By Olorogun Olori Magege
Delta State has since 1999 ran on the wheel of equity, fairness and the stability, peace and cohesion occasioned by the presence of justice. This is why Delta State stands tall to be counted among the three most stable states in Nigeria today. The reality of the peace and stability that hold sway in Delta State is not by accident. It is the product of a deliberate decision and choice orchestrated by the leaders and which the people embraced wholesale for the good of all.
This experience is what has given birth to and sustained the rotational governorship that has made the State a model in equity and fairness to all other states in Nigeria. From 1999 till date, the governorship has gone round three different senatorial districts namely; Delta Central, Delta North and Delta South. It is now going back to Delta Central and it will do a clockwise movement to align with order and cohesion. As it does the round again, it becomes beholding to leaders and people of each senatorial district to also ensure equity and fairness that will take into consideration the diversity of each of the senatorial districts which in size and population can actually constitute different states.
The reality which some selfish political elements will not want to admit is that the three senatorial districts are not as homogenous as they want to make people to believe. There are factors which point to some degree of divergence. Such factors include linguistic or language factor, different traditions of origin, political delineation in terms of federal constituencies and so on. Our focus in this intervention is the Delta Central senatorial district of Delta State whose turn it is to produce the next governor of the State based on the rotational arrangement. Delta Central is made up of the Urhobo nation that is constituted by twenty-four kingdoms many of which have their unique traditions of origin. There are also linguistic and dialectal variations in the language they speak. Another important consideration which the Delta Central people have come to identify with has to do with the delineation into federal constituencies which are three namely; Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency, Ethiope Federal Constituency and Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal Constituency. Those who have been following the historical evolution of Delta State from the era of the Midwest Region through to Bendel State to this point will be familiar with the political slant regarding what constituencies have produced governors and which one has not. Such a realization will guide us in making the right choice in order to ensure that there is intra-senatorial district equity in Delta Central.
A look at the narrative so far shows that Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency has so far produced two governors in Chief Samuel Jereton Mariere, first Governor of the old Midwest Region and Chief Felix Ibru, first Governor of Delta State. The Ethiope Federal Constituency has produced the Governor of Delta State in Chief James Onanefe Ibori. It is therefore apparent that only one out of the three federal constituencies in Delta Central is left out in producing a governor for Delta State. The constituency left out is the Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie Federal Constituency also known as OSU. It is therefore understandable for all Deltans to work towards ensuring that the Okpe/Uvwie/Sapele (OSU) Federal Constituency produces the next governor. To make things fall in place, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during its governorship primary election ensured that equity and fairness prevail by massively voting for the emergence of an OSU constituent in Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori the present Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly as the party’s governorship candidate. The PDP has always demonstrate its commitment to equity and fairness and Deltans have always voted for that commitment. This is also what Deltans have resolved to do in 2023.
Ensuring the emergence of an OSU constituent as governor of Delta State has many good effects for the unity and cohesion of Delta Central and to be particular the Urhobo people. There is before this moment a strong feeling of marginalization among the Okpe people who feel that they have not been allowed into the mainstream of Urhobo affairs and politics. It was this same feeling that made the Isoko to break away from the Urhobo many decades ago. Thankfully, for the Urhobo people they came to the realization of the many advantages that will accrue to fully integrating the Okpe into the mainstream of its affairs. The umbrella socio-cultural organization of the Urhobo people, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) realized the necessity of such an integration when it ensured the emergence of an Okpe man in General Patrick Aziza to emerge as its the president-general many years after the union was founded. The emergence of Genral Aziza as UPU president-general healed wounds and allayed the fears of Okpe marginalization.
On the political scene, the Okpes have so far produced Senators as the highest elected office holders. Senators David Dafinone, William Eradajaye and Adegor Eferakeya were the senators from the Okpe axis. They have not produced a governor in the last fifty-nine years beginning from 1963. Now that the PDP has deemed it fit and proper to do what is right morally and politically, all the people of Delta State should queue behind the candidacy of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori as the next governor of Delta State. This act will seal the bond between Okpe and the rest of Urhobo as it will signal full integration and healing.
Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori remains Delta State’s most populist oriented governorship candidate having come from among the people who have come to see him as one of theirn own. He is well educated up to postgraduate level with exposure to best global practices in political leadership and management in Ivy League universities around the world. He has also unveiled a manifesto brilliantly anchored on an agenda codenamed MORE AGENDA which seeks to advance the fortunes of Delta State and her people. There is no doubt that all is set for the enthronement of full equity and fairness in Delta State come 2023
Olorogun Olori Magege writes from Agbarho in Ughelli North, Delta State.