DELTA 2019: Why Okowa Remains The Viable Option


PHOTO: Press Unit, Asaba

Charles Okogene

DELTA State stands on a tripod. This presupposes that Deltans all over the world are obsessively and consciously aware of their cultural diversity as a people. Over the years, this reality has played out in Delta State’s political activities especially with regard to elective offices and individual seeking votes. Proponents of zoning and consideration for every part of the state insist that this remains the only way to guarantee inclusiveness and avoid exclusion and the never-ending issues of equity, fairness and justice.

Today, Delta State is firmly in the hands of Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa who became governor of the state in 2015. Okowa, who contested and won under the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, succeeded former governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan. Uduaghan who hails from Delta South served immediately after the eight-year tenure of Chief James Ibori, his predecessor from Delta Central.

This equitable sharing formula of offices for justice and fairness are evident even on the day a governor is sworn-in. Usually on this day, the legislature, typically takes a cue from the executive and zone positions in line with this unofficial distribution of offices across the length and breadth of the state. This has happened from the Ibori era to the present administration headed by Olowa.

Despite the challenges that dogged Ibori shortly after leaving office, he is still loved and held in very high esteem by many Deltans. Ibori is also widely acknowledged for unofficially infusing zoning which ultimately ensures that every group, one way or the other can present a candidate for the highest office in the state.

With Okowa, a governor from Delta North, zoning has now gone full circle. Before this administration, Delta North was the only zone without a governor. Now, the expectation is that the current governor, like his predecessors, would serve out his eight years to give room to aspirants from other senatorial zones.

It is therefore not surprising that all the aspirants, mainly from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC are from Delta North. They include Pat Utomi, professor of political economy; Victor Ochei, former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Iyke Odikpo, a medical doctor and a few other pretenders in APC who are not likely to take their ambition beyond posters and a few speaking engagements. Remarkably, all the aspirants in the APC, apart from Utomi, were all former members of the PDP. This is also another shortfall, those who argue in support of this position say these politicians only pursue their selfish interests.

Before now, a chieftain of the APC, Olorogun Otega Emerhor had insisted that only an APC candidate from Delta North can effectively challenge Okowa, the incumbent governor who hails from the North. Emerhor has now turned around to appreciate his party’s bleak future as far as governorship election is concerned in the state. Emerhor, unlike fortune seekers and new-commers in APC is a foundation member and leader of the party in Delta State. So, his views are always taken very seriously by a lot of people. Currently, many within and outside the state are even of the opinion that aside the political exigencies and realities, Emerhor may also be driven by patriotism and the need to ensure that no senatorial zone takes undue advantage of an unforeseen situation.

As things currently stand, if any of the APC aspirants wins, though I know that it is absolutely impossible, then Delta North would succeed in doing 12 years because the new governor is not likely to leave office after the mandatory eight years tenure of the previous governments expire. This will in turn breed disunity, suspicion, absence of inclusiveness and fairness. I think older politicians in PDP fully appreciate the burden of togetherness and politicking with tomorrow in mind. If we cease to be mindful of these truths, we open ourselves up for needless bitterness and rancor.

 So those clamoring for a change in leadership at the level of governor are agents of chaos and injustice. They do not wish our dear state well. And mark my words, these same people are still going to be the first to point accusing fingers when the cookie crumbles. Therefore, as we prepare for 2019, we must be guided. Reality must replace momentary and ill-conceived decisions that lead to nowhere. If we fail to do what is right and fair today, tomorrow, we will regret and we must hold ourselves responsible for such doomed actions.

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