Although, the year 2023 is about three and half or four years from now, the bitter truth is that politics for the year have started. It is a fact that in Africa countries, the end of one election is the beginning of the next election if you must not be left behind. As soon as the 2019 elections ended and with Governor Okowa’s second term victory, pundits went to work show-casing which senatorial zone should produce the next governor of Delta State under the Peoples Democratic Party. Even at the federal level, it took the governor of Kaduna State time to convince his northern brothers and sisters that under the All Progressive Congress (APC) headed by Muhammadu Buhari, the presidency will return to South in 2023 since Buhari will be completing his eight years by then according to him.
In Delta State under the ruling party, Chief James Ibori Onanefe had to voice out his position when he stated that with the gentleman’s agreement of the party, the governor’s seat belongs to Delta Central senatorial zone in 2023.
Even though the governor has stated that 2023 is still far away, journalists and freelance writers do not think so. Most of those eyeing the seat either openly or secretly do not also think so.
In several ceremonies before 2019 Christmas till now, the discussion centers on who and which zone will present the governor. It is a fact that several groups have emerged on the scene all advancing reasons why a certain zone should be in charge of the seat. One of such body is the “Okpe Governorship Mandate 2023.” According to the founder and administrator of the group, Joseph Esivwenughwu, a Chartered Accountant, Delta Central is made up of three federal constituencies, namely, Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie; Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu and Ethiope West/Ethiope East respectively. It is a fact that the north and southern protectorate were amalgamated in 1914 to become Nigeria of today grouping the country into 3 regions namely, East, North and West. From 1963-1967, the country went for four regions of East, North, West and Midwest. Under a military rule of 1967-1976, the country was again moved to twelve states, increasing to 19 between 1976-1987 under a military regime. Under another military rule, the country was divided into 21 states and Abuja as Federal Capital Territory between 1987-1991. It became 30 states between 1991-1996 and 36 states since then. All were created by the military.
Before this democracy started in 1999, constituencies were created by the electoral commission for the purpose of effective representation. This was what gave rise to the Delta Central Senatorial zone, federal constituencies as listed earlier and state assemblies. This also gave rise to chairmanship positions including councilors in the Local Government Areas of each state of the federation. Having experimented with the first civilian regime which did not stand the text of the time before the military took over the government, leading to an avoidable war, the country went for another democratic regime in 1978 where the former military Head of State in person of Olusegun Obasanjo handed power to Late Alhaji Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria while the then Bendel State went to the Unity Party of Nigeria under the leadership of Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Late Professor Ambrose Ali of blessed memory became the governor of Bendel Sate. He later picked Chief Demas Akpore of blessed memory from Ughelli axis as his deputy governor.
With the creation of Delta State and under the Social Democratic Party of 1993, Olorogun (Senator) Felix Ibru was elected the first civilian governor of the new state and like Demas Akpore, is from Ughelli axis. Between 1999 till date, it is an understatement to say that Ughelli have seen it all more than the other two federal constituencies of Ethiope East/Ethiope West and Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie federal constituencies. Within this period, former Mrs. Grace Ekpihwre was appointed Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Kenneth Gbagi was appointed Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Education, Senator Aghwariavwodo was appointed Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Emerhor was appointed the Chairman, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital Board while Engineer Adogbe was also appointed Executive Director Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission. Mr. Edevbie was appointed former Principal Secretary to the late president Yar’dua and all these mentioned here are from the Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu federal constituencies. There are so numerous state positions held by this axis to the detriments of other areas which is not good enough.
In 1999, Chief James Ibori Onanefe from Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state became the governor and went on to rule the state for eight years. Being from the Ethiope axis, he did not disappoint in terms of performance. Most of his people were appointed into offices in the federal level and the state. Today, several Ibori projects still adorn every nook and cranny of the state. Since the almagamation of Nigeria in 1914, it is quite clear to the deaf and dumb that Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie is now the only federal constituency that has not tasted the governorship seat of the state which belongs to all. For the sake of equity, fairness and justice, this constituency should be allowed to produce the governor in 2023. Presently, the Ughelli axis has the senator in person of Omo Agege, while Uvwie has the Minister of State (Labour) in person of Chief Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. With all these the attention should now shift to Okpe and Sapele Local Government to produce the governor in 2023.
Today, there are many sons and daughters of Okpe Kingdom that can govern Delta State to the admiration of all. Today, the only Chartered Accountant that has gone into the Guinness book of records, the Dafinone is from Okpe Kingdom, the only President of Nigeria Bar Association, Chief T. J. Okpoko, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria is from Okpe kingdom. I can go on and on without looking back on how Okpe people have been fairing in any endeavour they find themselves. Some of the names include but not limited to any political party- Chief Hon. Ejaife Odebala is one Okpe man, a foremost legislator, Lawyer, commissioner, Chairman of Sapele Local Government Area and presently chairing one of the boards of government agencies. He is a business mogul and highly intelligent, honest and reliable. Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, the Speaker of the delta state House of Assembly is another man that the cap fits. A grass root mobilizer like Odebala, the speaker ability to do things right puts him at the center stage and his management of the reservoir of the assembly is a testimony to this.
Chief Aguoye is another name. Presently, he is the Commissioner for Works championing the goals of his master, Governor Okowa. As a former Chairman of Okpe Local Government Area, his humility and intelligence is not in doubt. Chief Charles Ufuoma Obule, a politician and industrialist per excellence cannot be ruled out from the saddle. A Lawyer by profession, a former senatorial aspirant, his knowledge of the oil and gas industry will surely be a plus if he gets the chance. Chief Hon. Efe Afe of the House of Representative is another personality that the cap fits. Being a legislator of Delta State House of Assembly for eight years and now occupying several Chairmanship positions of committees in Abuja, his intelligence and brilliance is not in doubt. On the All Progressive Congress side, names like Chief Ede Dafinone, Air Vice Marshall Frank Ajobena and several others are capable to govern the state. I want to sincerely appeal to my brothers and sisters in Ughelli and Ethiope axis of Delta Central senatorial district to allow an Okpe Man or Woman be the governor of the state in 2023 so that the most cherished unity of Delta Central which we are all clamoring for can be achieved.
Written by Joseph Esivwenughwu
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