ASABA/Nigeria: As different ethnic groups continued to clamour to produce the governor, a pressure group, Deltans Lives Matter, has advocated for conference of all ethnic nationalities in Delta State to discuss the vexed issues of zoning of the 2023 governorship seat.
In a letter addressed to His Royal Majesty, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor ll, Obi of Owa Kingdom and Chairman Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, signed by Christian Moses Abeh, Global Coordinator and Gabriel Mamuzo, Deputy Global Coordinator of the group, pointed out that zoning of the governorship seat of the state if not properly handled by all stakeholders may lead to crisis before 2023 general elections in the state.
“As the head of the traditional institution and Chief custodian of our cultures, we appeal to your majesty to use your good and highly respected office to convoke a conference of all ethnic groups in the state where this zoning issue can be discussed and resolved for the interest of peace, unity, love and prosperity.”
According to the group, if not for zoning, the like of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan wouldn’t have been elected governor let alone having it for two terms.
“Zoning started with Chief James Ibori (Delta Central slot), but when Delta South (Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan) wanted to have their turn the Urhobos (Delta Central) fought them fiercely by sponsoring Chief Great Ogboru in DPP after failing to get the PDP ticket through late Senator Pius Ewherido with every resources available at their reach in 2007 governorship election, up till the election was annulled in November 2010.
“Again, in the rerun election of January 6th 2011 and April 26th governorship election of 2011, some Urhobo leaders (Delta central) in PDP and Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan’s government connived with their people in opposition DPP to stop Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta South) from having a second term in office.”
The group recalled that in 2014, when everyone was clamouring for power shift to Delta North based on the zoning principle, some leaders of Delta Central mobilised their delegates and gave Mr. David Edevbie massive support to stop Delta North from having their slot, unfortunately he came out second place ahead of others who campaigned vigorously. If not for Delta South delegates who voted massively for Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, our Delta North brothers would have retired from politics by now.
“After Dr Ifeanyi Okowa had won the primary election of the PDP the Delta Central elites knew it will be a very “dangerous gamble” not to support him (Dr Okowa) in the main election of 2015. While majority of the elites supported Senator Okowa (Delta North) the proletariats became confused on who to support because of Ogboru’s dwindling popularity as a result of his political prostitution (jumping from party to party) in his desperate bid to govern the state, Otega’s wealth and party’s strength at the national level also attracted some votes for him.”
Meanwhile, the advocacy group maintained that Dr. Okowa’s popularity in Delta South and his Delta North zones gave him 90% to 95% votes respectively in those areas in the governorship election, while the elites of Delta central were able to mobilise between 30% to 50% votes for him to enable them agitates for rotation of power to their zone at the end of his two terms in 2023.
According to the group, “Our Delta central brothers have never hidden their disdain for zoning from 2006 to date, but they are quick to tell the world “it is their turn” to produce the next governor of the state in 2023.
“Your Majesty, as the Chief Custodian of Cultures and head of an apolitical institution, we believe you are the appropriate authority to convoke a conference of all ethnic groups in the State where the issue of “zoning” of the next governorship seat can be resolved, because there are so many things that was not captured in that [verbal]agreement sir. Yes, it will not be good for the Governor to convoke it because, they will allege biases/partisanship.”
According to the group, the issue of whose zone to begin the next round after the first round of 24 years should be discussed and resolved amicably wondering why the zoning still continue when a particular zone always sponsor their own against candidates of other zones whenever it is not their turn.
“Will the zone that took last or first continue to be in the same position or should there be a form of reshuffling after each round of 24 years? Should we continue with zoning on senatorial level or we should zone on the basis of ethnic group? It is glare that no zone can singlehandedly produce the Governor of the State without the support of others.” The group queried.