By Ekanpou Enewaridideke
Even at the risk of being reputationally disfigured, maligned and mobbed, I must say this: King Alfred Izonebi goofed irretrievably with his new-fangled political theory of ‘DELTA-IJAWISM’ which quintessentially embodies the spiky pronouncement that it is the exclusive turn of the Ijaws to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023. What about the Urhobos who had been on the waiting list for years?
The world dies that does not have theories. Theories are the bridges to societal growth because they embody what will transform and move the society forward. King Izonebi is celebrated for his numerous theories and would be celebrated forever if he could always formulate and stand by his theories which are beneficial to society. That he deviated from his usual functional theories to create the political theory of ‘Delta-Ijawism’ is his ‘macadamized’ cup of tea seasoned with leaves of christmas bush. He should not have created the currently viral theory of ‘Delta-Ijawism’ because the Urhobos may not take it from him. Does King Izonebi want to awaken the Ijaws and politically divide the Ijaws and the Urhobos who have always had a political culture of togetherness as seen in the days of chief Felix Ibru and Chief James Ibori as governors of Delta State?
By every standard of comparative political analysis, King Izonebi has indeed ideationally goofed, audaciously goofed, like the Oyangbene hunter who coughed uncontrollably when he was about to fire at an antelope engrossed in its meal of ‘Ekuwe’ leaves in the forest. Instinctually, the antelope ran away in full speed to the dismay of the hunter with the irrepressible cough.
Both at good and bad times, subject to the whimisical mindset of self-designated keen observers/critics of my literary, political, social, religious, philosophical, mystical, theological, traditional and spiritual engagements, I am the African bony tongue (Akou fish) irrationally addicted to underwater dirt-clearance and underwater environmental sanitation, the Otiti bird never weary of accurate time-telling and fore-and-aft premonitory dance of disaster-visitation in the forest. I am not in a hurry to cast off these designations in a dance of exfoliation like a cobra, rightly or wrongly, because it is the only survival comedy for my doubly blessed critics. It is therefore as both the African bony tongue and the Otiti bird that I dance into the playground today.
To cautiously cast a look backward before surfacing in the river is the instinctual survival code/theory of the butterfish (ayen) resident in both salt water and fresh water. King Alfred Izonebi – that music philosopher, the foremost Opuozi drum culture revivalist, the political philosopher, the music theorist known for his many theories, who hails from Ndoro and Torugbene towns in Bayelsa and Delta States – has thoughtlessly ignored the theory of the butterfish to the forgetfulness of the philosophical stance of the Oyangbene-born sage, Tusemene, that ‘a moonfish never keels over with its belly turned skyward’ except something disastrous has happened.
And indeed today the moonfish has its belly turned skyward because King Izonebi, the music genius known for his culture revivalist and political theories geared towards social re-direction and transformation, has attempted something politically sacrilegious with his new-fangled political theory of ‘DELTA-IJAWISM’ which carries the questionable pronouncement that it is the inalienable right of Delta Ijaws to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023 when he knows that the Urhobos have waited for over 14 years to occupy the Delta State gubernatorial seat.
The temptingly invasive bouquet or redolence wafted everywhere in Delta State is the irrepressible stand that the zoning arrangement alone entitles the Urhobos to produce the 2023 Delta State governor without any form of strategic engagement with any other ethnic group. Justice, equity and fairness in Delta politics could only occupy their glorious seat if the Urhobos are wordlessly granted the space to occupy the Delta governorship space in 2023.
Contrarily, in a dance of compositional virtuosity, King Izonebi’s arrogant political theory of ‘Delta-Ijawism’ carries spikes, viruses, likely to torpedo, destabilize, disorganize, de-oxygenate and politically asphyxiate the flawless political calculation of the Urhobos in 2023.
Nothing can be more annoying than the ambitious, audacious, creation of a political theory armed and weighted to accomplish, with a stinging panache and braggadocio, the political asphyxiation of the Urhobo ethnic group known for its historically beneficial political alliance with the Ijaws. What kind of audacity of hope initiated and theoretically pursued by King Alfred Izonebi with an amazingly flawless sustainability framework typified by his viral song ‘Delta-Ijaw’ from which the theory of ‘DELTA-IJAWISM’ emerged?
It appears it is this dangerous theoretical audacity which must have provoked some Urhobos into the fiery derogatory pronouncement that the Ijaws are politically avaricious, desperate and quixotic power-hunters who should be awakened to the fact of their political evanescence occasioned by the displacement of former President Goodluck Jonathan from power. Can King Izonebi see how his audacious ‘Delta-Ijawism’ theory has ignited incendiary and derogatory arrows thrown at the Ijaws? Dear King Izonebi, did you ever create time to ponder on the implications of your ‘Delta-Ijawism’ theory before it was formulated and beached unto the world as your latest dug-out canoe?
Over the years the fame of King Izonebi as a music philosopher and theorist rests solidly on the formulation of relevant theories that guide the moral, cultural, religious, social and political behaviour of all politicians, including the electorate, political office holders and political aspirants. His theories of ‘Onduketeism’ and ‘Kunoweitoruism’ are still seen as the best guide for political engagement in the society.
Habitually disgusted with the inordinate ambition and desperation of politicians who are addicted to preparatory dance for politics with irrational single-mindedness even when there are many years ahead of the time, King Izonebi teaches through the ‘Onduketeism’ theory that health and long life are the first preconditions for meaningful political engagement because any political strategizing and projection dies when health and long life are becalmed. The central point of this theory is the primacy of good health and long life which should be given precedence over political desperation and other engagements in life.
Based on past experiences of being suffocated from time to time by the vote-buying syndrome, intimidation and monetisation of political engagement which license only the wealthy people to aspire and occupy elective offices, thus opening the space for visionless gerontocrats to monopolise political office and governance, King Izonebi ingeniously created the political theory named ‘KUNOWEITORUISM’ whose derogatory focal point, directed at visionless gerontocratic political aspirants who hope to come to power through financial inducement of voters, must be rejected for vibrant and visionary youths who don’t have the needed financial muscle. For king Izonebi those visionless gerontocratic aspirants or politicians who are goat-eyed before the election but become lion-eyed after their electoral victory, the voters should be prepared to take their inducement money and still reject them at the polling booths by voting for visionary young political aspirants. ‘KUNOWEITORUISM’ is a political theory musically anchored by King Izonebi – with elemental fury – to dismantle visionless political gerontocracy in Nigeria.
‘ONDUKETEISM’ and ‘KUNOWEITORUISM’ are among the many musically anchored theories of King Izonebi which bring great fame to him. The two theories establish king Izonebi as the healthy mouthpiece for the politically disadvantaged youths fired by visionary political aspiration. He should have been content with his seminal two theories of ‘ONDUKETEISM’ and ‘KUNOWEITORUISM’ without the addition of his third political theory styled ‘DELTA-IJAWISM’ – a dismantlement political theory which every discerning Urhobo political aspirant should fault for the theory’s lack of fairness because the theory is capable of getting the Urhobos justifiably incensed over their impending political asphyxiation adumbrated in it.
Essentially codified in the ‘Delta-Ijawism’ theory is the fact that the Delta Ijaws have worked devotedly for the Urhobos in the past to produce Chief Felix Ibru and Chief James as governors of Delta State. Even from senatorial perspective, all the three senatorial districts in Delta State have produced a governor, and from the prism of ethnicity, all the ethnic groups in Delta State have produced governors except Ijaw and Isoko. If there is any zoning arrangement based on senatorial district, the order of rotation should be reversed.
Delta Central Senatorial District was the first to democratically claim the governorship on two different occasions, followed by Delta South Senatorial District and now Delta North Senatorial District. In 2023 the reversed order of rotation should begin with the Delta South Senatorial District where the Ijaws should be ideally entitled to production of the equivalent of Chief Felix Ibru and Chief James Ibori at different times like the Urhobos who have had two different governors at different political periods.
The equity of a zoning arrangement can only be meaningfully acceptable after the other senatorial districts have had the political space to produce two governors at two different tenures seen as the parallel of Chief Felix Ibru and Chief James Ibori. It is this privileged historical background knowledge that formed the base, the keel, the hull, of King Izonebi’s theory of ‘DELTA-IJAWISM’ which calls on the Ijaws to build a common front around one Ijaw person to be strategically positioned as the 2023 governorship aspirant because it is their turn to produce the next governor in Delta State.
The theoretical creation of King Izonebi is to galvanise Ijaw people into a collective action towards the actualization of their governorship dream in 2023. Glaringly, the ‘Delta-Ijawism’ is a political theory which carries all the echoes of supportability in any political space where political equity is not deliberately denied habitation space.
Unarguably, some positions on zoning arrangement sound pretentious and questionable. For believers and apostles of zoning arrangement they are not supposed to dance ‘weirei’ into the contestation political arena when it is the turn of either Delta South Senatorial District or Delta North Senatorial District. Historically speaking, in all the past governorship elections in Delta State when it was consensually regarded as the time for Delta South Senatorial District and Delta North Senatorial District respectively, governorship candidates from the Delta Central Senatorial District slugged it out with the governorship aspirants from Delta South and Delta North Senatorial Districts. Is this deliberate competitive political muscle-flexing for electoral victory, this unfailing participation in the governorship space for victory by sons and daughters of Delta Central District when it should be left solely to either Delta South Senatorial District or Delta North Senatorial District good? Is this what some political analysts, self-designated scholars and politicians ingeniously call zoning arrangement? Does the argument about the sustainability or non-sustainability of the zoning arrangement command elements of scholarship and believability here with all these historical cracks, lacerations, diversions, equivocations, prevarications, protuberances, undulations, ambiguities and deliberate dance of desecration and violations in the not-too-distant past historically traceable to the Delta Central Senatorial District?
Let it be noted by all, particularly those who pretend to be both iguana-eared and Milton-eyed that, If the Delta State 2023 governorship is based on the touted zoning arrangement, full tide flows favourably towards the Delta South Senatorial District where King Izonebi has already galvanized the Ijaws for the governorship race.
It would be chimerical for Delta Central District to democratically get the 2023 governorship based on the dramatically touted zoning arrangement except by meaningful and mutually beneficial strategic engagement of Delta South Senatorial District because the echoes of equity dancing gracefully in the zoning arrangement favour the Delta South Senatorial District where the likes of His Excellency Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Honourable Chief Dr. Braduce Angozi, Honourable Godday Orubebe and others have been theoretically galvanized by King Izonebi in his ‘Delta-Ijaw’ song to come together and choose a governorship candidate collectively for presentation to the public.
Meaningful strategic engagement is the path for Delta Central Senatorial District, not casuistically coloured denigration and cremation of the zoning arrangement, neither is it the scholarly coloured derogatory pronouncement offered gratuitously as the targeted counter-force envisioned in disguise to emasculate the unstoppable dance of equity embodied in the zoning arrangement in the politics of Delta State.
Theoretically, King Izonebi’s song, ‘Delta-Ijaw’, is a tempting bait for His Excellency Otuaro to nibble at the earthworm buried inside the hook even where the thoughts have not voyaged towards it because, by way of visible geographical proximity, he does not need to travel long nautical miles before falling for the gubernatorial bait buried inside the baited hook.
However, in Timiebi’s famous folktale of the Hunter and the Bony man in the forest, when the demand is for a bony man as a ritual to negotiate a life-consuming bend, the bony man instinctually submits himself or runs away for his dear life. With the theory-based instigation methodically led by the Ijaw high life music genius called King Izonebi, it is up to Otuaro to dance into the arena or run away to live another day as the bony man may be tempted to do – which I, for one, believe Honourable Chief Dr. Braduce Angozi, Honorable Godday Orubebe and Senator J.E. Manager would be instinctually nudged and awakened to race unstoppably like the bony man of Timiebi’s creation. To run away here like the bony man is to run away into the nectar-garnished theoretical mansion of King Izonebi imagistically clothed as the ‘mammy-water’.
Finally, that King Alfred Izonebi goofed irretrievably, recorded in the book of Genesis here, must be an ironic dance whose communicative and interpretative power lies more in reversals since the book of Revelation here ends strikingly with memorable echoes and strident notes of appreciation and encore for that fast rising music philosopher called king Izonebi whose songs always embody functionally relevant theories formulated to fertilize the earth of human habitation for the sole purpose of societal transformation and goal-actualization. So just as His Excellency Otuaro and others have been galvanized to labour towards governorship dream-realization by King Izonebi, King Izonebi should equally be galvanized into formulation of more functional theories in his trade of musical composition by the Delta Ijaws whose political mansion he has become the advocate and megaphone of without formal invitation. But are you convinced King Alfred Izonebi actually goofed?
BY EKANPOU ENEWARIDIDEKE
Writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State