By Festus Ahon
ASABA-CHAIRMEN of Coalition of Registered Political Parties in Delta State have adopted the former Chairman of the State Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Joel Onowakpo-Thomas as their sole candidate for the Isoko Federal Constituency seat in the 2019 general elections.
They lamented the under-development of Isoko federal constituency and poor representation in government at the federal level, adding that the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Leo Ogor presently represent Isoko federal constituency has been in the House since 2003 till date under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and still wanting to run for another term in 2019.
Briefing newsmen after their meeting in Asaba, the Coalition Chairmen led by Chief Efe Tobor, decried that despite the huge contribution of Isoko constituency to the wealth of the nation through oil and gas exploration, the area has nothing to show for in terms of industries and basic infrastructures.
Dr. Clarke Mejebi of the Grassroots Party of Nigeria, GPN who read the resolution of the group, frowned that the area has not produced a Federal Minister, Ambassador or any other position of note since the return of democracy in 1999.
Reiterating the resolve of the Coalition to support Mr. Joel Onowakpo-Thomas to realise his aspiration to represent Isoko Federal constituency in 2019 election, irrespective of the political party he intends to use for the election, he listed the reasons why they adopted Mr Joel Onowakpo-Thomas to include; “has never been indicted for corruption in spite of so many sensitive positions he has held and still holding till today.
“That Joel Onowakpo-Thomas as chairman of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue raised the revenue of Delta State by over 250% before he left and we believe this experience will be usefully deployed to represent the Isoko people in the House of Representatives as from 2019.
“That Onowakpor’s credentials as a chartered Accountant, business consultant, serial entrepreneur with interests in hotels and hospitality, financial services, commodity trading and other endeavours will be utilized for the benefit of the Isoko people if elected in 2019.
“As former member of the Delta State economic council, he has acquired much experience that would impact positively on the lives of Isoko people if elected in 2019.
“That Onowakpor believes in grassroots governance and development and was at a time chairman (mayor) of Isoko South Local Government Area (2007 – 2008) when he demonstrated leadership and executive capabilities.
“Onowakpor who is currently coordinating Federal Inland Revenue Service for Edo, Delta and Rivers states will leverage on his humongous experience and vast contacts to grow the Isoko nation to prominence when elected to represent the ethnic nationality in the House of Representatives.
“Our coalition notes that Onowakpor’s simplicity, accessibility and his philanthropic nature will definitely benefit the Isoko people whose men, women and youths he has vowed to empower when he us elected into the House of Representatives in 2019.”
To this end, they called on Isoko political stakeholders opinion leaders and the electorate “to vote in this exceptional son of Isoko in 2019 in order to terminate the dark days that Isoko people have endured so far.”
According to them, the coalition will support credible candidates with proven record of integrity and performance from the position of Governor to members of House of Assembly in no distant time, adding that “the case of Isoko Federal constituency is peculiar because of the lamentable level of under development”.