By Emeka Nwokocha
Political tactician, industrialist and former Minister of State for Education, Olorogu Kenneth Gbagi, has reiterated unalloyed commitment to govern Delta State and launch it at the apogee of economic and infrastructural development, saying, “I’ll turn Delta state to glory if I become the governor in 2023.”
Gbagi, a Delta state governorship hopeful in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), made the statement on Saturday 18 June, during a press briefing held at his country home, Oginibo, Ughelli South local government area of the state.
Fielding questions from journalists ,Gbagi, a legal icon, disabused the public who believes that victories at elections are dependent on political structures, saying that the 2023 elections would not be won on the platform of structures.
His words, “the election we are going to hold in 2023 is not on the basis of structures. Market women will vote, they don’t have any structure; school teachers will vote, they don’t have any structure; pensioners will vote, they don’t have any structure; and churches and church goers will vote, they don’t have any structure. So, the issue of structure has nothing to do with 2023 election. It is an election where you are supposed to pick somebody that you believe can guarantee the future of your pregnancy, the future of your children, the future of your state, and the future of your children yet unborn.”
Continuing, Gbagi charged Deltans to take their destiny in their hands in 2023 elections, saying, “I want to categorically state that among all of us who have been thrown up as governorship candidates, the choice is yours to make. If you want to pick somebody who will put the state in bad shape than we already have, it is your business. If you want the state to develop to a point, when you go to teach, you get your salary as and when due; when you retire from service, you get your money as and when due, it is your business.
“After 29 of May, 2023, if you participated in selling your birth right for a package of maggi or a package of rice, or you were bribed, you must not complain about bad governance.”
He reiterated, “I resonate to work with the youths, to work with pensioners, to work with teachers, to work with doctors and to work with anybody that mean well for Delta state.”
Banking on his capacity to transform Delta state, he said, “everybody in Delta state knows me and what I can stand for, so if you believe I can do the work, give me your support. I want to state clearly that this is the first time I am going to run an election with any political party. I have never contested an election before. This is the first time I am going to be on the ballot and I can assure you, we will win the election.”
Responding to a rumoured dent in his relationship with governor Okowa occasioned by a twist in recent political happenings in government house, and why he opted out of the PDP governorship primaries, Gbagi took a walk down memory lane, saying, “all of you will agree that I am the closest person to Governor Okowa, and for some reasons, I am the junior brother of Okowa, not because of his being the governor, but for the fact that his father, having acknowledged the huge and unalloyed assistance I gave to his son (governor Okowa), sent for me and adopted me as his second son after the governor. That adoption is so historic that the governor cannot change it. It is only his father (if he were alive) that can rescind it.”
Gbagi continued, “that I decided to leave the PDP with tears in my eyes was a right decision for me. That was the ‘house’ I built, but I’ve to leave to prove my competency at the ballot. I am a competent man and want God to decide my fate on the ballot. So, I can tell you whatever happened at the government house gave me a closer understanding as to why I took the decision to come and vie for the governorship election under the platform of SDP.”
He remarked, “I’m too wise, too senior a politician and as a lawyer, to be stupid. I believe I complied legally with the tenets of the electoral act. I believe I did what was right. I believe my statement as to why I will not participate in what I considered the PDP primaries was… that is why I left, and that is why I am legally in the position to have gone to SDP. What should rather be central in the discussion is to thank me for my smartness, because if I was not to be smart, they would have caught me in that web of a people who went into an election, then you walk into a trap, but I am a free man because I walked out of the trap.”
Gbagi described Delta State as the richest state in Africa, stating that with all the resources and endowments in the state, he would turn the state to glory.
He continued, “If you truly want your industries to be revived which I can do, I am the man you should support. If you truly want your schools to be revived and your teachers paid salaries as and when due, I am the man you should support. If you want your hospitals to have medical equipment and drugs to cater to the medical needs of the people, I am the man you should support. If you want your government to be run on transparency, I am the man to make that happen. After one year, come and I will show you what I have done, how l’ve turned around your industries.
Responding to an allegation that governor Okowa is using him in SDP to divide the votes, Gbagi strongly debunked the allegation, saying I had said before that Okwa is a brother and he will remain a brother, but on principle, I want to say that Okowa cannot use me to do anything. Nobody in this world, except God can use me to do anything.”
He stated further, “in fact, one of the reasons Okowa, after seven years of agreement, decided to do what he is doing now, is that he knows I cannot be controlled, and nothing can buy my conscience in this world.”
Asked if he would support the clamour for a southern president, Gbagi said, “there is an agreement that the north should do eight years, then power should go to south. I will support a presidential candidate from the south.
“I am a southerner; I fully support and charge all southerners, all the churches, all the teachers, all the pensioners, and anybody that has good understanding of life to support the call for a southern president.
“I believe in the unity of Nigeria, I don’t hate any northerner, I have friends across the north, including Emirs, but one thing is clear, we give room for equity, fairness and justice.”
“We must bring government to south for eight years and take government back to north for another eight years, that is the most equitable thing I support as a lawyer who believes in the unity and progress of Nigeria, anything on the contrary is dead on arrival, nobody will support that,” Gbagi stated.