No doubt, on the issue of power shift among the three senatorial Districts of Delta state, the Aniomas will submit to superior arguments if any of the districts can come up with one to justify why the area cannot be allowed to produce the next governor of the state.
It’s important we keep reminding ourselves that as created in 1991 by Gen Ibrahim Babangida, Delta state has the Urhobos occupy the Central Senatorial zone with eight Local Government Councils; the Aniomas (Ikas, Ndokwas and Aniochas) occupy the North Senatorial zone with nine Local Government Councils; while the South senatorial zone with eight Local Government Councils is jointly occupied by the Ijaws, the Isokos, the ltsekiris, the Urhobos of Agbassa and the Urhobos of Okere.
Make we reasonam na! In the governorship election of the short-lived Third Republic, Chief Felix Ibru of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) from Delta Central emerged the first civilian governor.
From the 1999 governorship election, James Ibori from Delta Central emerged the governor a position he held for eight years (1999-2007).
Now the present governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan is from Delta South Senatorial District and has been ruling since 2007.
So when Uduaghan’s tenure finishes in 2015 after eight years of full circle rulership, then another governor from Delta South or Central senatorial district will take over for another eight years. Haba! Where is equity, justice and fairness in such clamour?
Delta Central Senatorial District occupied Government House Asaba in all the democratic dispensations since the state was created until Delta South took over in 2007. And did common sense, equity, fairness, and justice not tell those embarking on the ongoing sterile south/central districts governorship adventure that there should not be any ambiguity about Delta North District producing the next governor?
Is it not clear enough that it would only amount to an act of gross geo-political imbalance and insensitivity for the Delta South or Central Districts to seek to or even produce the next governor after Ibru, Ibori and Uduaghan? Let our brothers from the other two districts reason this thing with us at least in the spirit of fairness and equity.
However, the Anioma people have to first put their house in order. Today, the biggest issue amongst them is taking their message to our brothers in the central and south districts. How would they hear and support your aspirations if they are preached to?
We’ve had enough of this shadow chasing and it’s time for the Anioma politicians and opinion leaders to begin to take themselves more seriously and go down to the actual intricacies of politicking. Look at it: Should the Anioma people actually be cry-begging for a chance to produce the next governor? There are 25 local government areas in Delta State; Anioma has nine, the Urhobos have eight; Iteskiris have three; the Ijaws have three; and the remaining two are for the Isokos. So how come that the majority has been made to look as the inconsequential? When some ethnic groups claim they are in majority in Delta state in terms of head counts, one is tempted to often times describe such positions as outright rubbish.
What the Anioma people should realized and as quickly as possible is that the power rotation arrangement in the state was a mere “understanding” by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that power would rotate from one senatorial district to the other. And there is a clear difference between an understanding and an agreement. No other political party has that kind of understanding of course for the simple reason that PDP has succeeded in grabbing the governorship seat since the present democratic dispensation came into being in 1999. This was exactly what the state PDP chairman Peter Nwaoboshi and the Secretary to the State Government Marculay tried to say recently but because both men chose to speak in Igbuzo and Isoko respectively, there was a misunderstanding that led to exchange of crossfires.
The literal interpretation would be that if the “understanding” is to be honoured, all the candidates that will emerge for screening and for primaries will be from the Delta North at least in the ruling party. But the caveat is that PDP is just one in a bunch of active political parties in the state that would want to field candidates even on spoiler missions.
Since it is not a binding agreement and there is no law stopping candidates from other districts of the state from contesting for the governorship position, the Anioma political leaders should appeal, lobby and at worse confront aspirants and political leaders of the other two senatorial districts that have enjoyed that “understanding” and let them see reason to respect it.
There is great need for a strategy to ensure major political parties field governorship candidates of Delta North stock? Strategy is not about having a perfect, comprehensive plan—an impossible goal. Rather, it involves working out on how to handle the likelihood of serious threats to their ambition. And sure, they would have aplenty of it in their quest to win the ticket for the 2015 governorship poll in the state.
Ethnic nationalities/political organizations of the Delta North stock should sincerely and strategically engage people of other sections of the state including prominent ethnic nationality organizations in Delta South and Central Senatorial Districts for mutual understanding and cooperation in the Anioma quest for the 2015 governorship. Afterall, for Delta we de talk say “na cooperation dey make rice swell”.
The task before the Anioma people –the leaders and the led now is to source and encourage level-headed and time-tested candidates with good and workable ideas. Someone who knows what it means to be the governor of Delta state and who when elected must ensure uniform development, peace and stability throughout Delta state based on fairness, equity and respect for the entire peoples of the state. Afterall our differences as a state exist only in politics. Delta na one people, abi no be so?
(IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org; 234-8033043009)