Bothered by the number of politicians that were absent at Kiagbodo, hometown of Niger Delta foremost leader, Chief Edwin K. Clark on Monday the 18th of March 2019 in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State.
The Liberator Newspaper decided to carry out an investigative report to uncover the main reason behind the gale of political absenteeism in a victory party supposedly to be graced by all members elect among Delta State Ijaws.
The Delta Ijaw Political Assembly, DIPA just like the name implies, was formed primarily to champion the political rights and aspirations of the Ijaws living in Delta with a view of working hard to ensure the victory of Governor Okowa and his deputy, Deacon (Barr) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro who is an Ijaw son.
It would be recalled that DIPA is headed by elder J. T Government, an household name in the Delta State politics who hails from Torugbene in Burutu Local Government Area.
He is a strong member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State.
The desire to carry out this investigative report is even triggered by the fact that no member elect from Burutu Local Government Area that was seen to have attended the function where the DIPA chairman Elder J. T Government hails from, thereby defiling the statement that has become axiomatic that “Charity begins at home”.
Our investigation reveals that before the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP primaries in Delta, a member vying to represent Burutu Federal Constituency, House of representatives had approached J. T as one of the leaders in Burutu Local Government Area to seek his support for his election bid but the DIPA chairman stated that with his position as the leader of the Delta Ijaw Political Assembly, he cannot be seen pitching tent with one aspirant against the other when there are other Ijaws too that are contesting from same party.
He had maintained that he would want to be neutral throughout the process. According to our source who pleaded not to be mentioned in print had stated that the then aspirant for Burutu House of representatives left in good faith believing that it was truly a nice decision from the elder since he would want to be neutral by not supporting any of the aspirants.
But the relationship began to have a crack as the DIPA chairman was alleged to have directed delegates under his control to vote against a particular aspirant he had earlier pledged neutrality to.
Again, similar action by the DIPA boss was experienced during the PDP primaries but this time was another aspirant for Burutu South, Delta State House of Assembly who had also earlier approached the Delta Ijaw Political Assembly chairman for his support who wasted no time in preaching the gospel of maintaining neutrality.
However, subsequently, during the Burutu South, Delta State House of Assembly PDP primary, the elder was again alleged to have personally handle cash, directing and coordinating delegates to vote for another aspirant who is also from Ojobo but maternally from Torugbene too in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, breaking his pledge again to remain neutral.
According to our source, people grumbled over his actions from the House of Representatives primary to the Burutu South primaries, they had wondered on why he could not stand by his words considering his position as DIPA chairman and as a respected elder in the Burutu Local Government PDP family.
Our source had stated that the activities of Elder J. T did not end at the primaries, it rather dovetailed to the just concluded 2019 general elections, particularly the Burutu South, Delta State House of Assembly election where his actions where seen to be worse compared to what happened during the primaries.
It was stated that the DIPA boss was openly seen on the field working against candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for Burutu South, he was reported to have worked closely with the APC on the house of assembly, Burutu South election.
He was seen, directing his family members, children and his loyalists to vote against PDP for house of Assembly, Burutu South.
Nevertheless, it was learnt that PDP worked so hard with other political foot soldiers to outrun the APC and at the end of it all, PDP managed to win in Torugbene main town.
Meanwhile, the DIPA gathering at Kiagbodo on Monday 18th of March 2019 was all about the celebration of the victory of all Ijaw sons who emerged victorious during the 2019 general elections which include His Excellency, Deacon (Barr) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, deputy governor of Delta State; Sen. James E. Manager, Senator elect, Delta South; Hon. Nicholas Ebomo Mutu, member elect, Bomadi/Patani Federal Constituency; Rt. Hon. Julius Pondi, member elect, Burutu Federal Constituency; Hon. Asupa Peter Forteta, member elect, Burutu North Constituency I, Delta State House of Assembly; Mr. Pullah Ekpotuayerin, member elect, Burutu South Constituency II, Delta State House of Assembly; Mr. Emomotimi Dennis Guwor, member elect, Warri South West Constituency, Delta State House of Assembly; Hon. Oboro K. Preyor, member elect, Bomadi Constituency, Delta State House of Assembly and Mr. Emmanuel Sinebe, member elect, Patani Constituency, Delta State House of Assembly.
While, Pondi and Ekpotuayerin did not attend the gathering and their reasons are not far fetched, we are yet to get reasons why Sen. James E. Manager could not attend in person but opted to send a representative.
Others who did not also attend without sending any form of representatives include Hon. Nicholas Mutu and Hon. Asupa Forteta
In essence, out of the nine expectant members elect that would have graced the occasion, five members did not appear during the gathering.
But in a swift reaction, when contacted, the national chairman of DIPA, Elder J. T Government had denied all allegations leveled against him, stressing that he was neutral throughout the elections.
He had maintained not having any rift with any of the members elect, in proving his point, he said the PDP won 18 units out of the 21 units while the APC won 3 units during the governorship and house of assembly elections in Torugbene ward I, his major base.
In his words: ” As an elder, I am use to such things, but the truth is that I know nothing about the allegations levelled against me, during the governorship and house of assembly elections, in unit 6, ward I where i registered in Torugbene, the PDP trashed APC on the governorship with 174 votes against the APC that scored 16 while the PDP also won in the house of assembly with 124 votes against the APC that pulled 60 votes.”
He said he can’t be arguing such via the media but had rather appealed to all aggrieved members to embrace the ideals of DIPA, stressing that the body is not about him but rather for the political survival of the Ijaws in Delta State.
T. J Government had also stated that his doors are open for dialogue with whoever he must have offended knowingly or unknowingly.