***Says SDP Gubernatorial Candidate, Kenneth Gbagi Caused The Woeful Outing Of The Party In Just Concluded 2023 Governorship Election in Delta

Amb. Oke Idawene is the National Publicity Secretary, North South Progressives Movement of Nigeria (NOSOP) he is also the immediate past chairman of the Social Democratic Party SDP in Delta State. In this interview with selected journalists in Asaba, the State Capital, he chronicles the issues and activities that led to his resignation from SDP. Happy Reading :

Sir, can you give us the understanding of what happened in Delta State SDP before you resigned from the party?

Let me start by first of all welcoming you to this press briefing. My name is Ambassador Oke Idawene, a founding member of SDP , a man who has led SDP at the state and national level until recently that I left in a controversial way. I have built SDP in Delta state until this moment before I leave.

Can you tell us why you left SDP to strangers?

You don’t throw away the baby with the bath water, I left SDP because prior to the primary election, a lot of overtures came from resourceful Deltans to run for the governorship, some preferred to come in during substitution. One day, two strangers called me from abroad, that they are coming to have meeting with me and when they arrived Nigeria and at a time we met at a hotel in Ugheli but they refused to tell me who sent them, but later I found out that it was Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, that sent them. Before then SDP in the state as a party has agreed that they will not allow Kenneth Gbagi to run on the SDP platform. But before we knew what was happening, Gbagi has gone to our national headquarters in Abuja, and collected a nomination form for himself and paid half of the money ,he also collected nomination forms for other elective posts on credit without notifying SWC in Delta and the national body gave those forms to him. When he came back, he (Gbagi) started calling me to see him at his house and I refused until our national Chairman called twice to advised me to go and see him, then I decided to go and during our meeting he pleaded with me that he is willing to work with the SWC, with plea from the headquarters, we agreed. The moment the governorship primary was conducted and he emerged, he started giving out forms to aspirants telling them that I am nobody that he is now in charge of SDP in the state. From that moment all the aspirants that were indicating interest to run in our party change allegiance to Gbagi without recourse to SWC. That was how Gbagi hijacked SDP in Delta State and tear tore it apart.

Can you tell us why after tolerating him (Gbagi) before and during the election, you decided to quit?

At that point we tolerated him and till date he has not made payment for those nomination forms he collected from the party headquarters. Before we knew what was happening he started issuing SDP membership cards to intending members without SWC. At the time of submission of candidate names to the party headquarters for them to upload to INEC portal, out of ten national assembly nominations, I was asked to nominate three while the remaining seven was given to Gbagi but unfortunately because he didn’t come to SDP with any person he couldn’t get a single national assembly candidate to submit except the three candidates that I submitted and the NWC was angry about the development. Because of that during the submission of state assembly candidates, I was allowed to take charge and out of the 29 assembly seats I got 28 candidates and the one that didn’t scale through was that of Sapele constituency which Gbagi supposed to have produced since he came from there but unfortunately, he was unable to get a candidate. He demarketed SDP and it was a woeful outing for SDP in Delta state in the last election because of Gbagi. After then he boasted he was going to use the court to get the candidates in…he also failed..

We tolerated him because he is not a team player, and he doesn’t listen to anybody. He didn’t fund campaigns, no logistics for people in the campaign team. We had several issues during campaigns tours, some people will hold my party officials to pay for logistics yet Gbagi can not drop money in so many communities we had issues, in Ukwuani, Burutu, Bomadi…etc .Hon Fineboy has to pay with his money in Isoko .. because of his failed promises. I spent almost N5 million of my personal money in Gbagi’s campaign. He couldn’t fund the party and yet he said he want to be a governor. At a stage he said he cannot fund the party because it is not on ground that he will be working with the churches. What a difficult and complicated human being, I have never seen one except Gbagi. During the course of the campaign, I had an accident and my car was damaged on my way to join him in Campaign at Bomadi Rally and after that I decided to do a thanks giving to thank God for saving my life only for Gbagi to say I was lying that I never had an accident. He divided the SDP in the state and at a time he was working with a section of the SWC. All what was happening, I was relating back to my national headquarters in Abuja. The presidential candidate Adebayo Adewale got a campaign secretariat through me in Asaba, where we paid for two years and we were using the office for SDP activities but at a time, Gbagi evited everyone there including the security guard with his wife saying nobody should have meeting there and after several complains to the national body, we decided to leave it at that.

When INEC asked party to submit names of agents Gbagi said church members will be the agents and few days to the expiration of the deadline the names are not forthcoming I decided to inform candidates in our platform to mobilize party members to get names for agents Gbagi picked an offence that I don’t have right whatsoever to call for agents that I am not a candidate in the election. Do you know that in Oginigbo his community, SDP didn’t have complete agents there. In the whole Delta state SDP didn’t have up to 30 percent of agents. And those agents were provided by my structure, Gbagi said he want to be a governor. During the guber election, there was no information from him at all regarding the whole activities for the elections. Even at the presidential election, money was given to him by Prince Adewole Adebayo to give to us for his Election ,he said that openly at our stare platform..Olorogun Gbagi refused to disbursed…Vehicles were sent to SDP Delta State by Same Presidential Candidate,he Gbagi seized them to himself.. Then at the governorship election, the Presidential Candidate came down to Delta to appeal to me and SWC not to abandon Gbagi ..That he will send support and election we can mend fences ..we Waited nothing happened.. I make bold to say that Gbagi never plan for election. I remembered he told me at a time that his target is to win at the court not election. I have nothing personal with Gbagi my issue with him is purely official. All the people working with Gbagi are suffering in silence, their lives have nosedive. With the plea of Prince Adewole who was in Delta few days to the governorship election, we endured and we didn’t abandoned Gbagi yet all the promises of funding election activities were all failed promises and we decided to let it be still tolerating him believing he will repent. After the election we thought he would have reached out to everyone with the hope of forging ahead, again he bye pass us again went to Abuja and got the buy in of the national legal adviser of the party who flew in to Delta without the SWC in the know file a petition before the election tribunal and after committing such disloyalty to Delta SDP, we only heard about it from the news. Then we said no and we met as a party decided that we are not going to be involved with that case and we want our name SDP Delta state be withdrawn from that case, that we are not party to it and that SDP candidate Kenneth Gbagi did not prepared for election hence he cannot win since he wasn’t prepared. We decided to apply for the withdraw of our name in the petition, I did an affidavit that SDP is not involved in that case and I inform some of the NWC. On hearing that SDP has withdrew its name in the petition Gbagi again unfortunately connived with, Dr Olu Aguloye, the national secretary to singlehandedly write a dissolution of the Delta state SWC without consulting anybody including the national Chairman. Then all the SWC decided to place Delta first by paying a congratulatory visit to the governor elect, Rt. Hon Sherriff Oborevwori, before the next morning, there was another letter from Aguloye suspending me from the party, at that time I decided to quit the party honourably because you cannot tell the court that at the time I wrote the letter withdrawing from the petition that I was not a chairman, I was still the Delta state SDP chairman when the party withdrew from Gbagi’s petition. We wrote that withdrawal letter out of the atrocity, disloyalty, disrespect, manourvering and the evil nature of Kenneth Gbagi against SDP in Delta state. And for the national legal adviser to come over to Delta to oppressed us I must tell you there is no iota of caward in our DNA, that is why we wrote to withdraw from the Gbagi’s petition. Yes I have resigned from the party but the leaders and the agents in the last election are still in the party and they are ready to go to the court to testify that Gbagi never prepared for election.
The Letter to The Tribunal From National against what I wrote is not out of place..The Agents are Alive ,they have vowed to go and testify..
SDP in Delta under my leadership has no regrets in disowning Kenneth Gbagi at the tribunal. Sherriff Oborevwori won the election free, fair and credible because he was the only one ready for the election. Gbagi was never ready from day one till date and SDP agents will testify that Gbagi was never prepared for the election, then he know who is saying the truth. Thank God Deltans rejected Kenneth Gbagi, a man who got less than 5000 votes in the entire state is making noise that he won the election, it is a big shame to Gbagi, he should burry his head in shame.

The allegations that you were being sponsored by PDP, what can you say to that?

I have told the world all that has transpired. How many people can tolerate that, people were calling me asking me how I am managing Kenneth Gbagi. I am talk on the surface if I go deeper into what transpired you won’t believe it. You can ask Hon. Sadjere the Okpe/Uwie federal constituency candidate, find out from Hon. Fineboy, Isoko federal constituency, these people don’t pick Gbagi’s calls that how bad he is. If he has told us he was going to the tribunal we couldn’t have raised any objection. But he can’t use our heads because we all have one head. His election petition is dead on arrival.

Finally Sir, what is the way forward, which party are you now?

Presently I am the national Publicity Secretary North South Progressive Movement of Nigeria NOSOP. A golden fish has no hidden place. Right now we are nursing this body for the unity of Nigeria. We are cruising on. Politically or party wise, I will unveil my plan in the next few days or weeks to come but for now I am die-hard supporter of Rt. Hon. Sherriff Oborevwori who will take Delta state to greater heights than where we are now. I appreciate Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, for the vision of bringing Oborevwori as governor. God bless you sir. Oborevwori will lead Delta state to greater heights because he is a grassroot mobilizer, a man of the people with street credibility and he has something upstairs to give to Deltans, his maturity and humility will take us higher, we will support him and ensure that Delta state get better, God bless Delta state.

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