Ex-Education Minister, Gbagi Withdraws From Delta Governorship Race, Accuses Governor Okowa Of Threat To Life

A former Minister of State for Education and Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) governorship aspirant in the forthcoming 2023 general elections, Kenneth Gbagi, has withdrawn from the race.
Gbagi in a petition addressed to the National Chairman of the party, titled “Threat to Life Anti-democratic Conduct by His Excellency Ifeanyi Okowa Governor Delta at Government House Asaba”, obtained by SaharaReporters, accused the governor of threats to his life among others as some of the reasons of his withdrawal from participating in the party’s forthcoming governorship primary.

The petition which was copied to the state party chairman and stakeholders, also accused the governor of hijacking the whole process as against all promises and pledges made by Okowa that there would be a free, fair and level playing ground for all aspirants.
According to the petitioner, he had attended a meeting called by the governor in Asaba where his life was allegedly threatened.
“On arriving at the Government House, Asaba the venue of the meeting, I was surprised to be accosted by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Ovie Agas who pleaded with me that contrary to the message sent out inviting all ad hoc delegates that he was requested by His Excellency to ensure that I and several other persons were not allowed into the venue. I insisted that as a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as an ad hoc delegate I was entitled to be told the reason why I was persona non grata in a PDP event that some persons who were not two years old in the party were entitled to attend.
“When pleas by the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Delta State did not move me out of the premises of Government House, I was accosted by a gun-trotting ADC to the Governor, Frank Omokhoje Longe, who told me he had orders to shoot me and nothing would happen if I did not immediately vacate the premises of Government House, Asaba.
“That I had been told that the governor did not want me in PDP or any PDP meetings henceforth and I was still insisting on attending the meeting. Whilst the altercations were going on, the chairman of my local government council identified me on the list of delegates as an ad hoc delegate and pointed out that my name was on the list. But all pleas fell on deaf ears.
“The governor called the meeting to intimidate and witch hunt ad hoc delegates using the pomp and circumstances of his office and tax payers’ money to overawe the delegates. The governor issued threats against any person who he said would engage in anti-party activities by voting against his preferred candidate in the forthcoming primary elections of PDP.
“He also openly offered inducement between N1million and above if the delegates would vote for Sheriff Oborevwori. He said there would be more, if they toed his line. On the spot, each ad hoc delegate who was allowed into the venue was given N100,000 N1million promised at the venue. Senator Dr. Okowa is bent on sinking the fortunes of PDP in Delta State with an unmarketable candidate for reasons best known to him, but using threats to the life of members of PDP crosses the line.
“I could have been killed by a person whose salary is paid by the people of Delta State simply because I wanted to participate in the political life of my party; if I were a nobody, the story might have been different. I was a founding member of PDP 1998 and I have been a member of PDP since then till date. I served as Honorable Minister for Education and it is still on record that in nine months, we founded 13 universities all over the federation. I will not continue to pretend that the party which we founded 23 years ago and brought to Delta State and by the grace of God has won every Governorship election since 1999 has not changed beyond all recognition by the above acts.
“It is therefore my humble view that as a Foundation member of the party from 1998 to date, a former Minister for Education, having validly obtained my expression of interest and nomination form, screened by the screening panel and issued a certificate to contest the Governorship election, my refusal today as an ad hoc delegate is a clear act of hostility, desperation and threat to life.
“I hereby withdraw my participation in the primaries since Governor Okowa, contrary to all his promises and pledges that there will be a free, fair and level playing ground is untrue; since he has pre-determined the primary election.”
When SaharaReporters contacted the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, he debunked the allegation, describing it as unfounded and a figment of the imagination of the former minister.
“How can you attend a meeting you were not invited? Few days to the governorship primary election, you said your life was under threat by the governor. How can he say he doesn’t want to run again, because he knows he has failed already? Does Governor Ifeanyi Okowa look like who will be threatening anybody? That didn’t happen. It happened that he stumbled into a meeting he was not invited and he was asked to leave that the meeting was not meant for his category of persons.
“Meetings are both positioned and individually specified. Even as a commissioner, not every meeting called I can attend because they are specified and individually positioned,” Aniagwu stated.


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