By Izon Pereazuwa
Today is a bright day in my life and it is bright for a reason. Frankly speaking, today is the brightest day in my life because it is the day I have chosen to talk to His Excellency, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, the Deputy Governor of Delta State, in the public domain for the benefit of my readers. I have not come to sing praises of Otuaro but to tell him and the public some bald truths. Whatever my observations and bald truths told about Otuaro produce, I am ready for the consequences because I am wholly driven by my patriotic zeal to choose this public communication. After all, are we not in a democratic dispensation in which we are free to unburden our minds on whatever issues that bother us and beat our imagination?
It appears His Excellency Otuaro is afraid to speak his mind and follow his ideological convictions. Ijaw people are known to be fearless in speaking their minds on any issue. Otuaro appears to be bothered by something but apparently afraid to speak. That he seems bothered and not talking is what worries me. Why won’t a whole deputy governor of Delta State speak when the time is come? Are some unseen barricades placed around him as a deputy governor? Or could it be his individual trait as a fearful man when it is time to talk and show the political path that appeals to him philosophically and ideologically?
I have carefully watched and observed the activities of Otuaro for some time. From his memorable days as a Special Assistant to Governor James Ibori on Community Affairs, his commissionership period in DESOPADEC, as Chairman of Gbaramatu Relief and Rehabilitation committee and as deputy governor in Delta State, he is not used to talking or speaking but buries his non-speaking trait in devoted execution of any task assigned to him. To devotedly execute a task without talking here and there is commendable, but the matter of today is far beyond that. No excuse given can justify the fact that Otuaro is not speaking his mind at this time when thousands of people are merely waiting for his words.
The Ijaws in Delta gathered at BB Hotels and Suites on May 22, 2021 and made a public declaration that it was justifiably the turn of an Ijaw man to become the governor of Delta State in 2023. Before this gathering, King Alfred Izonebi had long musically campaigned for Ijaw governorship in 2023. In the midst of all these it was rumoured that Otuaro was interested in the 2023 Delta governorship but up until now, these rumours are still waiting for confirmation. Sometimes, one is tempted to hold the unhealthy position that Otuaro’s governorship ambition is a mere rumour created by his detractors to cause bad blood and distraction in Delta State.
Providence seems to have coincidentally come to the aid of Otuaro in benevolent language of huge advantage. As one would be tempted to providentially claim this as a coincidental benediction, in an article authored in the Vanguard newspaper by Ekanpou Enewaridideke the iconic village boy proud of his village roots entitled: ‘That Jonathan in the Delta Race’, it was said that the Delta State 2023 governorship must not be thrown open to all the Ijaws but rather it should be kept for that Ijaw man who personifies humility and advocates peace in every breath coupled with the embodiment of the compositions of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
I have known Otuaro over the years as a peace advocate, a humble, caring, philanthropic, unselfish, God-fearing and firm man who is not unhealthily ambitious in life, only motivated by a philosophy to touch the lives of people positively. Ekanpou’s characterisation of an Ijaw man who can rule Delta State in 2023 suits the qualities of His Excellency, Otuaro, because he(Otuaro) is all that Enewaridideke unintentionally draws attention to in his article. Has no one ever awakened Otuaro to all these pointers before now?
I am indescribably happy to identify with the fact that King Alfred Izonebi, the Delta Ijaws and Ekanpou have spoken on the 2023 Delta State governorship matter. With the different positions of these personalities on the Delta State governorship issue, His Excellency Otuaro should be in a hurry to declare his interest in the 2023 Delta governorship if actually he is prepared to become the governor of Delta State. That Otuaro is educationally sound, visionary, honest, humane, altruistic, accessible, humble, principled, unselfish and ideologically focused stand him in good stead. Otuaro has no excuse to be silent at this time of intensified political rumour-mongering because I do not see his ongoing silence as a strategic political wisdom.
Otuaro’s silence is not strategic but rather it is meaningless and annoying. His silence is fuelled by fear. Whatever fear Otuaro appears to have developed, the recent Ijaw position echoed by Chief Broderick Bozimo during a gathering of Delta Ijaws in Warri that 2023 had been ordained and destined by God for the Delta Ijaws to have Ijaw as governor according to the laid-down democratic norms should strike him as a stimulant. The collective position of the Delta Ijaws now is to aggregate all their resources towards the production of Ijaw governor in Delta State in 2023.This collective Ijaw position is enough to motivate and fire Otuaro into action without fear because the Ijaw collective position can stifle any emerging political fear.This only shows the baselessness of Otuaro’s fear and silence.
By my own thinking, where Otuaro’s seeming fear is not allayed by the collective position of the Ijaws publicly communicated to the world by Chief Broderick Bozimo, he(Otuaro) should kill his seeming fears and derive confidence and inspiration from the reinforced categorical position of the president of Ijaw National Congress in Warri on May 22, 2021. Prof.Benjamin Okaba, the President of Ijaw National Congress, declared that to have an Ijaw governor in Delta State in 2023 was a key project of INC.
In the pursuit of this INC-backed Delta State Governorship project, no form of betrayal would be entertained from any Ijaw man. Prof. Okaba was very clear in his presentation that traitors in the Ijaw Governorship Project would never never be tolerated and accommodated. The fact that punitive action awaits any traitor in the Ijaw project as emphasised by Prof. Okaba is enough to stifle any emerging political fears, particularly Otuaro’s fear and silence. Has His Excellency Otuaro heard this loud position of the INC?
Even with the loud voices of Chief Broderick Bozimo and Prof. Benjamin Okaba collectively supported by the entire Delta Ijaws, if Otuaro is still afraid to present himself as a governorship candidate, he should have King Alfred Izonebi teach him in his ‘DELTA IJAW’ song. To King Izonebi, the Ijaws are beyond the killer blows and arrows of the gods and negative forces residing in any part of the world. Otuaro is also covered by this invincibility and immunity that is naturally associated with every Ijaw man. Let Otuaro, therefore, listen to King Izonebi’s song, ‘Delta Ijaw’, and have his purposeless fears allayed.
Dear Otuaro, is there any other particular thing you are afraid of in Delta State, even with the above clearifications? Are you not an Ijaw man? My conviction is that you have not been able to publicly declare your governorship ambition because you are scared of something I am yet to figure out. While you are busy dillydallying and exhibiting fear by refusing to declare interest, note that the Delta Ijaws will not forgive you if the tide passes by without you contesting the governorship election in 2023 because you, Otuaro, are the matchless equivalent of Goodluck Jonathan in politics and political ambition.
Delta State needs a governor in 2023 who has no enemies to fight and, dear Otuaro, you are the perfect example of that man in thought, orientation, exposure, philosophy and character! Dear Otuaro, you must not let Ijaw people down by your silence because I don’t see your silence as a strategic silence borne out of political wisdom and calculation.
It is time to bury His Excellency, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro’s silence with a noisy public declaration of his rumoured governorship ambition. Wake up, dear Barrister Otuaro because all discerning Deltans are eagerly waiting for you Otuaro of Delta State and beyond!