By Obas Esiedesa
The Progressive Youth Leadership Foundation of Niger Delta, PYLFND, has bought and presented the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Executive Chairman of Warri North Local Government Council of Delta State, Hon. Smart Yomi Asekutu, urging him to contest for the House of Representatives position for Warri Federal Constituency.
The National President of the regional youth group, Chief Diplomat Adam Ogomugo Ebimabowei Marbo who is paternally Ijaw and maternally Itsekiri, while speaking to newsmen on behalf of the members in Sapele recently, urged the Warri North Local Government Council boss, to come out and heed the call of the grassroots and leaders in the entire Warri Federal Constituency.
Chief Ebimabowei Marbo added that the group was convinced of the leadership capacity and capability of the chairman, hence they tasked themselves to purchase the forms for him to contest.
He recalled the recent national award presented to Asekutu by the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs as the Best Performed Local Government chairman in Delta State, noting that the youth body and indeed, the people of the Warri Federal Constituency, were not only satisfied with the achievements of the Chairman in Warri North, adding that they would not hesitate to project him to national level where he would render purposeful and effective representation for the people.
He said: “We have been looking at the local politics situations in different parts of the region. Our focus is to ensure there is political balance. Our organization is not affiliated to any political party. We are non-partisan. We don’t believe in working for political party. We believe in candidates that are credible, transparent and viable who represent the interest of the masses.
“From the inception of the Local Government Area in August 27, 1991, we can see that it has always been an Itsekiri who had been the chairman of the Council while the Ijaws maintained the position of Vice chairman. But the Ijaws and Itsekiris are brothers; they inter-marry. For instance, I’m an Ijaw paternally and Itsekiri maternally. So, for us, it is our responsibility to see that the Ijaws and Itsekiri live together as one united people. Our organization seeks to ensure that there is a political balance between the Ijaws and Itsekiris as it is a panacea for peaceful co-existence and unity.
“Recently, we took a critical look at the recent development at Warri North Local Government Council Area. If you could recall, before the election 2021 Local Government election, many people were not even happy with the current Local Government Council chairman, Hon. Smart Asekutu. But because of his antecedents towards the promotion of peace, his relationship with the governor and some key leaders who expressed confidence in him, the people accepted him. Today. we find that the man that they didn’t want before has been doing excellently well in the Local Government, bringing happiness and carrying everybody along, both the Ijaws and Itsekiris.
“Hon. Smart Asekutu, we have never known him before nor met him. But that does not matter. What matters is whether the person is doing well or not. Does he adequately represent the interest of the people who elected him? Our investigations and our analysis show that he is doing excellently well. This is because if he is not doing well you would have seen either the Itsekiri or the Ijaws are complaining. But the two ethnic nationalities are united and unanimous in affirming that the Local Government chairman, Hon. Smart Asekutu and the Vice chairman are doing very well in the promotion of unity between the Ijaws and the Itsekiris in the Local Government Council Area.
“And with this in mind, we concluded that if Hon. Asekutu could perform so creditably well at the Local Government Council level, as an organization that stands for transparency and accountability, we have to look for a way to support this man, Asekutu to move higher.
“In our organization we took a decision and we went to the PDP National Secretariat, in Wadata Plaza in Wuse Zone 4, and we enquired how much it would cost us to buy the Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for the House of Representatives, and they told us. We rallied round and raised the money and purchased the forms for Hon. Asekutu to contest for the seat for Warri Federal Constituency.
“Our focus is that if an Itsekiri is going for the Senate in Delta South Senatorial District, we think it is just fair and equitable for an Ijaw man to go for the House of Representatives for the Warri Federal Constituency. This is to ensure that the two ethnic nationalities can be working in harmony in the National Assembly. We are saying that there should be a political balance between the two ethnic nationalities.
“Another point we realized and noted for rooting for Asekutu for House of Representatives is that recently he was honoured by a Federal Ministry, the Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, with the award of the Best Performed Local Government chairman in Delta State during the period under review. To be qualified for that coveted award, it means he has done excellently well. It is his antecedents that spoke for him.
“We also realized, as an organization, that Hon. Smart Asekutu is a detribalized chairman. He treats both the Ijaw and Itsekiri alike. His superlative achievement was also recognized by the Warri Monarch, HRM Atuwatse III, Olu of Warri when he visited Koko recently. And we say, as an organization, that such detribalized leader should go and represent us at the House of Representatives.
“As an organization, we also noted that, unlike other forms of awards, the award given to Asekutu by the Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, was in view of his antecedents and his performance. We also realized this and that was why our organization voluntarily decided to purchase the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for him with our own money for him to contest for the House of Representatives seat for Warri Federal Constituency.
“He was surprised when we went to Koko, headquarters of Warri North Local Government Area, to present the forms to him.
“He said he least expected it and that he had not given it a thought before. He however said he cannot give us an answer until he hears from the Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and some of his leaders from across the Federal Constituency.
“And we as an organization is pleading with the Governor that we need a detribalized person like Asekutu, not because he is an Ijaw but because he represents both Ijaw and Itsekiri and he carries everybody along.”
Also speaking on the issue, the Public Relations Officer of PYLFND, Delta State chapter, Comrade Okotie Omasa Mawe, an Itsekiri from Jakpa in Warri North Local Government Area, said that the group decided to purchase the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the Council chairman, following his recent national recognition accorded him by the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, as the Best Performing Local Government Chairman in Delta State.
According to him, the group also undertook to persuade him to indicate interest in the House of Representatives race following his numerous achievements in the Local Government Council Area speak volume, adding that although many people were doubtful of his capability as the first Council chairman from Ijaw extraction, he proved the doubtful Thomases wrong by exceeding everybody’s expectations.
Reacting to the gesture, Hon. Asekutu thanked the organization, pointing out that it was indeed a confirmation of the reason why the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs’ recognized and gave an award.
Asekutu also noted that he got a commendation from the Warri Monarch, HRM Atuwatse III, Olu of Warri just last month for his performances at the Council.
“I’m very pleased with this organization that has gone ahead to purchase the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for me to contest for the Federal House of Representatives. In life, what I have come to realize about God is the way He perfects His plans, I would not want my desire in life to disrupt what is going well for the people. I contested for the chairmanship of Warri North in 2007. I know how much resources I spent. At the end of the day, I know how many leaders that supported me at that time. But I did not get that position.
“In 2019, I contested for the House of Representatives. I spent resources but I did not get it. In 2021, I was called up when people were already consulting me for the chairmanship of Warri North, to contest the chairmanship. I did not spend much resources compared to what I spent in 2007.
“Today, I’m the chairman of Warri North Local Government Council. I have come to see that there is time and season under the heaven and on the earth for everything when we trust in God. It can only be from God for people to organize themselves and go and get these forms. In becoming the chairman of Warri North, I have come to appreciate certain persons that I will always listen to and I will always compare notes with in doing anything politically. And one of such persons is the governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa and a host of others. I met the governor two days ago and I know what he discussed with me.
“I would not disobey leaders and I would not want my personal interest in politics to take the place of peace in the Warri area.
“I just want to plead with my brothers and my friends to understand with me that I’m not alone on this. I’m looking up to certain people and I’m not ready to disappoint such people and not to disappoint the governor. I have a lot of leaders in my domain, Warri North. They have done so well. And again I’m in some kind of environment where if I look at the right or left too much they say I’m biased. That is why I have to look straight and in looking straight I want to see that I’m doing what is right because when I’m doing what is right, I would not want to defend any action against that which is good”.
He added: “To contest for the House of Representatives for Warri Federal Constituency has been my desire. I have done it before. And having the opportunity I would still do it again. But the prevailing peace in Warri North Local Government Area is more important to me. And so, anything I would want to do, I should be mindful of the period we are now. We can only get things right when we are working with people who are interested in us. We cannot do it alone. The whole thing is in God’s hand”.
By Obas Esiedesa