By Olorogun Arthur Akpowowo, Esq. JP
National Publicity Secretary, DC – 23
The reason for this rejoinder is not just to set the records straight, but to educate and edify as many Deltans as possible and even beyond. We refrain from joining issues with the author and his sponsors. This is not the time to haul insults. It is the time to initiate conversations and reach sustainable understandings. The author who is hiding under the name Wilson Ruvwoghor sets out to discredit the Governor and poison the waters of harmony that has been the mainstay of Delta State politics. It is not in doubt that Delta State remains one of Nigeria’s three most politically stable states. This stability which derives from ethnic harmony, sense of equity, fairness and justice to all is not about to be eroded.
We are committed to strengthening those factors that make us great and unique as a State. Besides derogating the person of the Governor, the author also thought he could fan the embers of discord between the Ijaw and the Urhobo. This kind of tendency is the hallmark of those with little or no knowledge of what politics is all about. Therefore, they jump into frays, real and imagined, and shout themselves hoarse.
The untenable fulcrum of Ruvwoghor’s diatribe is a web of confusion woven around Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Urhobo and Ijaw political interest and the DC-23. The irony of his long and unwieldy story is that he said so much and ended up in saying nothing. The fellow made so much ado about the Governor’s recent statement on rotation and his position that only God knew who his successor will be. Those statements are statesman-like. Yes, Governor Okowa is not just a statesman, but the shepherd or father of all as far as Delta State is concerned. One therefore does not expect him to categorically say “oh yes, we sat down to configure a zoning arrangement that should now be in favour of so and so”. Such a statement is politically unwise as it would have caused ripples across the state.
The author refused to emphasize the key point of the interview where Governor Okowa said that the leaders of the State will meet to discuss and agree on where the next Governor will come from bearing in mind: “equity, justice and fair play.” Governor Okowa has enthroned peace in the past six years of his administration and will not jeopardize that legacy at this moment. He was humble enough to put the issue of his successor into the hands of God. Only God gives power. That is why human calculation especially in politics does not always add up to our expectation. Ruvwoghor labored so hard to impugn Governor Okowa’s political credibility by saying he exhibited “malice against” the Urhobo and leaning towards Ijaw governorship interest. No! Our politically savvy Governor never mentioned any ethnic nationality when he spoke.
He committed it into the hands of God as it should be. Of course, the Urhobo insist that it is their turn to govern Delta State. The Ijaw are also clamouring for the same. No sensitive governor would openly take sides in such a scenario. But all should be rest assured that Governor Okowa has nothing against the Urhobo politically and otherwise.
Governor Okowa’s dissolution of the State Executive Council is his prerogative. It is a midterm strategy to oil the machinery of government. At his quarterly media parley with journalists in Asaba, on May 19, 2021. He reiterated that “yesterday’s dissolution of the State EXCO was aimed at checking the distractions that had come about due to the INDIVIDUAL AMBITIONS of some members of my former cabinet.”
All those relieved of their appointments are not of Urhobo stock. In any case, DC – 23 was birthed on 22nd of May, 2021. It is also on record that other lobby or pressure groups exist in the State within the PDP. Even if the Governor had asked those with political ambition to exit his cabinet it would still be in order. It is the practice all over the world.
Therefore, Ruvwoghor’s undue attack on Governor Okowa is uncalled for. His submission that Governor Okowa has a pact with the Ijaw is most unfounded. That is folktale. The Ijaw of Rivers State are also clamouring to be Governor in that State. Will Ruvwoghor also say that Governor Okowa is behind that aspiration?
The writer strove to fan the embers of discord between the Urhobo and the Ijaw. Both ethnic nationalities have had a long history of harmonious relationship in marriage and politics. Ruvwoghor cannot distort that. The point should also be made that both nationalities have a right to aspire to the governorship of Delta State. A process will unfold in the long run that will resolve the issue of who becomes the Governor. It has always been so. In the Delta State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries of the transition years, 2006 and 2014, aspirants from different ethnic stocks contested. In the end, the political class always had a way of resolving it in favour of rotation as enshrined in the PDP constitution. It shall be so come 2022/2023.
The writer’s attack on DC-23 with reference to the Urhobo Political Forum (UPF) is also misplaced. The formal inauguration of DC-23 and the mammoth crowd that attended the event was a testimony to the political credibility of the group. As canvassed by those who attended the event, the UPF achieved two remarkable feats in 2006/2007. It rallied the Urhobo politically in a way that had never been done before. The second achievement was its patriotic acceptance of rotational governorship when it mattered. That single factor remains Delta’s stabilizing force. The point should be made that in 2006/2007 the UPF eventually succumbed to the rotation principle and allowed the governorship to go to Delta South. In the same vein, the DC-23 is holding on to the same rotation principle to say that it is the turn of the Urhobo to produce the Governor of Delta State in 2023. This is the bounden duty of DC-23. We shall initiate conversations, lobby, appeals and hold hands with Delta South and Delta North and together produce a Delta State Governor of Urhobo extraction.
Governor Okowa is not against Urhobo interest and he has nothing against DC-23. He remains the “Ochuko”. In the pursuit of the Urhobo governorship project, we shall consolidate the political bridges already built. We shall ensure that all Deltans experience a sense of belonging. Ours shall be a pan-Delta drive that will sustain the principle of rotation to entrench equity, justice and fairness. Let Wilson Ruvwoghor who claimed to be a “communication expert” that a simple google check could not locate take note and spread this message. Urhobo shall produce the Governor of Delta State come 2023.