CONSIDERING the achievements of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, the debate in Delta State now is who succeeds him. The 1999 Constitution limits the tenure of Governors and President to two terms of four years each. So by 2015, Uduaghan must vacate office in obedience to the constitution.
His successor must be assessed; he must not be someone who indulgies in profligacy but someone who understands the state and is ready to work to add value to his predecessor’s deeds. Governor Uduaghan needs spiritual guidance because if he fails, it will be like a stigma that will haunt the state.
He, therefore, has a difficult task ahead because this is the season of deceit when chameleons, moles, sycophants, jesters, masquerades and all shades of characters use deceptive steps to achieve their desires. Uduaghan should avoid the pitfalls of 1997; he should carry critical stake holders of the party and engage his choice to sell himself independently, while providing guidance and support.
Such a choice must not display the toga of a “crown Prince” before other aspirants so as not to cause party discord. As leader of the State he has the inalienable right to democratically make a choice that can add value to his legacy.
However, several factors may determine the next governor of the state: (1) The President will never endorse a mole, someone who may be a threat to his political aspirations or any person who has a case with anti-corruption agencies or under investigation. (2) Dr. Uduaghan may not support any aspirant he does not trust because he needs someone he can be at peace with after he leaves office, and (3) The fellow cannot afford to ignore the irrepressible Edwin Clark who is father to the President and confidant of Uduaghan as doing so will be at his own peril.
Like a fiesta, the army of aspirants represents all shades of interests: the drunk and monsters, traitors and sycophants, jesters and robots, committed and unprincipled, decisive and indecisive, liars and the frank as well as power shift crusaders. The race is becoming comical and entertaining; Uduaghan must spare a thought on his successor.
Those who want Uduaghan’s political shoes come with different intentions: some for political appointments, to negotiate “settlement” when stepping down, and few like mosquitoes buzzing the ears of their master’s opponents that sponsor them are rusty distractions.
Others negotiate for candidates of the state House of Assembly, House of Reps and Senate before stepping down. Unfortunately the good aspirants don’t have the Father Christmas gesture of fortune tellers and ‘Ewedu and Amala’ mob in the state.
When the Biblical apostles wanted to replace Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ, they laid down conditions for a would-be successor; without prejudice they proposed fundamental reasons that entrenched continuity in the body of Christ. Who succeeds Uduaghan cannot be an exception.
He must have been with the PDP from the beginning and contributed to progress in the state without soiling his hands. Somebody with a listening ear, humble, accessible and has respect for elders of the state. Fashola is a protégé of Tinubu as Obiano is of Obi.
If Gov. Uduaghan is not worried about who succeeds him, he is merely postponing the evil day but those who want Uduaghan’s shoes without sweat, tears and commitment are jokers; they must bring their own shoe sizes and embrace attributes that endeared Uduaghan to Deltans.
A successor must address the interests of E. K. Clark which is tied to the President and Uduaghan’s worry which is tied to a cluster of interests to win their confidence. Clark’s influence in the state and at the national level is not debatable, everybody needs him. Governor Uduaghan also is a bridge between his disciples and adherents of Ibori; any successor must note this.
The choice of who rules the state must not be restricted to one senatorial district because doing so is encouraging division above the good of the state. Competence must be cherished because any aspirant putting on the garland of power shift is dehydrated, bereft of ideas. We need aspirants with ideas on how to move the state forward, give blue print that cuts across the nooks and crannies of the state, aspirants with pedigree who are ethnically blind.
We need a leader not a ruler, a successor who sees every part of the state as home; someone who consolidates the gains of past, the present with vision for the future, to sustain and unite the state as Uduaghan had done. Power shift debate is a distraction. Some believe that because Ibori from Delta Central and Uduaghan from Delta South had been elected Governors, 2015 should be the turn of Delta North.
The fact is the primaries that produced Ibori and Uduaghan in their two terms were not restricted to aspirants of one senatorial zone. Another group recently defined power shift as the governorship seat rotation among the five ethnic groups of Itsekiri, Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko and the Igbo.
Is this not promoting anarchy above unity and competence in a diverse state like ours? Delta North is not strictly Igbo; there are other distinct ethnic nationalities like Ndokwa, Ika and others. We must not judge any aspirant by ethnicity or place of birth but competence.
We need leaders in the mould of Uduaghan and not aspirants whose ideas are stale and tied to retrogressive emotions. Let’s pray for Uduaghan as he navigates us through this critical decision making process.
PRINCE ABUGO, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Uzere, Delta State.