As the struggle for which senatorial district should produce the next governor of Delta state rages, Delta North Traditional Rulers Forum, Friday, insisted on senatorial zoning, arguing that zoning based on ethnicity was not tenable.
Chairman of the Forum, Obi (Prof) Chike Edozien who disclosed this when the Delta Central Senatorial District, DC-23 led by Senator Ighoyota Amori paid a consultative visit to Anioma traditional rulers, said the status quo of the zoning arrangement put in place in the days of former Governor James Ibori should be maintained.
Edozien who was joined by over 35 Delta North Traditional Rulers in his palace to receive the DC-23 delegates, said: “Delta state is for everybody and as traditional rulers, we preach peace because we want peace to reign. When there is peace, there will be progress.
“We all know very well the position of Delta state in the nation’s economy. Therefore, Delta state cannot afford to make mistake, we can’t afford not to have peace because anything that disturbs Delta state peace is going to affect the whole country.
“This is our state, we don’t have any other place to relocate to; we want peace in Delta state. The governorship zoning system that has been working for us is on senatorial basis. The central has gone, which is Chief James Ibori, Delta South has gone, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and today our son, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa is on the saddle.
“When we were going round to canvass for support in 2015 for Delta North, our campaign was based on senatorial district. Today Delta North, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is now the governor, which by God’s grace his tenure will end in a year time.
“For somebody from Delta North to say he wants to be governor after Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is wrong, not that the person does not have the constitutional right, but is going to be a fruitless effort because the person will end up wasting his money. We Delta Northerners know that is our son that is occupying that position now.
“In Anioma Congress, we have the political class, we have the traditional rulers class and the business class. Our political class and business class have not come to us the traditional rulers to say there is a change in the zoning pattern. Even our son, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has not come to us to say there is a different arrangement apart from the senatorial zoning which we have been using.
“Since they have not come to us to say otherwise, the status quo remains, which means the senatorial district zoning arrangement is what we will still maintain. I therefore call on Urhobo people, which is Delta Central to be steadfast and put their house together.
“I congratulate DC-23 for being able to prune the aspirants to three. Any of these persons, Olorogun David Edevbie, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi and Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori are all qualified to be governor. I have known these three persons very well.”
Earlier in his remarks, National Chairman of DC-23, Senator Ighoyota Amori solicited the support of the Delta North Traditional Rulers, arguing that it was the turn of the Delta Central Senatorial District to produce the next governor.
Amori said Delta Central has waited for 16 years, adding that it was only proper to allow them to come in after Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
He maintained that zoning along ethnic nationality was not practicable, saying that the the state was made up of seven ethnic groups.