Chief Michael Adiotomre,is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and a member of the Delta State Advisory Council.
In this interview with Sunday Vanguard, the Chief Adiotomre, bares his mind on some political matters bothering on the governorship rotation and other salient issues. Excerpts
On the issue of Delta State PDP zoning formula that has raised a lot of dust after Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s recent quarterly briefing, as one of the founding members of the party, what is your take on this?
The controversies surrounding the zoning formula in the state is unnecessary. I feel that the Governor was misquoted or misinterpreted when he said there is no written document on the issue of rotation. One of the governor’s aides, Comrade Norbert Chiazor has in his writeup to correct that impression.
What I think is that the governor was only trying to explain that there was never a written document and some persons who have also spoken on the issue, like Prof. Sam Oyovbaire spoke my mind. There was no written document but there was understanding.
I also want to use this medium to clear this fact that the rotation or zoning principle is an idea of the national body of the party and it all started from the presidency to the state and the local government areas and all these were gentleman arrangement or understanding without any written document. The first president coming from North, West, later to East and South of Nigeria and same applies to state and local government.
The leaders of the party at then, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Tony Anene, Chief Awoniyi and Ahmadu Ali and others resolved on this understanding and the principle of zoning and rotation, hence if a governor comes from a particular senatorial zone, when he or she had completed his or her two terms of eight years, it moves to another senatorial district.
In the case of Delta state on the issue of rotation, that was why a lot of people wanted Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege to take over from Chief James Ibori. They made all efforts that Omo-Agege could take over from Ibori but they couldn’t succeed because Ibori is from Delta Central, so it couldn’t work.
And am aware that the leaders in Abuja gave Ibori the option to either zone the governorship to the Delta South or Delta North. That was how the governorship left Delta Central to Delta South before coming to Delta North where it is presently with Gov. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa rounding up his second term in office. So, you can know see that if not for the rotational or zoning system Omo-Agege would have gone as governor from the same Central.
Let me say some of these people talking about this rotation today may not even be aware of a crucial meeting convened by Chief James Ibori, to his Oghara residence were a few of us, about fourteen leaders attended to decide.
How would you describe Sen. Nwanboshi’s comments to Okowa on the rotational issue and his claim that the rotational formula was his brainchild?
Sen. Nwaboshi was at a time the pioneer state Secretary of the party, and it is expected that when he speaks there should be a high level of respect to the person of the governor, Sen. Nwaboshi didn’t show respect with the manner he addressed the rotational issue and that is what l have always advised against, he is our governor and he must be respected and that was what l expected of Nwaboshi.
It is not expected that Okowa who is a product of zoning should say only God knows who will emerge as governor of the state come 2023 when he knows it is the turn of central, what is your take?
That is a true statement of fact, the governor cannot say Mr. A or B will be the governor, it’s only God that can determine who will be. Even though the spirit of zoning and rotation is being maintained as at today from Delta Central to Delta South and now Delta North, it is coming back to where it started again which is central and certainly, you cannot, only God knows.
What central people had wanted was for Okowa to nail it on the head that it is the turn of Delta Central, what do your take?
He is the governor of the state, you do not expect him to have made such statement in a public briefing and that should not be misconstrued for something that should be causing issues everywhere.
There was a time some of the party leaders not from central had also said after North it is coming to Delta central, is that not enough. The governor has said there must be equity, justice and fairplay among the senatorial districts, what else do you need from the governor.
The spirit and understanding of rotation is the one working in this state. The actors in South, North know it. It is unfortunate that some actors in Delta South recently came out with publication that Delta central has produced governors and they made reference to late Chief Felix Ibru, late Chief Marierie when we are talking about PDP as a party, these people you referring to were not in PDP, so it is uncalled for.
This zoning and rotation is a child of PDP. We are talking of zoning, if it is not limited to PDP, is APC talking about zoning in Delta State? No. Are all the other political parties talking about zoning? The answer is no. So, it is a child of PDP. People should limit their augment to PDP.
May advice to political leaders in Delta State is that they should maintain peace. They should not allow their personal interest to kill the house that PDP had built in Delta State. PDP has used the zooming system effectively in Delta State to promote the party in Delta State and l hope PDP will use it to win the next elections come 2923 and we should not destroy the party.
The only thing I don’t like is the agitation for ethnic rotation. It is not very good for the Nigeria politics to start talking of ethnicity. You cannot build a nation on ethnicity, that the one that central produce belongs to Ughelli, the one of Delta South produce belongs to ltsekiri and the one that Delta North produce belong to Ika, this is not good, it is wrong, in other words, what they are saying is that they are promoting ethnicity that the next governor should come to Ijaw ethnic group.
Why Ijaw ethnic group? Why not Isoko ethnic group, why not Anoicha! By the time you promote ethnicity, you are creating problem to the state and for the country and you cannot based your argument on tribes, it’s not fair, we should discourage that, the Senatorial zoning is the best, if we are to replace it in future, it should be by local government areas and not even ethnicity, but not yet time.
Finally, as we await 2023 general elections, as a stakeholder and a leader in the party, what are your advice to the members of the party?
As an elder, because I belong to the group of elders now, I will advised all politicians to maintain peace, remain calm and don’t provoke quarrel in the state because this state does not belong to PDP alone.
There are other political parties in Delta State. I want my PDP people, like the aide to the Governor, Comrade Norbert Chiazor had said, there should be fairplay, justice and equity in the state to avoid anger because people are trying to provoke anger
Again, people should not be calling our leaders bad names as some people are doing in the state. Also we have to learn how to give respect to those leaders whom have sacrificed for the party because they have sustain the party in the state. Always respect them for their role, mostly the past governors and the incumbent, Chiefs Ibori, Uduaghan and Okowa deserve our respect because these people have sustained the party in this State.