Equity in political engagements is the characterization, the religion, the pivot, the focal point, of progressive politics which recognises and respects the rationality and justifiability of positions held by people on any given political issue just as one can see the radiant rationality and justifiability in the position held by the Ijaws on 2023 Delta state governorship in relation to the political history of the Urhobos and the Ijaws in the Mid-Western region and Bendel State. It is historically in corresponding degree of awareness and responsiveness to the political trajectory of the Urhobos and the Ijaws from the traced period that the Ijaws have collectively taken a stand to present His Excellency Barrister Burutu Otuaro, Senator James Manager and Hon.Chief Braduce Angozi as competent 2023 Ijaw governorship candidates from among whom one will emerge as the 2023 governor of Delta State when democratically chosen by the people – a collective stand that prioritises the meaningful engagement of the Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts as strong supportive partners and pillars of this Delta Ijaw governorship vision for its materialisation as it would when ants ideologically aggregate their resources and work for a common purpose.
1.Rhythmically rung and devotedly drummed across the length and the breadth of Delta State is the justness and justification in the collective position of the Ijaws on the Delta State governorship in 2023. This is the time for all ethnic groups in Delta State to pause and ponder on the justness and justification of the Ijaws’ common stand on the governorship because the pendulum of equity, fairness and justice swings in the direction that Ijaws should produce the 2023 governor of Delta State based on meaningful engagement of all stakeholders in the state.
2.Everybody knows that in the history of man there comes a time when wrongs, mistakes and injustices are identified, admitted and reversed in favour of the once wronged people as this will accentuate their sense of dignity, worth, relevance and confidence and quicken their integration into the mainstream of political and economic engagements/activities in the society. It appears there is a deliberate distantiation of the Delta governorship from the Ijaws right from the Mid-western and Bendel state days counting historically from 27 May 1963 to 2021. This unjust political distantiation of the Ijaws and their reduction to a mere but dedicated solid supportive pillars for any governorship candidate must be stopped now viewed against the backdrop of the political injustices the Ijaws had been subjected to from time immemorial with no sign of abatement yet.
3.No argument can be more cogent and believable than the collective stand of the Ijaws that the opportunity to produce the 2023 governor of Delta State must be yielded to them by the Urhobos because the Urhobos had been the perpetual occupant of the governorship office from the Mid-Western and Bendel state days till now; and this is historically supported by the following facts no Deltan with a sense of history will denounce as historical fabrication.
4. Mid-Western region was created on 27 May 1963 and from this period through the Bendel State days to Delta State days, the Urhobos have been the perpetual beneficiaries of both the office of the governor and deputy-Governor till now without the slightest opportunity granted the Ijaws to feel the aroma of the governorship. From 1964-1966 in the Mid-Western days, an Urhobo man by the name Chief Jereton Mariere was the governor of the region. From 1966-1967 in the Mid-Western region, another Urhobo man by the name Lt. Col. David Ejoor was the military governor. The story told here is that the Urhobos enjoyed to the fullest the office of the governor in the Mid-western days with no space yielded to the Ijaws.
5.Historical records indicate authoritatively that the hegemonic governorship space-occupation spree of the Urhobos was still extended to Bendel state when it was created though with a slight variation from governorship to deputy-governorship. From 1979 – 1983 Chief Demas Onoliobakpovba Akpore was the deputy governor of Bendel State while Prof. Ambrose Alli was the governor. Again, the governorship space-occupation spree of the Urhobos was further extended to Delta State when it was created on 27 August 1991. Captain Luke Ochulor was the first military governor of Delta State but in 1992 power was handed over to another Urhobo man as the democratically elected first civilian governor of Delta State. Between 1992 and 1993 Chief Felix Ovudoroye Ibru, an Urhobo man, became the first civilian governor of Delta State. From 1993 till 1999 military government was in power in the state.
6.With the semblance of a birthright to occupy the office of a governor of the state, when the military government beat a retreat, another Urhobo man named Chief Onanefe James Ibori became the governor of Delta State from 1999 – 2007. While the Urhobos enjoyed these governorship opportunities to the fullest within these highlighted periods, Ijaws were neither made a deputy governor nor the secretary to the state government. The Ijaws were mere cannon fodder or devoted supportive foot soldiers deployed to actualise the governorship ambition of the Urhobos, and thereafter other ethnic groups without any opportunity given to them to smell the aroma of the governorship seat.
7.Clearly located in the historical lane followed is the fact that the Urhobos have been the perpetual dominant occupant of the governorship seat from 1963 till date. With the historically verifiable dominance of the governorship seat by the Urhobos from 1964 to 2015 both as governors and deputy-governors, justice demands that the 2023 governorship of Delta State be given to an Ijaw man because the Ijaws in Delta South Senatorial District have never been given the democratic opportunity to become the governor of Delta State counting from the Mid-Western and Bendel State days. There is no better time to correct this age-long injustice against the Ijaws than now in 2023.
8.From the above historical journey travelled through Mid-Western and Bendel state routes to Delta State, which is glaringly a catalogue of political injustices against the Delta South Senatorial district with a voting strength of1,236,000 as against the Urhobos in Delta Central Senatorial District with a voting strength of 827,840 as projected by the Independent National Electoral Commission before 2015, it is only fair and just that the Ijaws in Delta South Senatorial District be given the democratic opportunity to produce the governor of Delta state in 2023 because the Urhobos have had a surfeit of the governorship right from 1964 to 2015.
9.Governorship of a state should not be a birthright monopolised or hegemonised by one ethnic group; it must be rotated among the constituents of the state whether or not it is regulated by a written or unwritten power-rotation agreement merely resident in a conscience-regulated mind. For a man who has just eaten his own fill of food, he should relax and allow the food to digest for the activities of metabolism to come into play. While this is in progress, the one who is yet to treat himself to the meal on the table should be given the democratic space to dine politically and chart a navigable developmental course for the state. This is the spirit behind the genuine agitation for Ijaw governorship in 2023 which has today thrown up His Excellency Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Senator James Manager and Hon.Chief Braduce Angozi as possible governorship candidates endowed with all the required resources and capabilities to chart a progressive path for Delta state when one of these three personalities is given the democratic licence or opportunity to lead the state in 2023.
10.By and large, there is justness and justification in the quest and agitation for Ijaw governor in Delta State in 2023. With these elaborations validated by clear historical facts, we have a conviction that the Urhobos will justly and understandably yield the Delta State governorship in 2023 to the Ijaws because the historical lane walked on so far from 1964-2015 shows the equity, fairness and justice in the collective resolve of the Ijaws to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023.
11.In the spirit of equity, fairness, justice and political reciprocity, let Delta Central Senatorial District yield the democratic space to the Ijaws to produce the 2023 governor of Delta State as the Ijaws had habitually done to the Urhobos in the past. This is the time to remember the popular adage that one good turn deserves another as it is equally the time to exhume the aphorism that it only becomes a mutually enjoyable and beneficial play when two dogs at play rotationally fall for each other.This is the time for the Delta Central Senatorial District to reciprocate the Ijaws for the unalloyed political support they have always got from the Ijaws in the past.
4.MICAH .E. YERINMENE