By Timi Black
Following the contentious zoning debate between Delta South and Central on where among the two senatorial districts should produce the next governor of the state, the Delta Ijaw 2023 Governorship Advocacy Group (DIGAG) had again cautioned senatorial zoning apologists, saying that they should borrow a leaf from PDP national organ where credibility is the driving force for the party to determine its success in 2023.
This was disclosed in a press statement signed by its director general, Comr Augustine Okporu on Friday.
Group reiterated that those propagating the moribund senatorial district zoning arrangements of the governorship office in Delta State should have a rethink, adding that the agitation to zone the governorship office to a particular senatorial district in order to shut out aspirants from other senatorial districts would spell doom for the PDP in the State.
The statement further read: “It has never happened before where any of the three senatorial districts in Delta State to exclusively contest the office at any given point in time. The records are there in the public from 1998 to date.
“Granted that only Delta Central people that contested the 1998 PDP governorship primary, the trio of late Olorogun Felix Ibru, Chief James Onanefe Ibori and Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi were the only interested aspirants in PDP that contested the election. The Party did not zoned the office to the Delta Central Senatorial District then.
The group maintained that in 2007, all the senatorial districts had aspirants that contested the PDP governorship primary at Ogwashi-Uku, noting that it was not zoning arrangement that brought Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan to power. “Those who are trying to bite the fingers that once fed them should remind themselves of our recent history”.
“The Ijaws were disappointed with the opinion of His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan at the PDP Caucus meeting in Asaba on the 21st of January, 2023. The former Governor knew very well that it was not zoning but Ibori’s desire to impose him on Deltans that brought him into power. We wonder why he is joining his detractors to call for zoning. There is a saying that those who have their palm kernel broken by benevolent spirit are expected to do good.
“The Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu also disappointed the Ijaw people through his vexatious contribution at the PDP State Caucus meeting. He was an aspirants to the 2015 governorship primary at Asaba where all the senatorial districts had aspirants that contested the election. The question we wish to ask him: when did senatorial district zoning arrangements became a sure path to peace in the State?
“The Minority Leader should take the zoning debate to his Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency. PDP governorship office has never been zoned to any senatorial district in the State since 1999. We can’t do it now, especially now that the Party needs our unity of diversity to win the 2023 elections.
“As for Senator Ighoyota Amori, the Deputy National Organizing Secretary and Barr. Kingsley Esiso, the State Chairman of the Party, we urge them to borrow a leaf from the national executive of the PDP who said the Party’s presidential office is free for aspirants from the six Geo-political zones to contest. If the national chooses to allow the Party’s presidential seat open for all constants why then Esiso and Amori are spare heading that unconstitutional zoning arrangements in the State?
“We understand that the Ijaws were ambushed by desperate power players at the State PDP Caucus meeting held in Asaba. Never again should we condone such political coup in the State. Kingsley Esiso should know that he inherited a virile and united Party in 2016. His prayers should be that the Party under his watch should not hit the rock during his time. We therefore call on him to conduct himself as a neutral umpire.
“We commend Gov. Okowa for his wisdom to save the Party from the glaring succession crisis. We appeal to him to continue to apply such Solomonic wisdom to stare the ship of the State. His promise to conduct free and fair PDP primary elections in the State has given the Party faithful a reassuring hope. We urge him to continue to consider all divergent interest in the State when taking decision for the Party”, they noted.