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Delta 2023: Clark disagrees with Delta North monarchs on zoning



• Stresses that never a time governorship of the state was zoned

•Insists Okowa never won on zoning platform

•Says it is not a turn of Urhobo or Delta Central

Niger Delta leader and elder statesman, Senator Edwin Clark, has faulted the position canvased by Asagba of Asaba, HRM Obi (Prof) Chike Edozien, and other monarchs of Delta North senatorial district (Anioma) in Delta State that the Delta Central Senatorial District (Urhobo) should produce the next governor of the state in 2023.

The former education commissioner, Clark, who averred he was no longer into partisan politics but has a duty to offer advice when necessary, said there was never a time the governorship of the state was zoned on senatorial basis, so the monarchs should not purport to be endorsing Delta Central based on a non-existent senatorial zoning arrangement.

•Stresses that never a time governorship of the state was zoned

Clark emphasized that there was never a time the governorship of the state was zoned on senatorial basis, adding that governorship of the state had been contested by aspirants from the various senatorial districts over time. The former senator said this when he was having interaction with Vanguard on phone: “I have high regards for traditional officeholders and particularly a man like the Asagba of Asaba. With the greatest respect, I entirely disagree with the view of Asagba and the Anioma kings on the following grounds.

“Asagba is an old man, he should do things that will join all of us together, for him to come to me to say that we, Anioma people, should also be considered for governorship, if it was on senatorial basis, he would not have come to me because it is their right since after the turn of Delta South senatorial district, it will automatically come to them.

“Who sat down to zone governorship on senatorial basis in Delta State? Nobody did. Zoning of governorship office must be based on an agreement or negotiation where either a political party or the people sat down to say that this thing will go on rotation.

“This was not the case in 1999 when all those who contested, particularly the two – Chief James Ibori and Prof Sam Oyovbaire, only the late Philip Elueme from Ukwuani contested with them, so there was no question of who sat down to say the position was zoned to the Urhobos, there was none.

“That is number one, number two, the feeling of non-Igbo speaking Deltans in 1991 was that the removal of the capital from Warri to Asaba was an injustice done to the people of old Bendel province and, therefore, they were not ready to associate with them. First of all, they decided to boycott Asaba, that civil servants from other parts of Delta should not go to Asaba and should have nothing to do with them.

•Insists Okowa never won on zoning platform

The former Federal Commissioner argued that the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa never won his elections on zoning formula.He asserted: “And this has been the notion and feelings of people and I think that was what was behind the thinking of the Asagba of Asaba when they came to me in Abuja. If they knew that governorship was based on senatorial zone that after Delta Central, then Delta South, then Delta North, why did they come to me? They should have only come to me in respect of a candidate

“There were about 14-15 candidates then aspiring to become governor in 2015, if they had come to me to say please vote Okowa or Hon. Ndudi Elumelu or Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, that is a different matter, but they did not do that. But they came, pleading with me that Anioma should be regarded as part of Delta State and should be considered for the governorship of the state.

“This was contained in their address when they came to me in Abuja and when I came to Asaba, they did not talk of senatorial zone. They came to me to say that Anioma-speaking people should be considered to contest the governorship of the state and that is why I said that their request was acceptable and I would go out to campaign to the people, which we did. I am not saying that I did it alone.

“If the emergence of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan from Delta South in 2006 at Ogwashi Uku was based on senatorial rotation, then Ibori could not have had trouble with us. We could have said okay, it was zoned to Delta South senatorial district, but our position is that he imposed his cousin on us.

“If it was zoned on senatorial zone, there would not have been any point of anybody campaigning when he knows it is the turn of his senatorial district; if it was zoned on senatorial basis, why did Uduaghan, governor of the state, decide to support Edevbie, why did he not support another Delta northerner after he dropped Obuh.

“Ijaw is not campaigning for 2023 governorship that it is the turn of Delta South, we are saying that we too want to have it, that we produce most of the oil, we will like to have it, not on the condition of senatorial zone. What Ibori did was in abuse of his office as governor of the state and he paid dearly for it.

“So, it is not case of that it was zoned on senatorial basis, if it were that, there will be no struggle because each senatorial district will know when it is its turn.

“If it was zoned on senatorial basis, why did Uduaghan, governor of the state decide to stop Edevbie? Why did he not support another Delta north senatorial zone man, Uduaghan was governor of Delta state between 2007 and 2015, the power was in his hands.”

•Says it is not a turn of Urhobo or Delta Central

Chief insisted that it was not an Urhobo turn to produce Okowa’s successor come 2023.
He said: “If we agreed, let us give it to the North and he decided to take Obuh and we said no, he could have gone to take either Hon Ndudi Elumelu or Okowa or any other person. He did not, so if it was based on senatorial, why did he come to Urhobo, which is Delta Central.

“And if the Urhobos believe in senatorial zoning, why they came with ‘Uvwiamuge Declaration’, so it is wrong for the Asagba, he is very well educated man to contradict the Urhobos,” he added.