With less than a week before the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary in Delta State, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations, CSO, has charged leaders and stakeholders in Warri Federal Constituency on the need to sustain the current peace, harmony, good neighbourliness and unity among the two ethnic nationalities of Itsekiris and Ijaws.

The coalition, under the auspices of the Civil Society Network for Citizens Engagement, Credible Elections and Good Governance (CSNCE2GG), led by its National Chairman, Activist Rexq

Anighoro, gave this charge in Asaba as part of its interim report from its ongoing assessment tour of the 25 Local Government Areas in the State in preparation for the forthcoming party primaries and general election in 2023.

Anighoro disclosed that the group decided to embark on the assessment tour of the various council areas of the state as part of its duties to evaluate the readiness of Deltans at the grass roots in terms of peace, unity and inter-ethnic cooperation towards ensuring a successful electoral process, adding that its report is made available to government and security agencies as a guide as the election draws near.

Anighoro said that in the course of the group’s tour of Warri Federal Constituency, it observed that political activities and participation in the current process that will give birth to a new democratic administration revolves around the two ethnic nationalities of Itsekiris and Ijaws.

According to him, the group observed that there has been an unprecedented peace and harmony, understanding, unity and love in the past one year when, for the first time, the Ijaws were allowed to actively participate in the political representation process since an Ijaw man emerged the Executive Chairman of Warri North Local Government Council.

The coalition also stated in their report that infrastructural and human capital development as promoted by the current Council chairman, Hon. Smart Yomi Asekutu, were equally unprecedented, adding that, indeed, it attracted the attention of the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs which gave a national award to the Council chairman as the Best Performed Local Government Council Chairman in Delta State.

The coalition, Anighoro added, has observed that the current sustaining peace and harmony was due to the balance created by the emergence of an Ijaw as the Local Government Chairman of the Council while other political offices were held by the Itsekiris.

According to him, it was observed that apart from the Council chairman, all other political offices, except the Senate, in the area are currently being occupied and or being vied for by the Itsekiri, including the House of Assembly and the House of Representatives.

The group also noted that while the Senate seat for Delta South is currently being hotly contested by the Itsekiris without any interference from the Ijaws, the House of Representatives seat for the Warri Federal Constituency is also being hotly chased by an Itsekiri who had done a first term in that capacity while the House of Assembly which has been held by the Itsekiris over the years is also being chased by the Itsekiris without interference from the Ijaws ethnic brothers.

The coalition observed that the tenure of the current Warri North Local Government Council chairman, Hon. Smart Yomi Asekutu, which is the only political position presently being held by the Ijaw, is due to terminate in the first quarter of 2024, adding that as at then, the Ijaws would have been completely denied of all political offices and political participation.

The coalition under the auspices of the Civil Society Network for Citizens Engagement, Credible Elections and Good Governance in its interim report therefore advised stakeholders and power brokers in the Warri Federal Constituency, leaders of the two ethnic nationalities, including the governor and security agencies to seriously consider the group’s observation so that smooth political transition could be assured for the purpose of a successful election by ceding the House of Representatives seat of Warri Federal Constituency to the Ijaws.

In a related development, the incumbent chairman of the Warri North Local Government Council, Hon. Smart Yomi Asekutu whose tenure as Council chairman will end early 2024, has indicated interest in vying for the position of the member to represent the people of Warri Federal Constituency in 2023.

Asekutu who, a coalition of youth organizations from the Niger Delta region has been persuading, to run for the House of Representatives seat, has been screened and cleared by the PDP screening committee, and currently awaiting the party primary coming up on the May 23, 2022.

It would be recalled that a coalition of youths’ non-political organization made up of Ijaw and Itsekiri youths, the Niger Delta Progressive Youth Leadership Foundation, NDPYLF purchased the PDP Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for House of Representatives was and presented it to the Council chairman free of charge.

The Council chairman who has been carrying out wide consultations among leaders of Ijaws and Itsekiris, has also reached out to a good number of delegates for the purpose of the party primary coming up on May 23.

Asekutu, it would also be recalled, marked his first year in office as the first Executive chairman of Warri North Local Government Council, with unprecedented achievement in terms of peace and infrastructural development across the Council Area.

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