federal government to the Delta State hasn't translated to real development despite its status as an oil producing state, the defenders of Uduaghan claim that the administration has performed better than any past government. Be that as it may, there is also speculation that all may not be well for Uduaghan at the Presidency.

The opposition has dangerously been sowing seeds of discord between the Presidency and Uduaghan and this was recently confirmed by Uduaghan himself.

Part 2

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