By Joseph Esivwenughwu
Okpe Governorship Mandate 2023 came into existence with the sole aim of advocating for an Okpe indigene to be the governor of Delta State in 2023. We are aware of manipulation of history and information by those who probably do not know history or deliberately selling half truth to the public with a view to deceiving them. The more the falsehood appears in the market place, the more the people become aware that a nation is governed, and results achieved if the activities of the entire populace is seen to be based on truth, fairness and justice.
In a recent article by one Annabel Ogheneganre on the topic, ‘’Who will be the governor of Delta State in 2023’’, there was misinformation in the said publication and why she decided to attempt to rewrite history remains a misery. In the first place, it should be noted that Annabel has the constitutional right like any other Nigerian to air her view without seeking permission from anyone before doing that. It is a fact that the history of Delta politics will not be complete without going into the archive and this takes us to the midwestern region of blessed memory to date. As I have always said, the slogan, ‘born to rule’ is an old fashion and works no more. Historically, the Midwestern REGION WAS CREATED IN 1963 from the then Western Region and for the Capital to be sited in Benin City, the Urhobos (Delta Central) had to produce the governor and in that way, the three federal constituencies of Ughelli/Udu; Ethiope East/West and Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie worked assiduously without fear or favour and Chief Jereton Mariere from Evwreni in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State(Ughelli/Udu Federal Constituency) became the governor from February 1964 to January 1966. By this he made history as the first civilian governor of Midwestern Region.
During the late former President Shagari era, an educationist from Ughelli axis in the person of late Demas Akpore was the deputy governor of Bendel State to late Prof Ambrose Ali of blessed memory. Both were of the Unity Party of Nigeria, a party headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory. During the era of the Social Democratic Party, the late Senator Felix Ibru was the governor of the state having won the election. In all these, the people of Okpe Kingdom worked day and night to see to the emergence of these illustrious sons of Delta central from the Ughelli axis. On the senatorial seat, the late Fred Brume, Felix Ibru, Pius Ewerido, were elected to represent the central and Okpe indigene offered their total support. Also, Chief Aguariavwodo and now the Deputy Senate President in person of Oharisi Ovie Omo-Agege were all supported by the Okpe race. Going memory lane, Chief Mrs. Grace Ekpihwre and Chief Kenneth Gbagi were ministers for Science & Technology and Education (state). Historically, the Ughelli axis have occupied the seat of governor for eight years either individually or collectively. On the senate seat, the Ughelli axis have also monopolized the seat for the past twenty years or more while Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie axis was at the senate for only eight years. In terms of the governorship seat, this zone has not occupied it for a day. What the Abuja based fake writers want us to believe is that Ughelli axis was born to rule, the slogan which has since been in the dust bin of history.
According to Annabel, Okpe cannot win the governorship seat without zoning the senate seat to Ughelli axis again. This is absolutely not true at all. In the last senatorial election, although, it was won by Senator Omo-Agege, history shows that he only defeated Barr. Evelyn Oboro with about two thousand votes. This was possible because of sabotage by some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party from the Ethiope axis as alleged by a writer from that area. The core issue that gave Omo Agege the senate seat was the rancor that trailed the Peoples Democratic Party primaries in Sapele after the defeat of Chief Ighoyota Amori by Hon. Evelyn Oboro the then House of Representative. The leaders of the party in the state did not settle the acrimony that arose from the scenario despite several pleas by this author. I saw the defeat of Oboro coming few weeks to the election when Chief Ighoyota Amori raised the alarm that he was sidelined from all campaign committees. This alarm was enough to awaken the leaders but reverse was the case and the result from the area is the testimony of Omo Agege being in the senate today. The only scenario that may bring this out again is if Chief Amori is vying for the senate because I doubt if Oboro supporters will ever forgive Chief Amori on this. So, to put it squarely, the deputy senate president in person of Omo-Agege can be defeated in the Ughelli axis. Going further, Omo-Agege can be defeated in Orogun his home town just like Buhari defeated the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar by using Brigadier General Buba Marwa who happened to be from Adamawa with Atiku.
While I quite agree that no federal constituency should be left unrepresented in the state, the Ughelli axis should warm up for other prominent positions in the party. For the next election, we should be objective enough to allow the Ethiope axis made up of Ethiope East and Ethiope West to have the senator. Since 1999, this constituency has not produced a senator which is another cheating on the good people of Ethiope axis. Some may argue that Chief Ighoyota Amori has been there briefly but legally, Amori’s tenure is not known to the laws of the land. There is nothing wrong if this axis produce a senator for eight years after all Ughelli have occupied it for twenty years and Okpe/Sapele/Uvwie for about ten years and it is still counting. My sister, Annabel position that the All Progressives Congress in the state will spring surprises in the next election did not also fly going by the indices on ground. Presently, the All Progressive Congress in Delta state has been in crisis from birth and it is just counting. The real All Progressives Congress supporters in the state belong to Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and not Omo-Agege. However, the party will implode more as the years rolls by putting it on hot fire. At present, the party only exist on the pages of social media and I don’t see any magic bringing it down to the people no matter the resources. Since 1999, Delta and probably Rivers State including Lagos are the only state that will remain in the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressive Congress no matter the success of any opposition.
To fulfil the mandate of heaven, according to one analyst, “the state in our 21st century must pursue the objectives of “security, legitimacy, capacity, prosperity, and humanity”. The duties of states today include the following: (i) effective control and monopolization of the means of violence; (ii) securing the lives and properties of citizens; (iii) effective administrative control; (iv) management of public finances, wealth creation, and ability of extract taxes); (v) provision and protection of citizenship rights through effective public regulation; (vi) provision of public goods such as infrastructures, education, health and social services; (vii) creation of a vibrant market that ensures economic freedom, growth and expanding opportunities for all citizens; (viii) the upholding of the rule of law and promotion of social justice; (ix) ability to conduct regular, fair and transparent elections; and (x) capacity to enter into international agreements”. This is what a governor from Okpe is going to do for the entire state and country at large. The time to pretend is over and hence all must work together to bring the state to another track come 2023.
For long, Okpe played the role of a contributor and now it is time to allow it to partake in the administration of the meal it helped to build from scratch. Okpe Kingdom is blessed with arrays of eminent men and women and they are doing well in all aspects of life. It is on record that the only world renown Chartered Accountant that has been listed in the Guinness book of records, Chief. Senator D.O.O. Dafinone is from Okpe Kingdom. On the professional scale, there are legions of Okpe men and women contributing to national development. On the academic levels, the list is endless. The two world renown musicologists from Delta central are of Okpe stock in person of Prof. Emurobome Idolor and Isaac Idamoyibo respectively. On the political scene, more than one million can be counted to fit into the position. The era of who is there is over and it is time to reason together and allow Okpe Kingdom to produce the governor. As I always say, others have the right to contest but the position belongs to Okpe at this very point in time. Today, it is on record that Sapele is now a ghost town having lost the first timber company in the Africa continent. Following the exit, other companies followed suit and now is the time for the two to be repositioned to serve humanity.
I want to commend the governor of the state for putting much effort in governance. I have been to several communities and places that have no roads before can be reached due to various road networks initiated and completed by the governor. There are so many other projects still ongoing and from where the governor, an Okpe personality that will come on board will continue to provide laudable projects. An Okpe man as a governor is a governor for the entire state like the previous ones and this will be sustained.
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