June 20, 2021

Delta 2023: The Isoko question


Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” —Henry Ford

 By Frank Egboro       

One is tempted to recall the words of Charles Dickens in one of his classics, The Tale of Two Cities, that, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us. “

Yes, we have everything before us as a state and a people except political unity. Today, we see those who point the way forward as pariahs once it does not align with our interest just like the character Spurinna who warned Julius Caesar in the Shakespeare classics of impending danger which Caesar ignored to his peril. This is the bane of our current crop of political actors and vociferous restive elders. 

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According to Trevor Roper, prophets are unnecessary distractions in times of victory.

There is so much rascality amongst our political class breeding traits that smacks irresponsibility and internecine conflicts.       

Our leaders must lead by example ensuing bitterness and a high sense of responsiveness in their utterances and comments as we sail towards 2023. As some of them are spoiling for trouble, they should remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, who said:”If a man can have half his wishes he will double his troubles,” and the advice of John Mason, who said:‘No one should pray for rain if he will complain of the mud.”

  We have pretended over the years of our pyrrhic unity and the cracks are becoming obvious like a pregnant woman. 

The cracks appearing today have been there but we have refused to address them because of our  ogogoro and agbata eeke  political actors that have become our Achilles Heels. 

The hocus-pocus festering in our political space from our political gladiators currently can be likened to a circus rehearsal that reveals loss-of-control, fear, frustration, confusion and intransigence. And it reminds one of the words of former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, who said: “Alliance is held together by fear, not by love.”

In the present political harum-scarum, the neanderthals and kindergarten politicians in alliance with our voodoo political players are rationalizing the issues of equity, fairness and zoning coated in ethnicity. They are displaying so much ignorance and naivety.

This is not the time for macabre dance and buffoonery nor political correctness and mendacious unjustifiable medieval stone-age self-serving arguments that cannot fly in this millennium. According to John C. Maxwell, the Stone Age didn‘t end because people ran out of stones. It ended because people kept learning and improving.

We must learn to extend a handshake across the three senatorial zones, building bridges of oneness, friendship, inclusiveness and commonality. Whether we accept it or not, we need each other. Disunity and bickering over who gets what instead of engaging one another will destroy us.

Imagine what we can accomplish if we don’t care about who takes the credit according to Harry Truman. The time has come for a consultative forum, a round table conversation and sincere dialogue among the ethnic nationalities that make up Delta State to chart the way forward. 

Enough of the hullabaloo and vituperations emanating from our people across all divides in the state. The threat that 2023 will be a fight to finish by one tribe, is political harakiri. 

And it is unacceptable because no one holds the monopoly of violence but we always stoop to conquer and it takes “wisdom to understand wisdom for the music is nothing if the audience is deaf” according to Walter Lippmann (1899-1974). 

We must talk to ourselves if not we may go in circles making little progress like the Israelites who covered a distance of 613km between Egypt (Kemet) and Isreal (Canaan) for 40yrs at the rate of 43 metres a day, a distance a six-year-old can run in less than five minutes. Only Moses can explain this snail-speed  waka waka.

The state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, is the generalismo of Delta State today and his recent political opinion has become a barbiturate causing our political undertakers amnesia. In other words, the governor baring his mind on the ethos for future leadership has elicited wild reactions across various interest groups threatening the fundamental accord that binds the people over the years.

So much as his views are deleterious to the interest of political bigot(s), the governor is entitled to his opinion as a stakeholder and also as the man on the saddle in the state. 

The power rotation principle so to speak in Delta State is an accidental design of the PDP political family and not binding on other political parties like APC and this is the limitation of the PDP power structure, notwithstanding that they are the dominant party in the state. The fact that APC is a formidable threat and hot on the trail of PDP, should be discomfiting enough for them to put on their thinking caps for a round table discourse.

This is where I think the governor should take the driver‘s seat to steer the affairs of the state by calling a stakeholders’ dialogue for a  jaw jaw. Such an event would be an avenue to discuss  the much talked about agreement or understanding as it were for the progress of the state and peaceful co-existence. 

Put differently, the governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, should also realise that he is a beneficiary of the zoning arrangement. This point is without bias to the events and the horse-trading at the PDP primaries where Okowa emerged as a candidate. The hurly-burly of the PDP primary of 2015 notwithstanding, Okowa was duly elected by the three senatorial districts and now he is governor having emerged through the slot of Delta North.

Why the foray into sentiments of ethnic higgledy-piggledy? Going forward, his recent utterances have become a template or a barometer, commentators are using to gauge the mode of political players and the thinking of the power vampires and extremists, especially those within the corridors of power. 

Yes, the time has come for the governor to call a conference as an elixir to calm frayed nerves, as a way of addressing mutual distrust, suspicion, anger, bitterness and ethnic disunity before the people start tearing each other apart. The governor cannot afford to leave behind a broken state with all its inherent gravitas for the sake of posterity.

*Frank Egboro, President, Down 2 Earth Network, writes from Warri

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