When a man or woman is loved by his or her people the accolade they accord the person does not settle down, at least, quickly. The prolonged-applause they rent in the air covers every nook and cranny like a dusty road that is graced by a passing car during dry season. This is the expression that Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is getting from the people of Delta State since his victory in the December 2014 Peoples Democratic (PDP) governorship primaries in the state and, it is appealing to the heart.
Many residents of Delta State that I spoke to, political-wise, during a visit to the state recently expressed satisfaction in the party’s choice for Okowa, whom they regarded as an orator, a man of integrity, humble. They said that as a Senator and Chairman Committee on Health and a tested and trusted man who have held sensitive positions in the government of the state, he is the right person for the job.
The clamour everywhere (except the minute ethnic bigots) is that all the residents of Delta State and the citizens in Diaspora should join hands in making sure that Okowa wins in the February 28 2015 governorship election expected would take place across the 36 states of the federation. The residents believed that every right thinking person will cast his or her vote for this man whom they also described as a gentleman and a good leader by example.
From virtually every angle, it was observed that Okowa stands tallest politically among the tall people contending to become governor of the state in the 2015 elections. He is presently enjoying the support of teachers, students, workers and others. He is being appreciated for what they said were his numerous empowerment endeavours when he was a commissioner and Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
His assistance to all facets of human endeavours in the state is said to be immeasurable, with much belief in making sure that the less-privileged in and out of Delta State have songs of joy in their mouth. Today, students in Delta State are singing hosanna for Okowa, traders are doing the same, lawyers too… He is described as the hope of Delta people.
One scintillating aspect found in the unalloyed support from Delta people to Okowa was that no syringe is attached to their support. They love the man for the confidence they repose on him that he will deliver without qualms, owing to the fact that he has exhibited traits of good dossier of performance.
In all the praises to Okowa, one area that may have some hitches will be from the Urhobo area. Since Okowa emerged the PDP governorship candidate, some of the Urhobo people who have a mindset that Delta State solely belongs to them are clamouring that their people should move to the All Progressives Congress (APC) or Labour Party (LP) in order to achieve their rather bias political ambition. Those in this line of thought are of the view that as soon as this is done, then the PDP will be enjoying only the support of Delta North and South. It was observed that the Urhobo people did this in 2007 and 2011.
While they may be in this disgust analysis, many Urhobo people have however said that when they knew that Okowa would emerge the PDP flagbearer was when they saw some of their notable sons and daughters in the academia and journalism and co stand behind Okowa. The supposed problem with Urhobo people against Okowa is that they believe that they have the voting power and can change the game as at when due.
Some are saying that with the emergence of Okowa, the state would be governed by the opposition, a statement that has been debunked by the numerous people who are standing behind Okowa. To this people, they believe that Delta remains a PDP state with Okowa in the ring. Some of the embittered Urhobo people are saying that a lesson should be learnt from Edo State on how Governor Adams Oshiomhole emerged governor after a president wanted his own candidate who was in the ruling PDP then.
But the truth I observed is that Delta people are in their high voice saying that Okowa was not imposed on them, so such evaluation with what happened in Edo State is baseless. What will be working for Okowa is that the votes of the Urhobo people will be divided because two of their sons in the persons of Emerhor and Ogboru respectively are in the APC and LP.
Even though that the entire people from Delta Central endorse just one candidate, which has always been their trademark, Okowa is believed to be standing highest. The reason being that Delta South is not bringing out any candidate because it is in total support of Delta North; the former wants power shift. It is believed that the umbrella body of the Urhobo people known as UPU should wait for its people’s turn till 2023, but use the opportunity now and support power to budge to Delta North.
It’s experiential that the Anioma people are the people holding the political peace that exists between them and the Urhobo people who have always felt that the state exclusively belongs to them (Urhobo). There is no gainsaying the fact that the Urboho people lost the sense that they have been with the Anioma people from the Western region to the Bendel State. I do not want to write that Urhobo purportedly drifted from the bond they have been sharing with the Anioma people when Delta State was created and the capital was situated at Asaba.
However, to balance the political equation in Delta State, it behoves on the Itsekiris and especially all Urhobos, Ijaw, Isoko and others to give their support for Okowa. Greed should not be inculcated in fighting Okowa whom the majority are strongly behind. Any plot against Okowa is a plot against Anioma people; it is a plot against the entire Igbo nation not to govern Delta State as other ethnic groupings in the state have done. And if the Urhobo people are taking the Anioma people as inferior to them, they should vouch for the creation of Anioma State, which has been the quest of Ndigbo in Delta State. Notwithstanding, the three senatorial zones in Delta voted for Okowa in the primaries, and it is expected that they do same in the same spirit during the general elections.
Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tel: +2348032552855.