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Published On: Wed, Nov 13th, 2019

Delta 2023: Urhobo, Zoning And Multiplicity Of Agitators

By Young Erhuirhoro
LAGOS NOVEMBER 13TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Like what one political analyst said recently in the social media over the race to Dennis Osadebey House at Asaba come 2023 by prospective contenders, that it’s too early to discuss the political process of 2023; considering the fact that the present government is less than a year. Without doubt, I want to concur to what this political analyst said. Yes, it’s really too early to discuss about 2023. Indeed, discussing about 2023 now is just a political strategy to divert the attention of the incumbent government in the state from achieving her set goals and implementing her numerous policies.
In this very situation, our prospective contenders to the governorship seat are only telling the sitting governor to pull his political weight and even the state financial resources behind that candidate of his choice; therefore asking him to leave such primordial tasks of developing the state and to also fulfill his mandate and electioneering promises to the electorates. This new political ideology being developed by some new political scientists will never take the state to an advance level of political socialization as observed in advanced countries around the world.
However, the point of interest in this short discourse is about the political formula of zoning the governorship seat from one senatorial district to another. This formula was developed by the PDP in the state in order to orchestrate equity, fairness and justice among the three senatorial districts in the state and not on population theories. Whether other political parties in the state like it or not, the political system is already embedded to our democratic practices. The system could not be revolted against as such by other political parties because since 1999 in Delta state, the PDP as a political party is the only party forming the government of the day. No doubt, to a lay man’s understanding, the political system of zoning the governorship seat is very much accommodating and fair enough to carry every ethnic group in the state along. However, my problem in this political system is not the zoning per se but the selection process involved in picking who the crown fits. In this case, the PDP has become a kind of a political cult where only cabals are usually crowned kings among the people. You must belong to the high level class in the party before your voice could be heard.
Very importantly, such cabers in the PDP family from Delta Central Senatorial District whose turn it is to produce the governor of the state come 2023 have started warming up to be projected by such political dictators in the state as usual. We know that the Delta Central Senatorial District is a peculiar senatorial district unlike the two other ones. It’s peculiar because it consist of only the Urhobo ethnic group. There is no other mixture. So we can rightly say that, it’s the turn of Urhobo to become the next governor of Delta state. Having know this, there is no way we should charge the air at the moment with these much political rattlings everywhere like a toothless bull dog. It can barks but cannot bite.
In another development, we should not forget that the present government is less than a year. We still have barely three years to the 2023 general elections. Why must we be disturbing the political atmosphere at the moment? In fact, we have one kingdom but many kings. In a situation where the entire senatorial district like in this case is virtually one tribe, I believe the issue of who should be our governor won’t be difficult to solve. Unlike both Delta North and South where they have different ethnic groups. In these places, when it was their turn to produce the governor, there were no agitations and rivals as it’s now with us. Urhobo is one kingdom that has many kings. Without doubt, this is where the zoning process is politically bad. It always prevent the people from choosing their choice through the ballot papers. It’s just a system where some selected few made themselves king makers in the state and in most cases, the decision and choice of these cabers is always the final. We need the best in this state. The zoning system though it inculcates fairness and equity but it won’t give us the best hand in the political administration of the state.
Another area I want us to look into in this discourse is the multiplicity and influx of political and social groups across the state. Today, there are already many political groups in Delta Central Senatorial District clamouring support for these contenders. In other words, this is where the other tribes in the state see the Urhobo as betrayals and truce breakers. This is where the political adage, “Urhobo Wayo” came from. Setting up these different political groups is not to build cohesion and unity among the Urhobo people but it’s a kind of divide and rule game to reduce the political power of the Urhobo people. They are setting up these political groups now to enable them have strong tap roots before 2023. In fact, if they even remove the issue of zoning from our polity, and they open the position of the governor to the entire state, if care is not even taken, Urhobo can still stand the chance to lose because of our betrayal nature. As a people, the Urhobo prefer to even work and vote for an Ijaw or Kwale man than to work for Urhobo man. This has been our weak points in Nigerian Politics even since 1960. Our neigbouring ethnic groups always count on these weak points to use us as political puppets and toys in every political process.
We should not be deceived, all these everyday political meetings and political visitations across Urhoboland is to set us against ourselves before 2023. In fact, this is not the issue of the PDP or the APC making the government. The issue here is the unity to achieve our common purpose. Though we may not lose the position because it’s zoned to us but we may get it wrong again by those people that called themselves “fathers of the state” to impose on us their loyalists. In this case, there would be a replay of the 1999 and 2003 political drama in the state. In order to avoid this ugly scenario this time, Urhobo people should put their house in order. Urhobo is at the moment like sheep without a shepherd. Urhobo is a kingdom with many kings. Indirectly, such a kingdom has no king. This is practically the situation of the Urhobo people in respect of this 2023 governorship struggle. Our political heavy weights should at this moment throw their weight behind the incumbent government to enable it succeed and achieve its set goals. This is better than tearing the senatorial district apart by embarking on unnecessary mosquito campaigns which are aim at setting the entire Urhobo nation into uncontrollable political confusion that would make the other ethnic groups to laugh at us. In this case, where is our population as the largest and biggest ethnic group in the state? Secondly, where is our political strength that we are so much proud of as the lion of Delta state? You can see that at the end, our neighbours would wisely use these two important political tools against our existence in this state to their own advantage. Let us not be an empty drum that makes the loudest noise in every electoral year!

Young Erhiurhoro; Kjc is a reporter and a member of the Urhobo Historical Society.

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  1. In this article titled: “Delta 2023: Urhobo, Zoning And Multiplicity Of Agitators,” Young Erhiurhoro didn’t portray the Urhobo Nation is a positive light which is most unfortunate. He said some political groups have been set up with the sole intention to support certain politicians come 2023. According to Young,such groupings led to the political adage in which Urhobo is called “Urhobo Wayo!” Young should be made to know that the phrase: “Urhobo Wayo” was never a political adage but a misunderstanding of the Urhobo Language by the Yorubas who whenever they heard the Urhobos holding meetings in Yoruba lands and were saying, “Urhobo wado! Urhobo wado!” misunderstood it for “Urhobo Wayo.” That was the origin of that derogatory and demeaning phrase.Urhobo has rejected this useless phrase which I think shouldn’t be amplified by an Urhobo man or woman!

    Again, Young said “Urhobo still stand the chance to lose because of our betrayal nature!” Is it really our nature to betray one another as Urhobo? I don’t think so. But my worry is that Young didn’t state any instance where one Urhobo man or woman betrayed another Urhobo person. In this regard, Young can’t convince any Urhobo person that it is the nature of Urhobo to betray themselves. This is an unnecessary phrase that should be discarded.

    Young further said “As a people, the Urhobo prefer to even work and vote for an Ijaw or Kwale man than to work for Urhobo man. This is has been our weak points in Nigerian Politics since 1960. This is another unguarded utterance by Young. This is so because if Urhobo prefer to work and vote for Ijaw and Kwale, how did an Urhobo man, late Chief Jereton Mariere become governor of the defunct Midwest Region in 1963? How did an Urhobo man, late Chief Demas Akpore become deputy governor of the defunct Bendel State in 1979? How did Ijeh become deputy governor of the defunct Bendel State in 1983? How did late Chief Felix Ibru become governor of Delta State in 1992? How did Chief James Ibori become governor of Delta State in 1999? How did Prof. Amos Utuama become deputy governor of Delta State in 2007? Is Young saying the Urhobos worked and voted against themselves and yet won elections to those offices? Or, is Young saying that the Ijaw and Kwale who love themselves so much worked against themselves that enabled Urhobo to win elections and occupied those offices?

    My take is this, we the Urhobo should desist from denigrating ourselves because we are not a bad ethnic group rather, we are a great ethnic nationality in Nigeria. Let us write articles that will portray the Urhobo nation in a positive light rather than in a bad light.

    There is no argument about 2023, it is the turn of Delta Central Senatorial District to produce the next governor and it will be so by the grace of God Almighty.

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