By Emma Amaize
AFTER 27 years of political dominance, some Itsekiri political leaders in Warri North Area, Delta State, have conceded the 2023 chairmanship of the local government area to the Egbema-Ijaw for peace to reign.
However, controversy has erupted over the political horse-trading, as an Itsekiri group in the area has rejected the deal.
An Itsekiri political leader in Warri North, Mr Godwin Ebosa, denied knowledge of the arrangement when contacted by Vanguard.
Despite the contradictory positions, some Egbema-Ijaw PDP leaders, in furtherance of the agreement, submitted names of Ijaw chairmanship aspirants to a notable Itsekiri PDP leader in the area for transmission to the governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
The confidential arrangement ran into a storm, as the name of a popular chairmanship aspirant widely known as the consensus candidate of Egbema-Ijaw leaders, Mr Francis Abulu, was calculated omitted from list.
The development generated fresh tension in the area, weekend, with Ijaw saying that Itsekiri should not decide their candidate for them.
But another group, Warri North Unity Forum in a statement by the chairman, Mr Kofi Esemighan and others, which confirmed the political deal, urged Itsekiri leaders to allow Egbema-Ijaw people to pick their consensus candidate and not foist a crony on them.
“We laud the decision of the Itsekiri people to cede the chairmanship position of Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State for the first time to the Egbema- Ijaw in March 6, 2021, local government polls in the state, but kick against alleged plot to handpick a particular Ijaw aspirant for the chairmanship position.”
“We commend the chairman of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Chief Michael Diden and other Itsekiri leaders for conceding the chairmanship position of Warri North Local government area to the Egbema- Ijaw after 27 years of creation, but we advise those plotting to handpick a particular Ijaw aspirant for the chairmanship position to have a rethink.
“We want to implore those elements plotting to handpick a particular Ijaw aspirant for the Warri North chairmanship position to listen to wise counsel in the consensus agreement of Egbema Leaders around the candidacy of Mr Francis Bekesuode Abulu, a Special Assistant on Politics to the Governor for the chairmanship position.
” Mr Abulu is the best man for the job. We wonder why these elements are doing things differently now. They should not listen to people who are telling them to hold on to the rope after selling the goat. After 27 years of creation of Warri North local government area, Egbema people should be allowed to choose a candidate that the people will be proud of after his tenure and not an imposed candidate they will regret,” the group said.
It added: “To avoid unnecessary tension in the area, we ask Itsekiri leaders to allow the aspiration of Mr Francis Abulu see the light of day, as he is tested and trusted. He served in 2014 during the administration of former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan as a member of the State Committee on Land Allocation and he will foster unity among the ethnic groups in the area if elected”.
The group also expressed gratitude to the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for his stand on justice for the people of Egbema, noting: “The governor’s intervention cannot be complete until the consensus agreement of Egbema- Ijaw is endorsed.”