The Urhobo 2015 Uvwiamuge declaration and the validity of 2023 Ijaw Governorship agitation in Delta State

Because we are not known for equivocation, the time has actually come for the Ijaws to awaken Deltans to the validity of the Ijaw governorship agitation. Let the reverberations penetrate every habitable space in Delta State that the Ijaws have valid claims to produce the 2023 governor of Delta State, though not without functional and viable engagement of the stakeholders in Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts in the spirit of mutual political inter-dependence, political inter-connectedness, political alliance and poltical team work.

1. It must be admitted quite early here that in the historically quotable and verifiable equivocal stand of the Urhobos publicly presented with aplomb, panache and conviction by Chief Engr. Joe Omene (JP) as the President-General of Urhobo Progress Union, and Chief Mike T. Okenini (JP) as the National Publicity Secretary in 2015 on the governorship of Delta State lies the validity and logicality of the agitation for Ijaw governorship in 2023 because this is the time for us to reap the benefits of our unequivocal stand on the Delta State governorship from time immemorial – a historically verifiable unequivocal position that made the Ijaws feel morally and politically obligated to labour devotedly for both the Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts in the democratic enthronement of their sons as governors respectively in the history of Delta State.

2. However, to avoid misconstrual, we wish to state categorically here that the attribution of equivocal stand to the Urhobos is not a targeted positional derogation but rather it is meant to illuminate the fact that for the Urhobos who rejected, lampooned and ridiculed zoning arrangement in 2015 to reverse their collective stand to that of irrepressible romance with zoning arrangement implicated in their current position that the Ijaws should yield the Delta 2023 governorship space to them because, as it is conceived by them with their once rejected zoning arrangement in mind, it is now their inalienable right and turn to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023.It is this reversal of their position that has descriptively earned the Urhobos the attribution of ‘equivocal stand’ on the Delta State governorship matter.

3. For Urhobo people to hold two different positions between 2015 and 2021,the word equivocation is the lexical equivalent of this positional reversal in descriptive term.No derogation is intended here by the use of this descriptive term but rather it is designed to reinforce the position that it is now the turn of the Ijaws to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023 because the positional reversal on the governorship matter by the Urhobos signals the justness and justifiability in the quest of the Ijaws for the Delta State governorship.

4. Even at the risk of repetition it must be encored again, as one would in music when the track is instrumentally and thematically striking, that at the time the Urhobos took a position against zoning arrangement in 2015 which was the fulcrum of the campaign to give the governorship to the Delta North Senatorial District, there was no equivocation on the part of the Urhobos, but now that they have reversed their position in favour of zoning arrangement, the Urhobos have equivocated because their current stand is at odds with their collective position on zoning in 2015.

5. In 2015 in a paper entitled, ‘DELTA 2015 GOVERNORSHIP: ON UVWIAMUGE DECLARATION WE STAND’, publicly presented and signed by Chief Mike T. Okenini (JP), it had this to say: ‘We hereby state unequivocally that the purported zoning of the governorship position to a Federal Constituency in Delta North Senatorial District is UNACCEPTABLE TO THE URHOBO NATION.’ Similarly, in another paper publicly presented and signed by Chief Engr. Joe Omene (JP) entitled, ‘PRESS CONFERENCE BY URHOBO PROGRESS UNION ON THE POSITION OF URHOBO NATION TOWARDS 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS HELD ON 4TH NOVEMBER 2014’, it had this to say: ‘Let it be stated here without equivocation, that the assertion being made in some quarters that the governorship seat in Delta State is zoned to Delta North Senatorial District is not true …We note with pains, that it has become a common pattern that those who canvass the imaginary existence of a zoning arrangement also harp on the need for equity in the state, in respect of the governorship seat.’ For a people who intellectually condemned, demonised and ‘de-registered’ zoning arrangements as regards the Delta State governorship with a sustained momentum in 2015 , have today reversed their stand and reasoned politically that it is the Urhobos to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023 tells a story of equivocation viewed against the background of their anti-zoning position in 2015.

6. Most emphatically, the story of the Urhobos’ equivocal position on zoning arrangement today is graphically told by Senator Ighoyota Amori(the Chairman of Delta Central 2023 lobby group) in the Vanguard newspaper of 6 October 2021, page 12, when he said thus:’…the appeal from us to maintain the zoning arrangement based on senatorial districts in the state…It is only zoning on senatorial districts order that the PDP can continue with its winning streak in the state’.This position taken by Senator Amori in the interest of Urhobo people is a contradictory negation of the collective position of the Urhobos on zoning in 2015.This equivocal position of the Urhobos reinforces the collective position that 2023 is the ideal time for the Ijaws to produce the governor of Delta State.

7. It is high time we asked the Urhobos some salient questions.Do the Urhobos now feel entitled to the Delta State 2023 governorship by what they lexically termed ‘imaginary’ ‘zoning arrangement’ in the past? When did the ‘imaginary’ zoning arrangement morph into actuality? Can’t the Delta State 2023 governorship be left to the Ijaws who unequivocally believe every ethnic group must seasonally occupy the office of the governor on the strength of a written or unwritten agreement resident only in a mind regulated by right and wrong because it is futile to put nothingness on nothingness?

8. From whatever angle it is looked at, the agitation for the Delta State governorship is very much in favour of the Ijaws than the Urhobos. If the argument is based on the premise that zoning arrangement is the determinant or arbiter, the validity of the Ijaws’ stand is further reinforced because the Urhobos had benefited maximally from the so-called written or unwritten zoning arrangement through the predominant or hegemonic production of governor from 1964 to 2007. By implication, it is rightly now the turn of the Ijaws to enjoy the benefits of this zoning arrangement – imaginary, written or unwritten as it would be differently perceived, conceptualised and interpreted by people.

9. Even within Delta State, if we must intentionally invent abysmal ignorance of the governorship office enjoyed by the Urhobos in the Mid-Western and Bendel State days both as governor and deputy-governor, it is a historically referential and quotable fact that the Urhobos had twice occupied the office of the governor through Chief Felix .O. Ibru and Chief Onanefe James Ibori. It is, therefore, a reverberating teary cry for equity, fairness and justice that the Ijaws be given the democratic space to produce the governor of Delta State in 2023 since all the ethnic groups in the three senatorial district of the state have had the opportunity to produce the governor of the state except the Ijaws and the Isokos.

11. With the natural endowment of the Ijaws in oil and gas resources which constitute the backbone of the state economy, with the demographic strength, distribution and spread of Delta South Senatorial District which has a projected population of 1,304,747 and a voting strength of 1,236,000 which are pointers of economic and political capabilities and potentials sufficient to meaningfully engage Delta Central (with a projected population of 1,560,858, a voting strength of 827, 338) and Delta North (with a projected population of 1,236,840, a voting strength of 641,125), it is only fair and equitable to concede the 2023 governorship to the Ijaws because it is incontrovertible that the Ijaws are justifiably entitled to the Delta State governorship predicated on the historical lane meticulously walked on so far from 1964 till now. It is only fair that the Urhobos in Delta Central, and the Delta North Senatorial District aggregate and channel all their resources towards the production of an Ijaw governor in 2023 as a concessionary reciprocation of the political support they have got from the Ijaws in their governorship days because one good turn deserves another.

11. Viewed from the historical contours traced from the foregoing, it is very clear that there is no better time to appreciate or reciprocate the Ijaws for their dedicated supportive political roles played in the past for the Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts than collectively conceding the 2023 Delta State governorship to the Ijaws.

12. Let it go down memorably in history that for once Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts reciprocally recognise the semantic radiance/authority of the words ‘validity’ and ‘logicality’ in relation to the devoted move of the Ijaws to occupy the office of the Delta State governor in 2023. For once ‘validity’ and ‘logicality’ would feel so excited, ennobled and dignified that even Delta Central and Delta North Senatorial Districts respected them semantically by conceding the governorship to the Ijaws in Delta South Senatorial District in the spirit of reciprocity-consolidated response to the genuine agitation of the Ijaws for the 2023 Delta State governorship.

Without prevarication and equivocation, we are here specifically talking about the Ijaws in Delta South Senatorial District who have today presented His Excellency Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Senator James Manager and Hon.Chief Braduce Angozi as candidates for the 2023 Delta State governorship race.The focal point of the appeal here is for Delta Central and Delta North to democratically throw their supportive weight behind any of these Ijaw governorship candidates in 2023 as a visible demonstration of the validity in the agitation of the Ijaws for Ijaw governor in Delta State in 2023.