THE political significance of 2015 in Nigeria is increasingly snowballing into a contagious and pervasive reality whose unfolding impacts are reverberating across sectors of the economy and sections of the geo-polity.
The brewing expectations towards 2015 have even been compounded with the recent registration of the All Progressives Congress, APC, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, with the expected consequent repositioning and realignment of political and ethno-regional interests across the country.
In Delta, an oil bearing state of the South-South, the year 2015, beyond being an all important political dateline has elicited a weighty question that no doubt requires an urgent answer. The question on the lips of many concerned Deltans border on the character and personality of the expected successor of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan. One who would not only sustain the developmental strides and initiatives of the current administration but re-energise and unleash the productive genius of the multi-talented people of Delta State.
Even in the face of the diverse political permutations and predictions, there appears to be a somewhat unwritten understanding and a near consensus amongst the political elites across the party divides that fielding a governorship candidate of Delta North (ANIOMA) extraction, come 2015, remains a fair, just and truly democratic option. This arises from the fact of history that in the 22 years of its existence, the other two senatorial zones have produced governors of Delta State, in some cases more than once.
2015 is, therefore, considered in Delta State as not just a political dateline for handover of leadership baton but as a historical year of political actualisation by the Anioma people of Delta North and indeed the fair-minded and progressive forces across Delta State. It is, therefore, widely perceived as a year of democratic bridge building across the various ethno-cultural divides for the overall developmental interests of all parts of the State. It is indeed time, not for an Anioma project as widely perceived but for a pan-Deltan political project founded on equity, justice and fair political balancing.
Expectedly, there is a growing tribe of governorship aspirants whom the State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, recently referred to in a public function as a growing number of likely successors eagerly repositioning to take over the realms of power in the State from him.
Those currently being mentioned in connection with the top job include a former Commissioner for Economic Planning and ex-presidential aide, Chief Clement Ofuani, current Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Victor Ochei, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Prince Sam Obi, current Chief of Staff to Governor Uduaghan, Dr. Festus Okubor, GodswillObielum, Dr.Ngozi Olejeme, Prof. Sylvester Monye, among others.
They all are eminently qualified Deltans whose right it is to aspire to the highest political office of the State. The political imperatives and developmental realities, however, point towards far-reaching implications on the account of the emergence of any of the current aspirants. In very practical terms, the choices before that present themselves to Deltans range from career politicians desirous of improving on their profile and list of offices they have occupied without a clear cut vision of the onerous demands of the office. There are also aspirants who have amassed some significant level of material resources from their public offices. With the amassed resources, some of the aspirants are already on a mission of compromising identified opinion leaders within the political system and structure. There are, however, in their ranks, aspirants who are not driven by the lure and lucre of public office but by the vision of how the limited resources of the State can be equitably and judiciously applied to make Delta assume her leading role in the country through enhancing the viability of the various socio-economic sectors, wealth creation, employment generation, infrastructural development and inter- ethnic harmony amongst the cultural groupings in the State.
The latter category appears to fit into the desires and aspirations of most Deltans today. An aspirant in that mold should therefore be a known and credible political bridge-builder who can be trusted to deliver on his promises in a manner that diminishes the State’s political and ethnic fault lines. It is indeed important for Deltans to come to the point of realisation that there is a critical job to be done and that there is a nexus between the electoral choices that they will make and their economic well-being anchored by a focused leader. Accordingly, within the matrix of historical and political realities of the 2015 race, only the most qualified and equipped should be supported, encouraged and eventually elected into the evidently demanding office of this multi-ethnic state.
Chief Ofuani, a tested and proven technocrat, is reputed to have earned for himself a credit of nearly three decades of unblemished service in both the private and public sectors. A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, his acceptability and political appeal go beyond his senatorial district to the other ethnic stocks of Isoko, Urhobo, Ijaw and Itsekiri.
His general acceptability across the state is said to be the product of his established service footprints and pedigree rooted in credibility, profoundly demonstrated as the pioneer Economic Planning Commissioner in the State.
From being an Economic Planning Commissioner in the State to a brief stint as Economic Adviser to the Governor before being invited by the then President Musa Yar’Adua to serve as Senior Special Assistant on Policy, Ofuani is at home with the economic blueprint of the State, the Niger Delta region and the nation and has the discipline and uncommon commitment to translate these into accelerated development of Delta State.
Mr. EMMANUEL ANYASI, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Asaba, Delta State.