BY Godwin Oghre
Dr Wilson Odafe Omene, a PDP stalwart and immediate past Executive Chairman of Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State, is currently a consultant in Maritime Affairs. In this interview he bares his mind on a number of burning political issues in Ethiope West Local Government Area, Delta State and the nation. Excerpts:
What is the state of the PDP in your area and Delta State as a whole?
Politics in Ethiope West, and indeed the whole of Delta State, as far as PDP is concerned has been recently reinvigorated and strengthened by the new strategy applied by the Executive Governor of the state. The governor, during the recent bye-election in Delta Central Senatorial District, directed all party big wigs to go back to their various constituencies and make sure that they delivered them to the party. The Local Government had always been a one party council area, and that is PDP, and we are ensuring that all previous disaffections are buried forever.
What do you mean by all previous disaffection?
There was a leadership structure set up by the former governor, Chief James Ibori. However, the man he entrusted with so much leverage to keep Ethiope West PDP together almost ruined the political prospect of this local government Area. He introduced a pressure group called Amoribility which simply was a misguided, selfish and anti-party activism meant to promote personal interest than collective party interest.
At first, in that structure a number of unpopular folks who are members of the so-called AMORIBILITY in the party tried to cause trouble within the party. The party suffered a great loss because PDP members that were not comfortable with the group were being punished. They also formed another group called Urhobo Political Forum, UPF. When they could not have what they wanted, but succeeded in politically raping Urhobo people, they killed UPF and went on to form Urhobo Political Congress, UPC.
But a sharp disagreement occurred among them over the 2011 senatorial election. As a result PDP lost the election to a very unpopular party, though with a credible candidate, the late Senator Pius Ewherido of the DPP.
Thereafter, some of the arrow heads of UPC, including its leadership pulled off to form yet another group which they called Urhobo Political Association, UPA. This chain of fall and rise shows their ineptitude in politics and ability to propagate the tenets of PDP.
This is what I meant by previous disaffection in the party which we have overcome.
Now what can you say of the party at the Delta Central and State level?
The party is now very strong at the Delta Central and at the State level. The same episode which played out at our local government level also happened at the Delta Central and at the State level but now the governor in his wisdom is now engaged in constructive party leadership, recognizing the need for a full-scale reform. He has settled most differences, and the party is now waxing very strong at the Delta Central and at the State level, more so as it has finally won the Delta Central Senatorial bye-election.
What is your comment on the issue of rotating the office of governor in Delta State?
There is nothing like rotational governorship in Delta State. There was no time in history that the people of Delta State sat down regionally as a group to agree on rotational governorship. I challenge anybody with such evidence as rotational governorship to come forward and tender it. There was no such agreement at anytime and anywhere. In Ethiope West Local Government Council where we have a rotational agreement, the representatives of all the people in the council area came together to agree to it, and as I speak to you there is concrete evidence that can be relied upon.
At the state level, however, there is nothing like that. Urhobo is to Delta State, as a first son is to any family. Just as the words of a first son are respected in any family that is how the words of Urhobo people should be respected in Delta State. Urhobo voice should be and must be the defacto in the decision mechanism of the state.If the children of one father were to share a fish, it is the senior who takes the biggest portion.
Urhobo being the senior in the family of Delta State, naturally deserve to hold on to the governorship position, after all, the state capital is in Asaba and that should be their share. Urhobo cannot lose the capital as well as the governorship.