Dejure, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for three senatorial districts per State. Defacto however Delta, one of the thirty six States of the country operate a fourth senatorial district. Delta’s fourth senatorial district is within the State but not geographically defined. Indeed members of this District claim to represent other Districts of their tribes but alas they are pretenders. Only the gullible believe their claims of being detribalized as they emphasize tribalism using the PDP’s zonal rotation system to further divide us to their advantage. Delta’s fourth senatorial district is made up of people from all tribes in the State and the legal three senatorial districts. But they have formed a tribe of their own and Deltans must wake up to this reality. It is a case of they against us. No more no less. All the elections held in the State since the return to democratic rule has been between this cabal and the rest of us and the 2019 election will not be different.
Fortunately members of this group are well known and walk among us. Governor James Ibori founded this group since the ‘Grassroots Democratic Movement’ (GDM) days mainly to actualize his ambition. But the group has gone beyond that. Today Delta State is held captive by this mafia. Since 1999 it has become established that only members of this group get ‘elected’ or appointed into political offices. I pity those who claim that Ibori is Urhobo/Itsekiri, Uduaghan Itsekiri and Okowa Delta Igbo. These men care for nobody but themselves and their cohorts. In creating the group, Ibori began by embracing all but carefully selected members of his core group using the likes of Ighoyota Amori. Uduaghan built it further by ensuring only his favorite Uduaghan and Pinnick family members benefit from the system. Mid-way into his first term, Okowa’s push so far is only to get re-elected but like in the animal kingdom some animals are always more equal than others.
After the group grabbed power in 1999, it did everything to hold the State to ransom. Entry into the group became restricted. There were stories of mysterious deaths, accidents, assassinations and attacks that ensured power does not filter away. Rumors have it that dreaded shrines like those in Obodo and elsewhere in the State were used to perfect allegiance. No one should be deceived by their church attendance and numerous thanksgivings. If they were as religious as they pretend to be, why is Delta State comparatively one of the most under-developed, most indebted and corrupt State? The other day one of their Patrons asked Deltans to stop comparing the State with a ‘small’ State like Akwa-Ibom. We responded by asking him to compress Delta and see whether his eight years in the saddle has anything that will compare with Akwa-ibom.
One thing we must give credit to the group for is their strategic planning and organization in ‘winning’ all elections and holding on to power in the State. From Voter registration to appointment of electoral officers, infiltration of opposition parties, manufacturing of toxic votes, loyalty to group and its leaders etc. It will appear that the group will colonize Delta State forever as even labor leaders are co-opted at will and religious as well as traditional leaders knowing or unknowing fraternize and promote this evil. Top civil servants become their errand boys and University Professors their parrot. The media is replete with stories of Judicial Officers who do their bidding and of course law enforcement officials who swim in their trade.
Members of Delta’s fourth senatorial district are all super rich despite the fact that majority have no known source of income aside access to the State’s coffers. Today hotels, shopping malls, petrol stations and even churches are owned by these persons who publicly boast of being Delta’s political class. People we all knew as Abacha boys, those who could not manage a ten bed hospital, those whose water borehole business were comatose are Delta’s new billionaires. Yet the State lies in infrastructural decay and social/economic ruin. Bankers estimate that the combine wealth of these few persons is well over a hundred times that of all other Deltans put together.
Sadly, the reaction of most Deltans has been that of helplessness. Many have being cowed to the point of giving up believing that the State belongs to the Ibori mafia. Others are satisfied eating the crumps that fall from the table of our oppressors. Some even fear for their own lives and keep a safe distance away. But someone has said that the only way evil can triumph is when good men keep silent. And another writer says that the man dies in him who keeps quiet in the midst of tyranny and oppression.
This is a clarion call on Deltans from all walks of life to rise up and dislodge our oppressors. Enough is enough! 2019 presents a unique opportunity with a different political party in power at the Federal level.
‘Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand!’ Let us get united and get a non-member of Delta’s fourth senatorial district elected as Governor and see our State develop. The lame preparation of our opposition politicians cannot deliver us. We must all take interest in voter registration and ensure our oppressors don’t have a field day. The jobless youths that the mafia arm, use and abandon must be reoriented. With every one of us doing our part we can deliver our people. Whenever known members or sympathizers of our oppressors are appointed into the electoral body in the State, we must cry to high heavens. At least the social media is available. On election day, we can monitor and cage members and agents of the mafia. Toxic votes must be prevented. Indeed we can sensitize our people to the extent that the mafia will have to flee. Their infamous stomach infrastructure should be rejected by all.
Our Local Government workers have not been paid their salaries for well over a year. State civil servants are paid haphazardly using formulas that are at best wicked and demonic. Our roads are the worst in southern Nigeria today. Investors are pulling out of the State in droves with the mafia scrambling over the properties they leave behind. Our youths have resorted to all kinds of things to survive yet some people brag about their factories in China and South Africa as well as Malls in Dubai and millions in Foreign Banks. We arguably have the highest number of poor people in the south of the country. Yet Delta’s monthly federal allocation remains one of the highest in the country. Are we going to allow this situation to continue? God forbid.
Revd Waive is Founder and Senior Pastor of Church of the Anointing, Enerhen, Warri, Delta State.