Sun. Sep 20th, 2020

Delta 2023: Ijaw leaders must unite to produce the governor – The Liberator

By Binebai Princewill

When the Holy Book said that ” the kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent taketh it by force”. It was suggesting that nothing good come easy and that also, there are good things that cannot ordinarily come to us except we rise to the occasion by fighting for it.

This biblical statement is true in its entirety, when juxtaposed with the situation prevalent in our society of today- a situation whereby certain group or individuals lay claim to power and refuse to relinquished it until they are confronted with greater and sometimes violent force.

Currently, serious argument is ongoing as to which section of the state should produce the next governor to succeed Dr. ifeanyi Okowa come 2023. A particular ethnic group have already allocated the position to themselves on the pretext that they are next in line going by the zoning arrangement which allows the governorship position to rotate among the three senatorial districts of Delta Central, South and North.

For record purpose and in all fairness to truth, there is no, and has never been any arrangement or agreement anywhere as to the rotation of Governorship position along senatorial zones. The whole furore about zoning is purely an illusion that exists only in the minds of some selfish individuals who wants to consolidate their grip on power thereby denying others the rights to lead.

These group of anti democratic elements are almost succeeding in making the gullible public believe that the governorship position has actually been on rotational basis because between 1999 to 2007, the Delta central produced the governor in person of Chief James Onanefe Ibori, succeeded by Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan from Delta South who governed from 2007-2015, and currently is Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta north who came to power in 2015 to hand over in 2023.These shenanigans are believing and pushing so hard for Okowa to hand over to someone from the Delta central so that it could still flow in the progression Central- South-North same direction it came before.

Let’s even assume that there is zoning arrangement as they claim, now that all the senatorial districts have had their turn, will it be wrong if the south start the second round with the Ijaw enjoying the privilege? why are they insisting it must be them?

It is a known fact that the Urhobo ethnic group have produced the governor twice with Felix Ibru and James Ibori, the Itsekiri have produced Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Anioma Ibo speaking nation has produced Okowa. Does it not therefore beat our imagination that an ethnic group such as the Ijaw has never had a shot at the governorship position?

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For the purpose of records, Ijaws are the forth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, back home in Delta State, they are second largest after the Urhobos, they are found predominantly in the local governments of Burutu, Bomadi, Patani, and constitutes sizable voting population in Warri North, Warri South and Warri South West local governments.

The Ijaw land remains the treasure base of Nigeria, contributing so much to the nations economy, naturally endowed with beautiful mangrove ecosystem and vast water bodies with huge economic viability. The Delta Ijaws can boost of many political heavyweights that have helped shaped the country both at national and state levels, if one should mention them, the list would be endless.

It is therefore not out of place to state that for the sake of equity, fairness and justice, the time has come for an Ijaw son to become the governor of Delta state, and that time is 2023. Every well meaning Ijaw son and daughter should rise up in defence of this course, the Ijaw nation cannot be left behind, it cannot continue to play the second fiddle.

This is a clarion call to all political and religious leaders, leaders of thought, various youths and students bodies and the media to close ranks and fight the course with one voice and unity of purpose. No one should expect that other tribe will champion the Ijaw course for them, the truth remains that people from other tribes who believes that 2023 is for the Ijaws are waiting for them to set the ball rolling by initiating the necessary moves so that they can support the move.

The Ijaw elites have a pivotal role to play if this dream must come true. Everyone should be carried along as the battle cannot be fought and won in isolation, the Ijaws need to put its house in order first as a house divided against itself cannot stand, selfish and parochial interest should be totally jettisoned for the sake of the future of Ijaw nation. Leaders must begin to reach out to various stakeholders now with a view to winning sympathy and goodwill.

Ijaws have always supported other tribes when it was their turn, therefore, they will get the needed support from others, but they must make the move first, no group or individual gets power on the platter of gold, there must be aggressive agitation for it, it will require series of stakeholders meetings, a lot of symposia and political re-awakening through grassroots sensitization and mobilization. It requires effective collaboration with other ethnic groups.

Its is also important to state that while this project is finally set in motion, there are people who would naturally constitute themselves into an enemy to truncate whatever plan to enthrone the Ijaw agenda, always ready to sabotage all effort at achieving this Ijaw dream for sake of personal aggrandizement, but they should bear in mind that whatever disservice one do to his fatherland, providence has a way of making them pay for it.

Delta 2023 is the Ijaw dream, this is your chance, the governorship position is non negotiable.

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