By Dr. Amos Ighorodje
There are echoes of discordant arguments in some quarters in Delta state that the next Gubernatorial candidate for our great Party, The PDP, should not come from Delta Central Senatorial District.
There is no way anyone can honestly defend or substantiate the reasons for this crooked thought whatsoever, and by any stretch of the imagination.
Now let us start the discussion from the beginning. During the series of events that led to the gubernatorial Primaries of our Party in 2007 at the expiration of the maximum two terms of H.E. Chief James Ibori, the first elected governor under this dispensation, the leaders and major stakeholders of the Party from all the Ethnic groups and the senatorial districts of the state held a meeting, and in unison, they all agreed that the Governorship ticket of the party in the state will henceforth be rotated turn by turn amongst the three senatorial districts that make up Delta state in a well documented, sincere and gentlemanly agreement.
And the incumbent governor being an Urhobo from Delta central the governorship ticket was rotated and given to Delta south, even though there were massive protestations from Urhobo political stalwarts of the party for the Governor to remain in Delta Central as compensation for sociopolitical equilibrium, having been shortchanged by the federal government for siting the state capital in Delta North senatorial District, despite the glaring demographic and economic reasons and realities for the capital of the new state to be sited in Delta central.
This singular act of cooperation from the Urhobos brought absolute peace to the party that was highly heated up hitherto, because of arguments as to where the governorship ticket should go to. Thereafter, and as a result of the magnanimity of the Urhobo political leaders of Delta central in keying into the senatorial Districts rotation of the Governorship with sincerely, hope and sense of purpose, the PDP in Delta state delivered a landslide victory at the governorship elections in 2007 because every Deltan then felt a sense of belonging and commitment to the growth of the party.
Then came 2015. At the expiration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s two terms tenure as governor from Delta South senatorial District, the major stakeholders and leaders of our Party again affirmed that the rotational principle or formula must be strictly adhered to for equity, fairness and to avoid rancor in the internal democratic workings of the party.
And moreover it was believed it will definitely foster a sense belonging and unity in our party. At our party Primary in Asaba before the 2015 general elections PDP delegates from the three senatorial districts were prevailed upon by our Party leaders to vote in a candidate from Delta North senatorial District in compliance with the senatorial rotational formula, and H.E. Senator, Dr., Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa emerged as our torch bearer for the Governorship election of 2015, which he won overwhelmingly to become the next Governor of our state from the Delta north senatorial District.
Consequently, now that we are approaching the maximum tenure of office for a Governor of two terms that will terminate in 2023 for Governor Okowa from Delta north, and the three Senatorial Districts having taken their turns accordingly, the office of the Governor SHOULD and OUGHT to be ROTATED back to Delta central to kickstart another circle for the Governorship because the rotation started with Delta central senatorial District. This should be, because the rotation of the Governorship ticket was based on senatorial districts as agreed upon and it has been being adhered to as such tenaciously for the last two changes of the Governorship.
Now that this rotational formula having worked smoothly and seamlessly without much rancor in our party, while the Governorship ticket was being rotated from one senatorial District to the other, why would anyone contemplate to jettison it for whatever reason? Such reason or reasons if they exist at all are purely for selfish purposes that will not augur well for the smooth democratic management of the electoral gains and peace the party has been enjoying since 1999 till date.
Till date since 1999, Delta state has remained the envy of many states throughout the country for its political stability during transition from one Governor to the other at the end of the maximum eight years tenure. This fact alone should make every sincere minded and patriotic PDP member to jealously guard this formula that has made the party to blossom at every general election.
One wonders why should any patriotic party faithful be contemplating such a destabilising political calculation of abandoning such a peaceful and workable arrangement all of a sudden. IT WILL NEITHER WORK NOR AUGUR WELL FOR OUR PARTY.
But let us even contemplate for a second for the purposes of dialectic ventilation that the rotational formula from one senatorial District to the other be jettisoned for now, haven successfully completed its first full circle because no condition is permanent, then what gave anyone the impression that any new adopted formula would not start with Delta Central? What? Tell me?
It should and ought to start from Delta Central for so many reasons of which I will just cite a few potent ones.
Firstly, the rotational principle of the Governorship from one senatorial District to the other started with Delta central and if there were going to be any changes as may be agreed to by all the stakeholders of the ethnic groups of the state, then by NATURAL and SANE sequencing of things it should be Delta central that WILL AND SHOULD start any new formula that may be agreed on.
I don’t see why anyone should bother to argue on this point at all. It should and ought to start with Delta central as the first district to commence the new formula being the first to have started the completed full circle, and having waited PATIENTLY for the other two districts to take their turns, despite periods that were very glaring to the other two districts that if the leaders of Delta central in 2007 and 2015 wanted the Governorship ticket to return to Delta central they would easily have done that on the two previous changes from one senatorial District to the other.
All the leaders, followers and stakeholders of the party all over the state were well aware of this of this fact. On the previous two occasions when the governorship changed from one senatorial District to the other both the North and south had always expressed apprehension if Central district will cooperate and abide by the turn by turn movement of the governorship ticket from one District to the other.
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But the Urhobo PDP leaders and the Delta central PDP faithfuls being conscientious people with fairness, equity and the fear of God dripping from their veins unanimously maintained that the district by district rotational formula be adhered to as previously agreed upon, and that was why we have been enjoying remarkable political peace, stability and gains in Delta state, and she has continued to remain the enviable homestead of PDP nationwide.
Now that the first circle of the Governorship rotation has gone through the three senatorial districts and a NEW circle is to commence in 2023, why then would anyone think of sidetracking Delta central senatorial District and move the ticket to another district? Why? It doesn’t make any sense at all neither does such a contemplation equitable.
Though, we all know that politics involves a lot of bizarre interests and we are in a democracy where any qualified Deltan can pick form and contest for the golden political office in a the state, but reasonableness and sence of justice should be allowed to play for the new circle to start with Delta central whether changed or unchanged.
Secondly, let us even assume that the District by District rotational formula be abandoned because it has run one successful full circle, and that no condition is permanent, what then gave anyone the thought or faith, howsoever, that it should not start from Delta central whereas it was Delta central that started the first formula? Any new arrangements must as a matter of necessity and fairness start with Delta central. Aside that sense of justice hides the fact that Delta central is the most populated District in the state. And in fact, her population is almost twice the size of the second placed Ethnic group in the state.
On this ground alone what justifications will any other Ethnic group adduce as to why they should start the new rotational formula first and not by the Urhobo ethnicity if we are to go by ethnic group to ethnic group rotation? NO REASON AT ALL WHATSOEVER. Any argument to the contrary is just a mere academic exercise or statement.
The argument that an ethnic group in the state that is a major ethnic group has not tasted the juice of Governorship of the state during this cycle when the ticket was rotating smoothly through the three senatorial districts be given an opportunity to have a taste of the office does not hold water or fly at all for many reasons. In fact it stinks in the face of all those that are involved in that line of thought or that want to navigate into such an irreversible culdesac.
Because, the leaders and major stakeholders of that Ethnic group that might be contemplating such an elementary argument were there, alive and well when it was agreed by all in 2007 that the PDP in Delta state shall adopt rotation of the Governorship ticket using senatorial districts and again it was repeated in 2015, AND NOTHING WAS MENTIONED ABOUT CHANGING TO ETHNIC GROUPS at any point in time as the basis for the rotation, for equity and sence of belonging to reign Supreme among all the members of our party. If they wanted rotation of the ticket based on Ethnic groups they could have insisted on that then, and not to come at this late hour when the District that this Ethnic group belongs to has enjoyed their slot when it was due to them and it is now the turn of another Senatorial District. Kai, let us be a bit reasonable here my fellow Deltans. Does that argument sound reasonable? No way…!! Just imagine, simply because an Ethnic group that is inside a senatorial District whose District has enjoyed their slot when it was the due turn of that District to pick the ticket in a free and fair contest opened to all the Ethnic groups in that senatorial
District has not tasted the governorship yet does not confer a next turn opportunity on her when the rotation comes around to another District. This is because the zoning was based on senatorial Districts and not on Ethnic groups.
So, that Ethnic group cannot take the turn of a senatorial District when the circle comes around because the rotation was wholly on senatorial basis. So, I beg everyone that things don’t just work that way my brothers and sisters from Delta south and Delta north. That will amount to that senatorial District having two slots for the Governorship before the turn of
Delta central for a zoning formula that is supposed to get to a senatorial a District at most once in eight years after the preceding senatorial District has taken their turns. The Ethnic group that got the ticket for that District then is supposed to be the representative of that District.
Thirdly, as the adage goes the red necked lizard will normally nod its head after falling from the top of an Iroko tree without a blemish.
I am sure all PDP patriotic faithfuls will recall that it was the son and daughter of Urhobo that worked tirelessly to fund and bring the
Peoples Democratic Party from the National body to establish, recruit people and blossomed it here in Delta state. Watin?….honour should be given to whom it is due, and even at that the Urhobo ethnicity had always cooperated for the ticket to go to other Districts when it was their turn to take it. The summary of the point of this argument here is that Delta Central people should and ought to be GIVEN THE RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL in the event of any change of formula as it pertains to the Governorship ticket of the state because of their immense contribution to the formation and development of the Party in the state, and her population.
No one can sincerely argue the fact that the Urhobo ethnicity was not the primus inter pares contributor towards the establishment and development of PDP in Delta state at its formative stages in 1998 and 1999, and as well as being the number one in population in the state.
So, whether the rotational principle will be changed or not the Urhobos deserve to have the right of first refusal for the Governorship slot to be zoned to Delta central come 2023. The reasons given above are more than overwhelming for everyone to accept Delta central to produce the PDP candidate for the 2023 election.
In concluding this epistle, I want to appeal to all our brethren from the other Ethnic groups and Senatorial Districts in the state to allow reason, due process and sense of justice to prevail and zone the next PDP ticket of the Governorship to Delta central Senatorial District without much ado come 2023.