The people of Ijaw have remained unwilling to allow Urhobo people of Delta central produce the governor after Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s tenure in 2023. To them, 2023 is their turn. They have held tenaciously to the belief that the senatorial arrangement has expired, hence, it’s time for tribal arrangement and that must begin from Ijaw land.
The Urhobos of Delta central have also remained resolute that it is their turn despite the fact that they presented candidates in the 2014 primaries that produced Governor Okowa as PDP candidate which eventually ended in him becoming governor. Although Okowa had reportedly promised ceding the governorship to the Urhobos during his 2019 electioneering campaigns, he seems to be playing middle of the road role in the build-up to the governorship of 2023.
As it is now, there are three strong men from the Ijaw axis which include the governor’s deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, Senator James Manager and Braduce Angozi who are neck deep in the race. A few days ago, photos surfaced online showing James Manager kneeling before James Ibori purportedly to get his political blessings.
However, political pundits are of the view that the zoning arrangement should be maintained for stability and unity in the state. But the Ijaw people are not ready for this. For them, they are set to clinch the ticket smidst all odds. They have been mobilising from all fronts to win the ticket.
But there are fears of what may happen if both Urhobo and Ijaw trudge on to the primaries towards the end of 2022. There are three aspirants from Ijaw axis. In the Delta central area, aspirants are emerging almost on daily basis hence, it is no longer possible to get accurate statistics.
While the Ijaws have remained defiant in their pursuits, political analysts are of the belief that it is better the Ijaws wait for the Urhobos and support them to win the 2023 election and get it on a platter of gold after eight years. This belief is being upheld by people who believe that if the Ijaws battle Urhobos to the end and eventually loses it to the Urhobos, they may likely not get it in 2030. This is the biggest concern of the political tacticians in the state.
As at then, the Ijaws will not have moral justification to say it is “our turn”. The Urhobos can continue to hold on to power ad infinitum. The argument will be that they fought to get the power in 2023. The race was not open for them only because the Ijaws fought against them. That may be the end of zoning in the fragile political setting of Delta state.