The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been engaged in a fierce campaign as the two parties mobilised support for their respective candidates in Saturday’s Delta State House of Assembly bye-election for Isoko South Constituency 1 vacant seat.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa personally led the PDP campaign train, which stormed Isoko South Local Government Area while Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is the Deputy President of the Senate, took the driver’s seat in the APC’s vote-chasing train also to the local government area.
The Isoko South Constituency 1 seat in the state house of assembly became vacant following the death of the former member representing the area, Mr Kenneth Ogba in July.
Omo-Agege noted that the Isoko South bye-election would provide the APC with the opportunity to test-run its strategy it hopes to unleash in the 2023 general election to snatch control of power in the state from the PDP.
The deputy senate president urged the voters in the area to dump the ‘umbrella’ for the ‘broom’ by voting massively for his party’s candidate in all the units and wards.
Omo-Agege urged the electorate to vote the APC candidate in the election, Dr Ogaga Ifowodo, saying Governor Okowa did not love Isoko people beyond lip-service, noting that voting for APC would bring them to power at the centre.
Despite the factional crisis currently tearing apart the Delta chapter of the party, Omo-Agege urged the APC members and supporters to close ranks to win the bye-election on Saturday.
On the other hand, Governor Okowa, while addressing PDP members and supporters at a rally at Oleh, administrative headquarters of Isoko South, on Wednesday stressed the importance of mobilisation of the electorate particularly with pilot use of the new Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) device being introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to clear qualified voters.
The BVAS would be used simultaneously with the old practice of accreditation of each voter by fingerprint and photograph to ensure the authenticity and validity of votes cast.
While calling for harmony and unified sense of purpose by the PDP members and local leaders, Okowa said: “There is need to be united because a divided people cannot develop as much as a united people and I want brotherly love and unity to continue to reign in Isokoland.
“Isoko people are already a blessed people and it is my prayer that Isoko nation will not see the kind of things that happened this year because we have lost many sons and daughters of Isoko this year alone,” he said.
Okowa commended party leaders and stakeholders in the area for resolving to work in the interest of the party and its candidate for the by-election, Mr Ovuakpoye Evivie.
“Let us mobilise the people to come and vote and after voting stay and protect your votes. I look forward to hearing the result because I am very sure we will win convincingly and shut up the mouth of opposition once and for all.”
The state PDP Chairman, Kingsley Esiso, also urged the people to remain steadfast in their support for the party, claiming that the party in control of the federal government had performed far below expectations by encouraging incompetence and thereby worsening insecurity, hunger and poverty in the country.
Chairman of the party in Isoko South, Chief Godspower Obaro, said the people of Oleh would vote PDP in appreciation of the massive infrastructural development in the area, especially the reconstruction of old Oleh-Ozoro Road and ‘dualisation’ of Emore Road by the Okowa administration.