By Gab Ejuwa
THAT Delta South constituency is a strikingly significant one among its contemporaries is not surprising, although all constituencies ideally enjoy the same degree of significance.
To start with, this constituency is home to the three dominant ethnic groups in Delta State: the Isokos, the Ijaws and the Itsekiris who all through the centuries have been one another’s keeper. As far as mineral wealth is concerned, the constituency can beat its chest as the wealthiest mineral repository in the state, being blessed to produce about eighty percent of the crude oil attributable to the Big Heart.
On the political scene, the constituency has remained vibrant and has contributed significantly on electoral matters of Delta state and the nation at large through appreciable votes always.
The representation of the constituency both in the Senate and the House of Representatives at least for the last fifteen years or so, has made itself susceptible to a recurring monopoly which has led to a kind of consensus clamour for a change of personal and institutional frameworks. What do I mean? House of Representatives, Honourable Leo Okuweh Ogor has been the recurring decimal in a manner of speaking, since the advent of the Fourth Republic so much so that his name has become synonymous with the word “representative”. In like manner, Senator James Manager has always bestrode the Senatorial representation in the state since the evolution of the latest democratic experiment.
The above means that these two individuals, have monopolised these leadership positions so much so that some vested interests both in the party and in the state at large would even like to sponsor even the ghosts of these two as candidates during any election.
In fact, a notable son of the constituency in the person of ex-Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan was supposed to have gone to the Senate, if only to let the Itsekiri nation field a candidate for the National Assembly slot but that political permutation would have been suicidal for the PDP and particularly for the then President Goodluck Jonathan, whose votes would have been scattered. The fact that this did not happen was the corollary of the gentleman agreement among the three ethnic groups dominant in the constituency, who agreed on a rotational option with regards to the National Assembly slots. This was the genesis of the inauspicious development whereby representation oscillates between Leo Ogor and James Manager in such a fashion.
Although it is a fact of human political socialisation that power sometimes constitutes an insidious aphrodisiac which captivates many in its thrall. Human history is replete with examples of people who would rather die than abdicate power or give in to popular opinions. Pharaoh of Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Gen. Sani Abacha, Muamar Gadhafi, Robert Mugabe and an agglomeration of others leap readily to mind.
With these instructive examples of power-drunk leaders, it is pertinent to point out and jettison all pretentions about their acclaimed genuine care for the people, they habitually strive in various ways to buttress their stranglehold on power with a view to validating their own agendas, ventilating their personal vendettas, some of which include amassing stupendous wealth to make themselves cult figures, immortalising their names and establishing superstructures of influence and patronage that could help cover their tracks in the afterlife of corruptive power.
In view of this selfish and parochial development, and if only to initiate a government in which everybody has a sense of belonging, it is imperative for Delta South in 2019 to chart a new political course and embrace a new political acculturation as regards the filling of the National Assembly slots.
In the first place, Delta South has got to dispense with the services of Leo Ogor regarding the House of Representatives. The man is indisposed for crying out loud, and as a matter of fact his wife has been telling whoever cares to listen this for some time now. The implication is crystal-clear: that they should leave the man alone and for him to step aside to attend to his rapidly degenerating health. Granted that he has garnered to himself a kind of cult following in the National Assembly, methinks there are a few accomplished Deltans who can confidently step into his big shoes and intelligently articulate Delta state’s interests as he had been doing before the spectra of his ill-health strutted up like a vengeful ghost.
In like manner, James Manager must leave the political stage when (now) the ovation is loudest. As earlier affirmed, there are other credible options for our littoral state in terms of senatorial representation such as the ex-Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, for one; who was the first conceiver of Delta beyond oil initiative. This quiet unassuming physician, certainly on account of his rich and varied political and career experiences as a Medical Doctor and Governor, is as good a choice for the Senate for a greater Delta South senatorial District, especially as most of the individuals in the Senate are his contemporaries, friends and associates, most of whom he can readily gain access to and lobby to better Delta State’s fortune in the Senate.
Instructively, President Muhammadu Buhari in the bid to pander to the popular will and thereby bridge the proverbial generation gap, has unveiled the not-too-young-to-contest political credo and innovation and thereby effected the oft-debated paradigm shift. Consequently, there is the urgent unvarnished need for the youths to come out of their political limbo and break their political teeth, thus contributing substantially their quota to our political development. Of essence is the youthful energy and freshness of Uduaghan to dream, aspire, and indeed conquer worlds hitherto unimagined which abundant in our youths, not less so their demonstrative abilities.
It is imperative for us to take a cue from the Obamas of this world and change once and for all the sidelining of the most active segment of our teeming population.
•Mr. Ejuwa, a journalist, wrote from Lagos.