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By James Akpo

AS Nigeria inches closer to the 2023 general elections, what has dominated discourse among political parties and their followers is which region or zone gets which office. This is not surprising in a country with many ethnic nationalities that find themselves in one geo-political space and grapple with how to manage their diversity and maximise their political participation such that no one feels short-changed in the juicy offerings that political offices bring.

Delta South Senatorial District is no exception in its jostling for the Senatorial slot among its three ethnic nationalities, with the Ijaw ethnic nationality unarguably having dominated it since 2003 when Senator James Manager took over from Sen. Stella Omu.

One man that stands out in the scheming for the coveted slot of representing Delta South Senatorial District of Delta State is Hon. Michael Diden, also popularly known as Ejele, an Itsekiri, is campaigning on the principle of rotation of elective slots in a multi-ethnic political space like Delta South Senatorial District as well as robust and all-inclusive representation. He believes that a father’s property should never be enjoyed by only one child at the exclusion of the other children.

Beyond canvassing for the rotational principle to be entrenched in ethnic nationality politics at the sub-state level in multi-ethnic geopolitical spaces like Delta South, Hon. Diden is canvassing his ambition based also on an impressive curriculum vitae because of the sterling services he has rendered to Delta State since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999 in the administration of the state’s first governor, Mr James Ibori.

Diden comes with an outstanding pedigree and experience in public service. Although he comes from a humble beginning, he had a sterling academic background from Delta State University, Abraka where he obtained a Second Class Upper degree in Political Science. He started off from the Ogunwaja unit of the National Union Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in Sapele from where he became the chairman of the Loaders Union.

Thereafter, Diden was elected chairman of Deghele Youths Worldwide, then vice-chairman of Warri Youths, then vice-chairman, DPN Sapele Local Government Area.

As he distinguished himself in the responsibilities given to him, his trajectory continued to spiral northwards which saw him appointed Member, Delta Transport Service and subsequently Chairman, Transition Committee, Warri North LGA. From there, he was elected chairman, of Warri North LGA.

Having grown up among his people and witnessed the rise occasioned the despoliation of the area by the unbridled ruining of the environment that rendered a growing segment of the indigent population jobless he knew what needed to be done to stem the insecurity in the area.

His knowledge of the security situation was informed during his first appointment as Special Assistant to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on security matters. He was later promoted to the post of Special Adviser on security matters.

Diden’s knowledge of his area saw him appointed twice as Commissioner representing Itsekiri ethnic nationality in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC). His rich repertoire in public service includes a term as a lawmaker in the Delta State House of Assembly in 2015 where he also held the strategic appointment of Deputy Chief Whip and chairman House committee on security. In 2019, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa appointed him chairman of the Board of DESOPADEC.

 “These are part of the experiences that have prepared me for the job I seek. It is not just about being an Itsekiri man. My start off point is to build an enduring spirit of cooperation and communality among the three ethnic nationalities of Delta South zone and take them to greater heights,” he said.

Under Diden’s watch as chairman of DESOPADEC, the interventionist agency has recorded numerous achievements. No less a personality would give credit to Hon. Diden than the governor of the state Ifeanyi Okowa who recently attested to the sterling qualities and leadership acumen of Hon. Diden in his birthday message when he turned 57. Okowa commended Diden for his tremendous and outstanding service to Delta state, describing Diden as an outstanding man “that always speaks truth to power.”

Okowa said. “He is a man of the people and a truthful politician loved by many for his open-door policy and humane disposition. As Chairman of DESOPADEC, he has stabilised the Commission to focus on its core mandate.

“DESOPADEC under his leadership has made huge progress in poverty reduction, economic, social and infrastructure development in the oil-bearing communities of the state, and capped it with a recent award from the Independent Newspapers as the Outstanding State Agency of the year.”

These can be seen on national television weekly the agency television programme the DESOPADEC WEEKLY.

·          James Akpo, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Warri, Delta State

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