The race to occupy the Brick House in Port Harcourt, reputed to be the seat of political power in Rivers State come 2023 is already gathering momentum Election is 2-years away. Various political pressure groups are now mobilizing and selling their preferred aspirants to the electorate, with the hope of supporting them when INEC gives green light for campaign to start. The riverine communities of Kalabari ethnic group in the state have been agitating for inclusion in the governance of the state through the production of the next governor of Kalabari extraction, come 2023.
Here City People’s Port Harcourt Bureau Chief, EMEKA AMAEFULA (+2348111813069), unveils some of the Kalabari indigenes who are likely to be governorship aspirants in the state come 2023. In the past, many Kalabari politicians had contested governorship elections, but Political watchers say they have not gathered to be of enough votes to catapult them into the Brick House. Read on.
The son of late High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs estate, Chief Barrister Dumo Lulu-Briggs, is not new to the governorship race in Rivers State. In 2003, he was close to unseating the then incumbent Governor, Dr. Peter Odili. Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is the Chairman of Platform Petroleum Development Company as well as other subsidiaries in the oil and gas business in Nigeria. During the 2003 governorship election, he defected from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to political party, National Democratic Party-NDP- and 2-days to the election proper, he withdrew his candidacy on the excuse of insecurity asking his supporters to vote for Dr. Peter Odili the then candidate for PDP. Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs went for relaxation in United Kingdom until next election year in 2007 . He returned for another jab at the exalted political office in Rivers State in 2007. An action many described in as political prostitution marked with inconsistence. In 2011, he returned to the PDP and contested the governorship primary election. Again in 2015, he frontally came out and challenged Chief Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike among other 18 governorship aspirants, but failed Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, won. Dumo Lulu-Briggs immediately joined All Progressives’ Congress-APC-but internal wrangling denied him the ticket and he quickly fled into Accord Party on the platform he contested the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State. He, however, lost the election. Today, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs may be described as a politician who has no party. He always jumps from one party to the other.
PRINCE TONYE PRINCEWILL
This is the only son of King Professor JTJ Princewill, the Amanayabo of Kalabari Kingdom, Prince Tonye Princewill may not be new to Rivers State political terrain, but his brand of politics is novel and unpredictable since 2007 when he emerged on the platform of Labour Party -LP, Prince Tonye Princewill, a University of Port Harcourt graduate of Petroleum Engineering and currently a Law degree candidate in one of the United Kingdom Universities is a political maverick. In 2011, he came up with Action Congress-AC- as he challenged the incumbent Governor then, the Rt. Honourable Chibuike Amaechi, who was later returned to office. In 2015, he joined All Progressives’ Congress-APC, and supported the party’s Governorship candidate, Dr. Adol Dakuku Peterside.
In the 2019 governorship election, when APC was not on the ballot papers, he supported Pastor Tonye Cole as Governorship candidate of APC. Today, Prince Tonye Princewill is searching for an political space to launch his governorship ambition as the leader of the APC in Rivers State and Minister of Transportation Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has vehemently told his supporters that come 2023, Rivers State APC governorship candidate must emerge from the Riverine communities as a way to end dominance of the Ikwerre ethnic nationality in the Governorship race of Rivers State.
DAWARI IBIETELA GEORGE-DIG
Tall, athletic-built, ebony in complexion and intelligent Dawari Ibietela George is a cool-headed former House of Representatives Member, who represented Akuku Toru and Asari Toru Federal Constituency from 2011 to 2015. He was Commissioner for Energy and Natural resources during Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s tenure, but he has Rivers State youths support under the aegis-of Twitter handle-@DIGDEEPER2019, but an effort that never materialized as Dr. Dawari George having been a strong follower of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi supported Pastor Tonye Cole’s emergence. The over 50 years old technocrat has his eyes fixed on becoming Rivers State Governor in the future, should be in 2023?
ODEIN HENRY AJUMUGOBIA-S.A.N
He looks every inch a gentle man with an elite Education at Harvard Law School of Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts in United States of America (USA) in 1988 for his Masters’ degree in Law, (LL.M), while he passed Nigerian Advanced Legal Education popularly called Nigerian Law School in 1979. He first attended University of Lagos from 1975 to 1978 married to Awuneba Ajumogobia. He was born on 29th of June, 1956, to Kalabari parents. His father became Nigeria’s diplomat and later one of the officials of West African Examinations Council-WAEC who regulated Secondary School education external examinations at Ordinary Level and Advanced Level. After graduation from Nigeria’s Law School, he became one of the founding partners of H. Odein Ajumogobia & Okeke.
He served as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General during Governor Peter Odili’s administration and later Minister of State for Petroleum. In 2015, he contested Rivers State PDP Governorship Primary election, but was outsmarted as he was airborne en route to Port Harcourt, while the election was ongoing and the result announced before his arrival at the venue of the Primary election in which Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was victorious. Today, he is a non-Executive Chairman of First Petroleum Nigeria Ltd that has Aliko Dangote as partner. Odein Henry Ajumogobia is a litigation expert with specialisation in Aviation and Oil and Gas. One of his siblings, Nimi Akinkugbe, is married an Ondo State indigene who was appointed Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
CHIDI JULIUS LLOYD PhD
Rivers State politics will not be complete without the mention of the debacle of Rivers State House of Assembly in 2014, when the mace turned to instrument of battle in the hands of Dr. Chidi Julius Lloyd, majority Leader, against Honourable Michael Chinda, a fellow House of Assembly Member, representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 2. Chidi Julius Lloyd in 2023 is PDP’s Joker card for Upland Riverine political dichotomy in zoning principle as he holds dual ethnic nationality first as a Buguma Asari Toru born Kalabari son and domiciled in Ikwerreland specifically in Emohua Local Government Area, where he is currently contesting the post of Chairmanship on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party-PDP, where he recently defected to after serving as Director General in 2019 governorship election to Pastor Tonye Cole, the then Governorship candidate for APC.
He holds Doctorate degree in Law from University of Calabar with focus in becoming a Professor of Law in the next 5-years having been recruited as a senior lecturer in Faculty of Law University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus. On the 17th of April, 2021 Honourable Doctor Chidi Julius Lloyd will be elected as Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council as a precursor to his 2023 Governorship election under the platform of PDP.
Smooth, youthful gregarious son of an Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni-born astute late business mogul whose wife hailed from Kalabari kingdom. Honourable Elemchukwu Ogbowu, was first elected into Rivers State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2003 as a founding member of PDP. He was appointed Commissioner for Transportation under Governor Dr. Peter Odili in the second term. His dual ethnic nationality status stands him out as both upland and riverine indigene. In Kalabari kingdom, matrilineal relationship is paramount and is inherent in the culture and tradition of the coastal people. This Rivers State University of Science and Technology Nkpolu-Orowurokwo-trained Chartered Accountant later a graduate of Law is a serious-minded businessman with his tentacles spread in the entertainment industry with BEDONE Night club established in Omoku his father’s town. Although, he remains a good friend of Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Elemchukwu Ogbowu has refused to join All Progressives Congress as a matter of principle as a founding member of PDP not even when he fell out with Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
IBINABO MICHAEL WEST
Born 23rd January, 1963 he contested Rivers State House of Assembly, and won, representing Asari Toru constituency and later appointed Commissioner for Transport by Nyesom Ezenwo Wike after he failed to clinch the PDP’s governorship primary election in 2014. In 2020, he defected to APC alleging negligence by PDP that sidelined him for too long, while recognising people who are far below him in the leadership cardre of PDP in his LGA. He is married to Henrietta, late Senator Martins Yellowe’s daughter. Honourable Chief Ibinabo Michael West is a serious business man with Shore Protection contract execution in the Niger Delta effecting positive changes for his people through Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.
DR. GODSTIME BEN-HORSFALL
He was a member of the 7th Rivers State House of Assembly Representing Asari Toru Constituency II on the platform of PDP, but later defected to APC. Dr. Godstime Ben-Horsfall is an ardent follower of the Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
DR. IPALIBO HARRY-BANIGO
This first female Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, is not a pushover when it comes to her administrative capabilities having worked as Head of Service in Rivers State Government during
This grassroot politician, Tammy Danagogo, Ph.D. has been Chairman of Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State and appointed Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs during a former Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s administration. He was later appointed Minister for Sports by President Goodluck Jonathan. He holds Doctorate Degree in Law from University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus. Tammy Danagogo is the current Secretary-To-Rivers State Government SSG. Being among the founding members of Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State, Danagogo has never defected to any political party, while serving as Minister For Sports in 2014, he joined fellow Minister Kenneth Kobani to contribute money for the purchase of expression of intent and Nomination Form for Governorship Primary for Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in 2014. He remains among the Kitchen Cabinet members of the Executive Council since the former SSG Kenneth Kobani has retired to manage his Mechanised Farm at his community in Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State. For 2023 Riverine Governorship slot Tammy Danagogo is a favourite aspirant to the coveted office of Executive Governor.
For those who have not come across Isobo Jack, the cerebral & astute entrepreneur, he has been a development progressive good citizen of Rivers State, having been Chief Executive Officer of defunct Bootleggers Nite Club, along Olu Obasanjo Road in Port Harcourt. He later constructed and, still managing an upward exquisite hospitality outfit known as Grosvenor Suites along Evo Road GRA Phase 2, Port Harcourt. As a building contractor, he engaged in turnkey projects, making old projects having added values, which include rehabilitation, and reconstruction jobs in Rivers State and beyond. His political career as a founding member of PDP became brighter when he established a grassroot Iso-Jac Organizations, a political pressure group, found in all the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State. He was appointed Chairman of Rivers state Sanitation Environmental Management Agency now Rivers state Waste Management Agency-RIWAMA, while performing the duty of Special Adviser to the Governor on Waste management. Isobo Jack was later appointed Commissioner for Environment in the last few weeks of former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s second term administration in 2014 culminating to May 29th, 2015. He joined efforts to rescue All Progressives Congress-APC Rivers State with Senator Magnus Ngei Abe’s camp against the APC leader in Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s alleged non-democratic tendencies in choice of governorship candidate for APC in 2019 Governorship election in Rivers State. Is Isobo Jack back to PDP, Rivers State Chapter? He is a vibrant governorship material, having been married to Imo State-born pretty looking beautiful lady Ifeoma. Isobo Jack is blessed with healthy looking children.
The beautiful political bride of 2019 governorship election in Rivers State, this Awara Biokpomabo, African Action Congress-AAC governorship candidate was supported by the leadership of the then embattled, APC Rivers State Chapter. This youthful political debutant was unknown in the Rivers State politics until Supreme court of Nigeria quashed the Rivers State governorship candidate of Pastor Tonye Cole of APC and in a jive, Awara Biokpomabo emerged from the blues to dominate the political space nearly cruising his way to unseat the then incumbent Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. That move would have scuttled the second term ambition of Governor Wike.
The Sahara Energy Oil and Gas business mogul, Pastor Tonye Dele Cole, has never been a grassroots politician, but his selection and emergence in 2019 Rivers State APC governorship candidate upstaged the peace and tranquility of Rivers State Chapter of APC. It was nailed by Supreme Court’s judgment hence the party was not on the INEC Voters’ Sheet in all the electoral positions from Councilors, Local Government Chairmen, Rivers State House of Assembly, Federal House of representatives and Senatorial seats all were lost owing to the disagreement between Senator Magnus Abe and the leader of the party in Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s choice of Pastor Tonye Dele Cole.
OJUKAYE FLAG AMACHREE
He emerged one of the best performing Local Government Council Chairmen during the administration of Rt. Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Ojukaiye Flag Amachree was elected Chairman of Asari Toru Local Government Area, one of the volatile prone local coastal communities in Rivers State. His administration, however, succeeded in stabilising it for a peaceful existence for development during his two terms tenure. He quickly took over the mantle of leadership of APC, challenging leadership of Comrade Peter Odike of Senator Magnus Abe’s then faction later the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled against his emergence at the party congress conducted. Currently Ojukaiye Flag Amachree’s residence is witnessing a beehive of political pressure groups activities, giving rise to the speculation that he is urging all other Kalabari sons and daughters nursing the ambition of 2023 Rivers State Governorship election to rally around him and support his aspiration to build a better Rivers State come 2023.
IPALIBO MACDONALD HARRY
This former Personal Assistant P.A to the late Dr. Marshal Harry has been on political scene in Rivers State since 1999. He earned a Diploma in Estate Management from then Rivers State University of science and Technology in 1985 later he attended Calabar Polytechnic now Cross Rivers state University of Technology Calabar, where he obtained Higher National Diploma in Estate Management in 1987, after passing all the professional examinations, which made him to be registered as a member of Estate Surveyors and Valuers at the age of 28 years in 1993. In 1999, he went back to Rivers State University of Science and Technology Port Harcourt where he did Post Graduate Diploma in Petroleum and Environmental Law leading to a Master’s Degree MSc in Environmental Science in 2004 and he capped it with Doctorate Degree in Environmental Management in 2007. He was first appointed as Chairman of Rivers state Environmental Sanitation Authority and Special Adviser to the Governor on Waste Management. Dr. Ipalibo Macdonald Harry was appointed Commissioner in Rivers State. He was elected a running mate in the 2003 governorship election in Rivers State on the platform of ANPP. Today, he is a Commissioner in the National Population Commission Abuja and a member of APC
A former Member Federal House of Representatives and later Director of Marine Operations at Nigerian Ports Authority, Dr. Sekonte Davies was the Director of Finance Muhammadu Buhari Presidential Campaign Organization in 2015. He is fluent in Madarin Chinese language and Russia languages, having married a foreign lady. Dr. Sekonte Davies looks forward to being elected Governor of Rivers State come 2023 as he is closest to the leader of APC in Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.