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Published On: Fri, May 2nd, 2014

Delta Gubernatorial Political Game: Who Plays it Better?

By Onajite Ese
The whistle may not have been blown, neither has the starter gun been fired, but the inevitable truth and incontrovertible fact is that the political race has since begun, and it will be foolery for anyone to deceive him or herself that they are waiting for the umpire’s blast before they set out.
In fact, all over Nigeria, the race for elective political positions has long started, particularly the governorship and even the presidential races. From Kano to Gombe, Sokoto to Kwara, Lagos to Ogun, Rivers to Bayelsa and Abia to Imo states, all aspirants have adorned their political regalia and entered into the political theatre to display their political artistry or lack of it. The situation in my beloved Delta State is not any different. However a good number of the aspirants have turned into proverbial Ostriches, hiding their heads in the sand, hoping that no one is seeing them.
While Dr Ngozi Olejeme, Elder Godsday Orubebe, Hon. Ndudi Elumenu and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa from Delta North and South are very visibly active on the scene, consulting and interacting with stakeholders, there seem to be a lull in the Delta Central political space at the moment. Though no one has yet publicly declared in the state, the general belief is that all the prospective aspirants are setting up structures in various parts of the State, while meeting relevant elites as well as grass roots people. Ifeanyi Okowa is surreptitiously going around campaigning, but has not declared his interest because he is allegedly waiting for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to declare first before making his own ambition official. Same goes to the Amazon of Delta politics, Dr Olejeme.
However, very little is happening in Delta Central. What could be wrong? Why is Delta Central not showing serious interest in this all important race that may make or mar the Urhobos come 2015? It is unbelievable that ten months to the general election, we have very few Urhobos who have shown interest in this all important race. But if you ask me, I would say it portends good omen because it is certainly good for Urhobo to have few aspirants in the primaries.
It is no hidden news that there is currently jitters in the camp of the Delta North aspirants as the bug of having so many aspiring candidates from the same Senatorial zone has finally caught up with them, and they can now understand our pain as a people when there were many Urhobos in the primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007. The Delta North aspirants are currently eating the humble pie and urging each other to step down for the other, with no success so far.
I sit down at my crystal ball and gaze into the future and what I see makes me happy, which should definitely make all Urhobo leap for joy. The fewer the candidates from Delta Central the better, the merrier! What Urhobo must look out for and avoid is sponsored Urhobo pretenders flooding the political space to run against the real contenders to split their votes and diminish their chances. Never again shall we be bought over with their filthy wealth to cause crisis in our political home as it was in the past. Whoever cannot take his eyes off such money should collect it and build a country home while throwing their weight behind the anointed candidate of the Urhobos which we have all agreed will be engineered by our umbrella body, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU).
Urhobo should not worry that none of their political titans have begun public consultations like their counterparts from the South and North. Politics is not a game won by early risers, it is won by good and wise planners who like the astrologers can tell from the sky when it is right for the ship to sail. That no Urhobo son has come out in the open to host various pressure groups, consult monarchs and community elders does not mean that they are not doing anything. Come to think of it, will a Great Ovedje Ogboru, Otega Emerhor, Amos Utuama or an Ovie Omo-Agege keep low profile if the stage was truly set? Certainly not!
My take is that all the potential Urhobo governorship aspirants are doing the necessary groundwork before they step out. This humble posture also shows to the world and other aspirants that as much as we want the governorship position, we will not disobey the law of the land by campaigning secretly, when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not declared the field open, nor are we desperate for power. This political mien is what great men are made off, little wonder the current governor of Delta State who got his tutelage under ex-governor James Onanefe Ibori, an Urhobo man, never entered the race in 2007 until he was certain that he is the anointed one.
Be that as it may, our opponents must not catch us sleeping while they embark on both underground and open campaign. The Delta Central aspirants should begin a vigorous publicity and image enrichment campaigns, beginning with the New Media, popularly called online or social media before coming to the conventional media, which may never have the weight of these online bloggers and journalists in this day and time, that is if they have not begun. For those who are conversant with online media, Olejeme, Okowa and Elder Godsdey Orubebe have marshaled out forces to begin their campaigns from there. While the Urhobo aspirants are faithful to the tenets of INEC, the opportunity offered by the online media should not slip them by.
For all the Urhobos care, our brothers from other Senatorial districts can connive with our prodigal brothers and self-anointed prophets whom they have chosen as their campaign Director Generals. But when the day of reckoning comes, let no one put the blame on ‘Prophet’ Olori Nostradamus Magege, Terry Noah or the illustrious Moses Odibo for their failures in Urhobo land, because when that Day of Judgment comes, it is then we will know truly who can deliver Urhobo votes.
Before it is too late and it be said that Onajite Ese was alive when the Esaus who sold their birthright could not meet their own side of the bargain, I owe it to my dear brethren from the Anioma area to educate them on the people they have mistakenly chosen as their campaign managers. For the records, these are men who have no political standing in their localities or even in the political parties they belong. One of them is a Surveyor who is not recognized in the Surveying circle apart from getting contracts from his boss who was a former Minister, while the other, a dustbin merchant, is just an empty vessel that makes so much noise that he is deaf to. These are certainly not men that should head an organisation such as a gubernatorial campaign.
As I wrote in a previous article about the arrival of the pall bearers, I am sounding it again as a warning that the pall bearers have all arrived at the destination of Anioma and they will gladly carry their political coffin to its desired location. Unfortunately, in politics, there are no cemeteries but oblivion. I am certain that when these Urhobo leprosy infected political outcasts finish their works with the political juggernauts of Anioma and Ijaw extraction, there will be nowhere to take their remains to, other than for them to go into political extinction, with me there to say “I told you so.”
All sons and daughters of Urhobo who are waiting for UPU’s direction on where to go and what to do, please remain calm because there is still more than enough time. UPU has always performed and 2015 will not be any different. UPU is taking its time so as not to back the wrong horse this time. It is a known fact that the UPU has never disappointed those they support. UPU will marshal out its entire arsenal as was the case in the last election. But this time we must act wisely and back a man or woman who can close the deal, and not one who will short change our support.
Let’s not forget that we need our brothers in Isoko, Ijaw, Itsekiri and Anioma in this struggle. The Urhobo aspirants must begin to build political bridges across the state and sew the political garment of many colors with all tribes because to enthrone true democracy and achieve across the board economic prosperity, Urhobo cannot work alone.
Anti-zoning forces are everywhere – North, Central, and South, waiting to be mobilised. Let no one be deceived that Delta Central is not serious or our aspirants are waiting for the State governor to give the go-ahead before they begin, neither are they considering the PDP zoning formula which has been laid to rest by the words of no other than the Secretary to the State Government, Ovuozorie Macaulay and re-echoed by two Anioma sons who happen to be governorship contenders, Ifeanyi Okowa and Victor Ochei, that zoning is dead and cannot work since it promotes mediocrity.
Like an eagle, let few Urhobos vie for party tickets, but like a wounded lion, let the Urhobo chosen candidate go into the field to reclaim her due and as an elephant, be gentle in the forthcoming victory, for in this election, it is “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be, for without victory, there is no survival” – Winston Churchill.

These words, you will remember…

Onajite Ese, a Journalist and Media Relations expert writes from Lagos and can be reached on 09095885082 (SMS Only) or onajiteese@gmail.com

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