Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has dropped two Commissioners; Dr. Kingsley Emu (Commerce and industry) and Barr. Neworld Safugha (Local Government Affairs) from his cabinet, in a major cabinet reshuffle, which saw the appointment of Ten new Commissioners, a new Chief of Staff and the movements and placements of some key portfolios, in what many Delta watchers have interpreted as a clear indication and political signal of his intentions ahead of the 2015 general elections in the state.
The new Commissioners include Hon. Solomon Ighrakpata (Housing), Joel Bisina (Special Duties (Abuja), Powell Tos Ojogho (Bureau of Sp. Duties), David Anuku (Special Duties(Ughelli-Asaba Dualization Project), David Ekerekosu (Directorate of Project Monitoring), Chris Ekiyor (Commerce & Industry), Omoluabi Newumi (Directorate of Youth Devt), Austin Ayemidejor (Special Duties(Asaba and Osubi Airports), Mathew Opuoru (DESOPADEC Liaison) and Benjamin Iwezu (Directorate of Local Government Affairs).
The key portfolio movements include; Tony Nwaka, from Bureau of Special Duties to Education (Basic and Primary), Prof. Patrick Muogboghare, from Education (Basic and Primary) to Agriculture; Barr. Misan Ukubeiyeinje, from Agriculture to Lands and Survey; Patrick Ferife, from Lands and Survey to Special Infrastructure and Chief Paulinus Akpeki, who has now moved from Housing to become the new Chief of Staff, Government House.
Barr. Orezi Esievo, (Sp. Duties, Special Infrastructure) and Ifeanyi Michael Osuoza, (Sp. Duties, Project Monitoring), had both resigned from the cabinet, to pursue their political ambitions in the Delta State House of Assembly, while Charles Emetulu (Min of Energy) and Festus Goziem Okubor (Chief of Staff) also resigned to pursue their political ambition as Governor of Delta State, respectively, in 2015.
However, the main talking point surrounding the appointment of new commissioners and the cabinet reshuffle that accompanied it, has been the dropping of Kingsley Emu, formerly of Commerce and Industry and Neworld Safugha formerly of Local Government Affairs, from the cabinet; a move which many Delta analysts have quickly interpreted as a clear and direct message by Governor Uduaghan to certain political interests in the state.
The two men have been strongly identified with major political interests in the State. Kingsley Emu, for instance has been a known and very loyal supporter of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, while Neworld Safugha is said to be unequivocally loyal to Senator James Manager.
It is no longer news in Delta State that both Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Senator James Manger are locked in a serious political battle with Governor Emmanuel on two major fronts; the Governorship race and the Delta South Senatorial zone ticket.
The overwhelming opinion in the political landscape of Delta State, had been that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa was the main front runner in the race to replace Governor Uduaghan in Government House in 2015, and all the indicators had strongly tipped Okowa to grab the governorship ticket, until Governor Uduaghan himself had quite covertly and dramatically launched Anthony Chuks, his former Permanent Secretary in Government House and interestingly a kinsman of Okowa himself from the Ika nation, Obuh into the governorship race.
Not only did public opinion conclude that Uduaghan launched Obuh into the 2015 governorship race, he was also purportedly labeled as having deployed the full weight of the state machinery, political structure and financial arsenal to drive the Obuh campaign and create a major political game changer in the political calculations of the state, to the detriment of the political ambitions of the likes of Okowa especially.
On the second front, Governor Uduaghan has already indicated his intention to contest the Delta South Senatorial seat, in the 2015 elections and this had put himin direct confrontation with incumbent and distinguished Senator James Manager, who had also indicated his interest to continue in the seat.
Several high profile altercations between both men had been widely reported, including an incident in the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan were both men were said to have engaged in a shouting match in front of President Goodluck Jonathan, who then reportedly advised them to go back to Delta and settle the matter on their own.
Matters had not also been helped between both men, by the conflicting signals coming out of the PDP National Secretariat, over who is in actual control of the political structure in the state, as conflicting reports had initially handed the political structure in the state to governors, only for another report to suggest that the Senators had successfully convinced Wadata plaza and the presidency to hand back the political structures in the sates to them.
The recently held PDP ward congresses in the states to elect delegates for the state congresses, had also raised plenty of political dust over who had the upper hand in the composition of the delegates lists, and the decision of the PDP national working committee to postpone the dates for the primaries, for all elective positions for the 2015 elections, by two weeks, has raised a frenzy of political activities in the state and frenetic movements from Delta to and from Abuja, by the main actors and interest groups, within the party.
The battle line has thus drawn, and while the rest of the political gladiators on the governorship front had commenced a campaign to stop Obuh at all costs, Governor Uduaghan himself is said to have also commenced a systematic weeding out of the identified and perceived opponents to his twin political interests and the dropping of Kingsley Emu and Neworld Safugha from his cabinet.
Again, the appointment of certain new faces, especially from the Delta South axis, who it has been suggested, may be opposed to the political structure of Senator James Manager, as Commissioners to key portfolios, has been interpreted by some Delta analysts as an indication of the pursuit of that agenda.
There is no doubt that more intrigues will unfold as the PDP party primaries approaches and many Deltans watchers both at home and the diaspora are bracing themselves for more shockers on the political landscape as judgment day approaches for all the aspirants and the final emergence of the certified party flag bearers and authentic candidates, especially in the governorship and Senatorial tickets, for the 2015 general elections.