Fejiro Oliver

The problem with politician is that they tell people what they wish to hear instead of what they need to know – Carmine Savastano

Let’s take away the deceit; the race for the 2023 gubernatorial position even though automatically zoned to the people of Delta Central by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in an unwritten document has begun and may elude them.

The signs are clear that the Ijaws in Delta State are poised and battle ready to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Osadebey House. Their aspiration is not individual but ethnic, cutting across Delta State into Bayelsa, Rivers and Ondo States, where they have their kith and kin. They have mapped out strategies physically and spiritually to spring surprises on the Urhobos during the PDP primaries that will see one of them emerge as the candidate.

What is not certain is if Okowa has a hand in this. During his campaign for his re-election, he made it clear that he will hand over to an Urhobo governor. Rumor mills have it that he gave the Orodje of Okpe his word to give the crown to one of the king’s subordinates’.

To take Okowa’s word to the bank is as good as saying the devil will make heaven. To believe Okowa, who is a career politician is to swear that a virgin who has never known a man apart from the biblical Mary, will be able to conceive a child.

Politicians are like playboys who will use all the sweet words invented and yet to be invented to get into the pants of a girl, make all sorts of promises under the duvet, all in the bid to taste the cookies and once gotten, quickly forgets the love rhymes they sang. Okowa cannot be different from his political folks, even though he bears the title ‘Ekwueme’, meaning ‘Talk and Do’.

His body language has not betrayed him yet of going against the rotational governance of Delta State but the feelers from Ijaw nation of recent sends a message that he won’t give an order for the political structure to stand with the Urhobos when they need him to deliver. The body language of his Deputy, Mr Kingsley Otuaro shows that he is likely going to contest the election as an Ijaw man, to replace his boss. He has the backing of the entire Ijaw race to swim along the tides.

For those following the political journey of Delta 2023 and solving its mathematical calculation, the three days visit of the Ijaw traditional rulers to Agadagba Bou, proclaimed as the Ijaw Nation Holy Land, led by Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom who is incidentally a King from Delta State, is no ordinary gathering or prayers for cleansing of the land as they claimed but a spiritual meeting and how to capture Delta State as part of their agenda.

Instead of ending their journey in Bayelsa State which is the Ijaw Headquarters, they berthed in Warri, which is a sign of an area that needs to be conquered next. The statement by one of the Kings that “the Ijaw man cannot be a slave in a country where it’s oppressed. Since it’s producing EVERYTHING (emphasis mine), it should be at the forefront of decision making”.

Without being told, the Ijaw Nation knows so well that unless God intervenes, they may never taste the seat of the President in the next hundred years. Goodluck Jonathan may just be the last Ijaw President for the next century and they can’t feign ignorance of it. The only best bet to be at the front of decision making, which they crave is to become Governors in Bayelsa, which they already have, govern Rivers State after Nyesom Wike and take over from Okowa. It is only in Ondo State that such won’t rear its ugly head.

How this will play out will be mainly decided by Ifeanyi Okowa, if he will tow the path of honor and respect the gentleman agreement of supporting Urhobos alongside the Anioma nation which he currently controls or decides to look away and watch the state tear apart in his time. This is no time to claim party democracy by allowing it to be an all comers affair. Despite the Urhobos fielding a candidate in 2014 primaries, the PDP stayed with Okowa by voting for him, to sustain the rotational system. A well respected Urhobo son has become a serial loser because the Urhobos in PDP chose to abide by the party’s principle of sharing power.

Nothing under the sun should make Okowa or PDP turn to an Ostrich and bury its head in the sand by giving ticket to any candidate who is not from Delta Central. Whoever wants to upturn the zoning formula should go to the All Progressive Congress (APC) or another political party to test their popularity and strength, like Great Ovedje Ogboru has done over the years. Of course, the APC where Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege is the leader will not allow the ticket to slip away from the hands of the Urhobos. Even if he will not contest, the Deputy Senate President will ensure that he mobilizes his structures and resources to see that an Urhobo become the candidate of his party.

Okowa must come out now to assure the Urhobos and Deltans that he will not be shifting the ancient landmark set by his PDP. He must speak now, not in private to his group of political hooligans or bunch of sycophantic alleluia politicians and friends but to Deltans in a gathering of established political class, where his Deputy will be seated.

We cannot continue to be fooled by the titular ‘Ekwueme’ mantra that has since been thrown away when he mounted the saddle of leadership. I can count promises that he has not honored, which may not be his making, as the demands of his job may have made him forget. But the case of who succeeds him should daily be on his mind and the only name that should ring in his ears should be an Urhobo. No more, no less.

Agreed that democracy allows for all comers, which is cheering to everyone including yours sincerely, but this all comer does not include Okowa and Anioma. He has to take a definite stand as a beneficiary of the system that brought him to his current level. As the leader of his political party, elected officers and appointees, it behooves on him to tell any other tribe aspiring for the coveted seat to stop every underground politicking and wait for their turn. Nothing can be more honorable than this. Nothing can be more excellent than this for a man that bears the ‘Excellency’ title.

I personally want to trust him that he will honor his words. I want to give him the benefit of doubt as I have always done that he will not only use his body language to send a signal of his commitment to an Urhobo governor but also begin to tell his trusted allies to start preaching the gospel silently to all that matters within his political fold.

As much as I want to trust him, a part of me still leaves room for his mortality to always disappoint and come up with excuses of democracy, excuses that the party he belongs allows anyone to contest, where he will now play the underground trick to favor the Ijaws. He’s a man and not God, thus is fallible to the pressure of politic and whims of interest.

But before it happens, he should go to the mirror, seat in front and ask himself the Rotary 4Way Test:

Is it fair?

Is it the truth?

Will it build goodwill and better friendship?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Whatever answers he sincerely gives himself should guide him and no one will hold him for doing that which the answers offer him, not even God.

These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY). He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG Handle @elahuva

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