By Ogor Emmanuel
ASABA/Nigeria: A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Hon Ramsey Edigbue have criticised some persons who are brandishing Zoning formular in the party, saying that there is nothing like zoning, as all the past primary processes of selecting the party’s candidate had never been on zonal basis, including that of 2015, which brought in the incumbent Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
Speaking to this Reporter, Hon Ramsey Edigbue who hails from Orogun in Ughelli North of the State, stated that the 2015 primary was a classic example of lack of zoning principle in the party, as he asked, if Chief David Edevie who came out second had won, would anyone be talking of zoning today?.
Mr Edigbue stated that in all the primaries conducted by the party, his Senatorial District, Delta Central fielded candidates, pointing out that in the case of former Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan his emergent was not based on zoning formular, but emerged due to personal efforts of the then Governor, Chief James Ibori, who decided to pave way for his cousin brother, for reasons best known to him
“In 2007, it was Chief Ibori’s sole idea to handover to his brother, who will sustain his legacy and that should not be misconstrued for zoning because there was no meeting that discussed that. If there was, let them show the communique, even if it was a gentle man agreement, let them list those who attended the meeting, and where it was held.” He stated.
“Let them also name those who attended such meeting from any of the Senatorial Districts. There had never been any of such document, statement or picture photograph to back the erroneous claim.
“It’s normal as an individual to have a preferred candidate. And at the time, Ibori’s preferred candidate happen to be his brother. In that primary, there was Mr. Pius Ewerido, Otega Emeror, Emmanuel Egwaragwado, Bar Ovie Omo-Agege and others from Central, from North, there were Chief Godswill Obielum, Mr. Peter Okocha, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. If there was zoning, these were the people that would had agreed to that.”
“In 2015, assuming there was zoning, Ifeanyi Okowa contested, David Edevie, that came second and Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege contested are from Delta Central. Now, if Chief Edevie had won that election would will be talking about zoning today.” He asked.
Speaking further, Mr Edigbue pointed out that Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 primaries was not a product of zoning, and his emergent was not based on zoning, and it was a mere coincidence he is from Delta North. Check the available records, and you will see that there was never a time, that Delta Central did not present candidates for gubernatorial elections.”
“Putting up candidates from the zone in any of the past elections, tells one thing. That we the Urhobos do not believe in zoning. He said.
According to him, this same trend happened in 2014, with the formation of the Urhobo Progressive Front, so the formation of the Delta Central 2023, (DC-23), will be likened to that, as the forum will only be used to empower some persons from the area as usual.”
He said that at the present day Delta, the politics had grown beyond ethnic sentiment, what we should be looking at is collective agreement to move the state forward. We should stop playing a deceptive politic, hating one another, whereas what is holding us together, is more than what is tearing us apart.” He stated.
“Zoning is a language of mediocrity. And we Urhobo’s are not mediocres. When Ibori became Governor in 1999, he won. When Felix Ibru became the first Executive Governor of Delta State, it wasn’t zoned. This language of zoning is relegating us the Urhobo’s. Urhobo should put up the very best for the election rather than some people hiding behind the conspiracy of zoning for the purpose of extorting aspirants from the region.
He accused the propagators of the zoning formular as those who does not have the interest of the zone at heart, as they have not been able to show what they had been able to do for the area, since they have been in various offices since the inception of this democratic dispensation. Saying they don’t love the Urhobo’s, they are claiming to protect their interests. And the DC-23 meeting outcome is not reflecting the position of the Urhobo’s. Or Delta Central, and those who were present in the meeting lack the capacity to speak for the area, as they had failed in different capacity.
“That meeting was not for the interest of Delta Central. Looking at the work of the present Governor, his policies cut across the entire state. This we should be looking at. And not reducing the affairs of the state to politics of mediocrity.”
“Apart from the fact that it’s not constitutional, in a nutshell, there was no agreement, and there had never been any agreement, either gentle or non-gentleman agreement there had never been one, that we should be zoning the office of the Governor in Delta state.
“Even going by equity. I don’t think we from Delta Central, had ever been short changed, as we had always had our fair shares. To a very large extend we are in a better position, as far as this state is concerned. He stated.
He adviced that the people from Delta Central should distance themselves from the members of the DC-23, as they have nothing to offer to the people of the area.”
He also said the state party State Chairman, Barr Kingsley Esiso had never at anytime, made any statement that it’s for Delta Central, as he had refuted such remark, that the party had zoned the Governorship Ticket to Delta Central. As a chairman of the party in the state, he cannot make such statement.
Speaking further, he stated that the State is made off multi ethnic group, that if zoning is going to take place, it has to be discussed and based on ethnic line to give every ethnic nationality a place of belonging in the affairs of the state.
‘If we are to follow the line of zoning, we have the Urhobo’s, Itsekiri’s, Ika’s being there, then we have to give the other groups like the Ijaw’s, Ndokwa/Ukwuani, Isoko’s the chance to occupy the position. As equity, love and friendliness demands that have to be considered if we are thinking along the line of zoning. Nobody should be fenced out. If at all zoning is to be considered, it should be based on the line of ethnic nationality.”
He stated that “As an Urhobo man like every other Urhobo Patriots I have always stand for the interest of Urhobo nation as my core value so anywhere am standing, Urhobo interest will always be considered, so not supporting zoning, I should not be labeled anti Urhobo because every Government or association I am part, Urhobo’s nation interest will be considered and I will always hold brief for my people.
“The time has come to fence out completely political jobbers who always come with political gimmicks to extort money from Urhobo aspirants under the disguise of pan Urhobo advocacy group, which has been receiving resistance from well meaning Urhobo sons and daughters because we are not naive of their tricks.”
“Urhobo nation is one of the greatest nations in Nigeria so we cannot be reduced to zoning agitating ethnic nationality as if we are minority in Delta state. Zoning is a language of the minorities and mediocres, Urhobo nation is neither minority nor mediocre which GC-23 trying to portray us to be.”
“From 1999 till date we Urhobo’s have consistently contested Governorship election because we don’t believe in zoning. He added”