By Perez Brisibe
ETHIOPE Federal Constituency is one of the ten federal constituencies that maker up Delta State. Unfortunately, the constituents have been bedeviled by what the people termed “poor representation” by their representatives in the lower House.
The constituency is made up of Ethiope East and Ethiope West Local Government Areas.
Since the advent of democracy in 1999, the constituency has had Hon Harlims Agoda (Ethiope West), Sunny Emeyese and Lovette Idisi (Ethiope East) as representatives in the Green Chamber.
While Agoda was elected on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and served from 1999 to 2011, Emeyese served from 2011 to 2015 until he was replaced, by Idisi both on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Breaking Political Tradition
However, the emergence of Agoda in 1999 as member representing the constituency despite the governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, being from Oghara, Ethiope East, marked a watershed in the political calculation in the area.
The people of the area, particular those from Ethiope East, had expected that with the governor emerging from Ethiope West, it would have only been proper and fair for the sake of equity and justice for them to produce the House of Representatives member even though they thought this slight was a fluke.
However, in the spirit of the brotherhood and what has been described as a coincidence, the people of Ethiope East, in 1999, voted for their Ethiope West brother.
Bitter pill for Ethiope East
To prove to them that it wasn’t a stroke of luck for Agoda to emerge, one of the voices in Ethiope East championing the case for equity and justice in political representation in the area, Olorogun Solomon Edojah, who was the only aspirant from Ethiope East, was reportedly forced to step down for Agoda in 2003.
In a bid to pacify the people of Ethiope East on the reasons for his action, Edojah during a meeting with stakeholders of the area, said: “This is the bitter pill that I have to swallow.”
With this disclosure, Agoda went back to the House and held sway for 12 years with Ibori serving as governor for two tenures.
At the briefing, the people could not come to terms with this strange relationship with their Ethiope West neighbours especially after voting for Ibori, the previous week.
Ethiope East suffered backwardness in governance predominantly in towns like Eku, Abraka, Okpara Inland and Kokori leading to an upsurge in crime particularly kidnapping which came to a climax in 2013.
In expression of their displeasure, the people of Ethiope East encouraged their subjects to run for legislative positions to attract dividends of democracy. Above all, there is no federal presence in any form in Ethiope East as the only federal road that runs through the area is dilapidated.
The face of the opposition in the state, Chief Great Ogboru had emerged as the DPP Candidate for the governorship and was giving wide hope to the people of the state including Ethiope East which produced Idisi on the platform of the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, while Emeyese emerged for the PDP and ANPP producing Edewor Edema as candidates.
Though the opposition in the state could not produce the House of Representatives member, Ethiope East, with support from Ethiope West, voted for their own enmasse with Emeyese scoring 54, 798 votes while Idisi came second with 46, 068.
Having put sentiment aside since 2011 in a quest to elect a lawmaker to champion their cause on the floor of the House, the people of the district elected Idisi in 2015 to replace Emeyese and would be doing same in 2019 for one of their own, Edojah.
Lawmaking is all about the passing of laws for the benefit of the people. Having been overwhelmingly voted to represent the people of Ethiope East in 1992 before being kicked out of office by the Abacha junta in November 1993, Edojah would be going back to the National Assembly with cognate experience.
Also, as a Senior Special Adviser to the Delta State Governor on Mass Mobilization in 2009 under the Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration, Edojah had introduced the town Hall Meetings as an avenue for government to feel the pulse of the people in decision making.
The meetings became an effective tool for Deltans to be close to government as well as making their contributions on state policies. From his antecedents, it is clear that Edojah will sure live up to expectations through his Townhall Meetings.
Irked by the level of poverty and financial backwardness in Ethiope East despite being out of office for the past eight years, Edojah launched the Edojah Grant for the Needy.
“You can’t imagine that some of these people just need a times, a little as N10, 000 to add to their businesses but they can’t get it,” Edojah had stated during the commencement of the exercise.
Beneficiaries of the program from the Ethiope East irrespective of political affiliation and religious background were screened by a team of business experts on their financial needs to boost their businesses after which the grants were approved for them.
Accolades from Ivwurie, Enakirerhi
The PDP member representing Ethiope East in Delta State House of Assembly, Hon Evance Ivwurie who was a guest during the flag off of one of the editions of the exercise, had said: “This is a laudable idea in financially positioning our people for economic growth and I would want to commend the efforts of Olorogun Solomon Edojah for his humanitarian efforts.”
On his part, chairman of the Delta State Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Bishop Kingsley Enakirerhi at another edition of the exercise, said: “If we have a hand few of the likes of Edojah, poverty would have taken a flight from our communities.”
Determined to take the fight for his people a notch higher, Edojah having emerged as the All Progressives Congress, APC House of Representatives candidate for Ethiope is promising to not just provide bread and fish for them, but also to make laws that would empower them economically.
According to him, one of his priorities is to reduce the hours spent to visit our brothers and sisters in Ethiope West from Ethiope East by facilitating the construction of the bridge linking Aghalokpe in Okpe local government area and Boboroku in Ethiope West.
He said: “Equity demands that the people of Ethiope East should be allowed to complete their twelve years before we decide where the rotation should begin. Above all, the twelve years of Hon Harlims Agoda was a disaster and total loss to the people of Ethiope constituency as there is nothing to show for it. The people deserve quality representation, a paradigm shift, an end to lamentations.
Anchoring on the success of his Town Hall Meetings, he said: “My AAA project of Adequate Representation, Adequate feedbacks and Adequate benefits is the solution for Ethiope constituency and it should be on record that I have promised to share 50 percent of all my earnings to the poor and needy on a monthly basis throughout my time in the House.
“It is my avowal and statement of fidelity that I shall set standards and break records in quality representation and tangible benefits for the people of Ethiope federal constituency of Delta state.”