ASABA/Nigeria: A political scientist and Executive Director “Better Delta State” Dr Isaac Obominuru has offered his thoughts on what he calls a critical study of the Delta State political attitude, especially in its various category and characterization since the return of Democratic governance in May 1999.
Dr Obominuru is concerned about the nature of political representation in Delta State which has tended to undermine the grand principles that sustain civility and political probity.
According to him, “In the over twenty-two years of democratic experience, a pivotal issue, including the political context of its production, which has been concealed or blurred by the binaries of intent and practice, concerns the wanton and arbitrary undermining of the Ijaw gubernatorial aspiration in Delta State politics.” He took a swipe at what he called “a behemoth of an artificial political construct which has built itself into a formidable old boys’ club that continues to take for granted the political apathy of the citizenry, to safeguard its position through the utility of a dubiously, high flown political rotation model, which has bred the penetration of government by deployment and redeployment, a mechanism that is predicated on who one knows in the political framework rather than who is well disposed and endowed to lead a multi diverse, religious and ethnic minority state as Delta.”
The Executive Director in his hypothesized critical cluster of Ijaw demography in Delta State revealed that Delta State is a diverse congruence of ethnic nationalities consisting of dominant minorities and minorities of minority. He said the Ijaws of Delta State constitute into what Alagoa (1972) in his division of the Delta into eastern, central and western zones along physiographic, linguistic and ethnic lines refer to as indigenous peoples group of the Eastern, Western Delta and fringe.
He said the Ijaw phenomenon is noted in the number of registered voters allocated to it. Relying on a monitoring indicator provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the 2015 Gubernatorial elections, he said an interesting feature of this study reveals that while the actual voting constituency in the North and central senatorial Districts continue to show a strange declivity in the median due to voters’ apathy, and flattens to as low as between 40 to 64 percent, those of the Ijaw enclave continues to register as much as between 68 to 93 percent participation of actual registered voters. He said “this study provides an existential clue why the clamor for an Ijaw Gubernatorial proposition must be factored as an instructive policy instrument in the Delta State gubernatorial elections.”
He insisted that “a derived analysis from his study, indicates a familiar history that should strike a political note of curiosity for any serious observer on voters’ distribution per ethnic category of Delta State. He drew attention to what necessitated the setting up of the Willink’s Commission of Inquiry in 1957. He said the Willink commission’s brief was to allay the fears of minority groups whose peoples soon developed a pertinent political pugnacity as they felt themselves submerged under the complex and difficult relationship of the tripartite ethnic league of the dominant – Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba ethnic extractions.
The Better Delta State Executive Director said that “the illusion of a rotation model as well as the process by which its knowledge and objectives are produced and disseminated partly instantiates the translation of domination into hegemony.” He said this charade of a political rotation in Delta State challenged its own legitimacy, when the then Governor of Delta State James Ibori used his powerful lobby to rotate power in his household by giving it to his brother Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan. He pointed out that the rotation by Senatorial zones also failed the day the erstwhile Chief of Staff Delta State, David Edevbie, challenged the present State Governor, His Excellency Ifeanyi Okowa in the Delta State 2014 Peoples Democratic Party primaries and was almost at the point of clinching victory from the jaws of defeat until his political naivety was challenged.
The Executive Director insisted that from the stated incidences, nothing suggest that there was a political rotation in Delta State across the senatorial zones. He argues that what existed only addressed the intendment for which it was designed- the Ibori seizure of power for his kith and kin for sixteen years, while subjecting the Ijaw and other helpless minorities to the status of plebians
For a Better Delta State, Dr Isaac Obominuru said it is time to mobilize for ideological education, self- culture and organizational experience and to call the bluff and political bluster of 2007. He argues that an Ijaw Gubernatorial candidate should be supported as a strategy to politically assuage a people that has experienced and endured the pain and agony of neglect, exploitation, degradation disenchantment and cynicism.
He said given the sentiments already expressed, it only makes a political sense this time to target the Ijaw ethnic bloc that has shown political character in its diminution by forces that are averse to its right to lead.
To this end, the Executive Director Better Delta State appealed to His Excellency Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, to “demystify and repudiate the self-serving and ideological misrepresentations of the proponents of power shift back to the central.” He acknowledges that this should be a daunting task, as it puts His Excellency “in a potential confrontation with that external domination and the class it represents, both of which are more intolerant of challenge than ever.”
“Rather than planning to wage wars of attrition against each other as 2022 nears, Obominuru advised the Peoples’ Democratic Party to do what is right. “It is not always going to be about who is right but what is right. Let it take a principled stand like the national Executive council (NEC) did recently on zoning. Let it begin to forge links to keep itself honest, to sustain its sense of purpose, gain clarity and make the best of its resources against foes and tasks that seem more formidable with each passing day” he was quoted to have said.