By Emmanuel Enebeli
The People of Ndokwa East is deliberately yearning for development, as the area which is abode of the wealth of the Nigerian state, with its numerous oil and gas deposit has no better definition to describe it as a modern state, as virtually all it will take to modernity is lacking, despite the source of power supply to the seat of government in Nigeria.
A visit to the area by a first timer will be shocking, as access to many parts, which is made up of the Ndoshimili, Isokos and traces of Ijaw and Urhobo, still use pontoon to cross the numerous rivers that dot the Local Government Area.
Ndokwa East, one of the three Local Government Areas that make up the Ndokwa Nation, from the voices of many from the area, is begging for attention, and thus many past leaders, especially those who were elected to represent the people had refused to use their position in government to attract development to the area.
To access Ndokwa East, is like climbing Mount Everest, but when it comes to politicking, it is always very easy for the player, which at the end of elections, the area becomes inaccessible to the government and politicians, including those from the area.
It took the visit of the traditional ruler of Okpai Kingdom, the home of AGIP Petroleum Development Company, in Delta state, the operators of the highest gas plant in sub-Saharan Africa, an area with government presence to visit the governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa recently for the state government to announce the construction of a bridge across the Ase River, in view to end more than Forty years of the use of Pontoon as a means of transport to Beneku, the home town of the present Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.
The case of Beneku, is one among many, as more than five points in the area can only be accessed by the use of manual services of pontoon, while other areas can only be accessed by the use of wooden canoes.
Ironically, this is an area in Ndokwa and Delta state that had sent many of their sons and daughters to represent them in various areas and departments of government. The worst are those who got to government with promise to better the area through promagnetive development.
But alas, Ndokwa East is a shadow of itself. An area blessed with natural wealth. And area blessed with youths, so energetic, had turned to were those who are sent to represent them had become their tormentors.
With the recent flood, like that of 2012, Ndokwa East has been totally submerged. This is not the fault of the people or their representatives, because its nature. However, if there is proper development, the devastations associated with it would not have been grave. And it sounds funny, that in the recent event, the Deputy Speaker was seen running from the flood with wooden canoe, to many observers, this was a photo trick, as he for many years had refused to see to the construction of the bridge across the River Ase, because few in the area are benefitting from the services and repair of the pontoon.
Now, another election year is at hand, who will bail the people of Ndokwa East from this mess of lack of development. In the race to the State House of Assembly, from the ruling party in the state, which had held the area for the past 19 years, are about five aspirants, including the present representatives, Rt. Hon. Friday Ossai Osanebi.
He had been there for the past two tenure, and he wants to go back, to continue the “Good” representation. He is young. Very energetic, an engineer, with a lot of youth followership. Because of his philanthropic nature, he had been tagged “Empowerment Master”. But to many in Ndokwa whatever, he represents, had not transmitted to a better live for the people, but rather more pains, as there are no visible signs of development.
Many in Ndokwa East question why he could not make case for the bridge to be built across the Ase River for the past twelve years he had been there especially now he is the number four man in the state.
Another aspirant to represent the people of the area, is prince Emeka Osamuta, a young man, who is self made. Little is known of his background in terms of work, but with money which many think he had made through some unexplained source, he feels that he will be the best for the party, PDP to be given the ticket.
Prince Ugochukwu Ogbueyi, a graduate of Engineering from the first Indigenous University in Nigeria, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who had worked and built a business of his own, is also gunning for the seat. He has personal business investment going for him. To some leaders of the area, he is good to go for it.
Then, the young Smile Victor Ijeabah. He had promised smile for the Ndokwa East people. Accessing information about him, just like Ugochukwu ogbueyi and Emeka Asomuta, is difficult, as non was ready to devoid information of their past, their social media pages lack good information of their past, and what they intend to do.
This leaves us with, the trio of Friday Osanebi, Engr. Philip Chukwumah Ugbomah and the only lady among them, Dame Ann Izi.
Dame Izi Ann, a former aspirant in 2014/2015, a young lady with a good past. An enriching bio data, she had been in the corridor of party politics, as she was one time secretary to a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Turkur. A graduate of accounting from University of Benin, a Master Degree holder in Administration, and Maritime Consultant, and from her profile, and an advocate of changing the statues of the Maritime Academy Oron to a University statues. A consultant in the maritime business, initiator, member of the Lion Club International, a manger of her own business. To her “Better days are here for the Ndokwa East People”.
Then, from our findings, another energetic person, unassuming, well educated, with an engineering background in the civil. The Managing Director of CPU Construction Company. He is good at his business. Had done numerous contract businesses that had touched the lives of many from the area. He had directed his energy to see that the average youth from Ndokwa East is engaged positively, with entrepreneurship knowledge for the future. That person is Engr. Philip Chukwumah Ugbomah. To him, the people of Ndokwa East, solutions cannot come except they take their destiny into their hands. To him, they must do the work. That is why he has the slogan “Do the Work”.
Engr. Philip Ugbomah, thinking and thought, is to re-engineer the fortunes of Ndokwa East to be self-sustaining, by tapping into the huge deposit of wealth in the area, by making sure that there will be road access, which will enhance the evacuation of farm produce from the area. Attract investors through good representation, and constant engaging the people of the area, the government, the multinational organisations and Non-governmental organisations in the area.
Now as the delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP go to vote, it’s expected that from the past years of democratic rule in Ndokwa East, they have to remember the past. The roads, the bad health centres, the dilapidating schools, lack of jobs, inaccessible leadership, bad representation, use of canoe and pontoon at this age and time to access a wealthy area, lack of electricity despite supplying huge amount to Aso Rock. They must remember the dead from floods, the erosion ravaged coastland, the king that was consumed by flood in 2012, and the death of the blind from the 2018 flood. They must remember that for their party to retain Ndokwa East, they must do the right thing, as they gather to vote.
They should remember, to look critically at the newbies, who had stake their lives to redeem Ndokwa East. Look at their credentials, not money. Look at their relationship with the grassroots. Look and feel their impact now and the future.
For Friday Ossai Osanebi, Engr. Philip Chukwumah Ugbomah, Dame Ann Izi, Prince Emeka Osamuta, Prince Ugochukwu Ogbueyi and Mr. Smile Ijeabah. Make the best decision.
…Emmanuel Enebeli is the Publisher/Editor, Ndokwa Reporters