A group from Okwe, a suburb of Asaba, the Delta state capital, has accused the Delta state government and the political leaders of Oshimili south local government area of allegedly denying the area the opportunity of political representation in government and the privilege of producing the Oshimili south local government chairman for the January 6, 2018 local council elections in the state.
In a similar vein, the group which protested to the Delta state house of assembly and the state government house accused Peter Onwusanya, who represents the local government in the state house of assembly of deceiving the people that he had done his best for the constituency.
In the protest which lasted for more than four hours, the group led by Nduka Uzogor, said the community has been marginalised in the area of political appointments, elective positions, infrastructurual and man-power development and social amenities that could make life meaningful for the dwellers of the area.
He said: “Over the years, our people have been marginalised when it comes to state government appointments, yet we vote massively during elections. Since the inception of democracy in 1999 and in all the successive governments, no indigene of Okwe has ever held any major appointment or elective position in Oshimili south local government area of Delta state.”
In a protest letter made available to emeraldng.com, the group listed 40 political postions which have been given to Oshimili south from 1997 till date but have only been enjoyed by people from Oko and Asaba with no one for the people of Okwe community.
The letter read in part: “Currently out of 40 appointments from the local government, Asaba has 30, Oko has nine but none for Okwe community. This is to show the degree of neglect and abandonment being suffered by Okwe people just because we are part of Oshimili south. It is crystal clear that Okwe clan has always hijacked appointments and elective positions meant for Oko and Okwe.
“Coming to the area of infrastructure like roads and other social amenities, without mincing words, we are highly neglected. No government has ever renovated any good road in Okwe, let alone constructing a new road, apart from the current one the state government has embarked on without completion. We feel rejected and abandoned by the state government whenever we go around our community. Most roads are neither trekkable nor motorable.
“At the inception of this administration, we were happy when we saw heavy duty caterpillars, grading roads leading from SIO to Okwe clan, thinking that the project will come to fruition but alas, the state of the road now is better imagined than experienced as many occupants of that area have packed out and relocated to better places.”
In an iterview with journalists, Uzogor said since the creation of the state, “We have not had any position in this state. Chairman of council, SSA, no one. So, we are asking, why? Governor has appointed over 500 SSAs, none to Okwe indigenes. We don’t know what is our offense. Whatever the former speaker, Peter Onwusanya, is saying is not representing us. We voted for him but he is not representing us. In 2014, the Oshimili south chairmanship was zoned to Okwe and Oko, when we came out, we were told to wait until 2017. Come this time now, the same Oko man from the same ward has been given the chairmanship slot. We need the chairmanship now.”
Former speaker, Peter Onwusanya, whom the people accused of poor representation, told journalists at the state house of assembly that for him he has done his bit in terms of effective representation and facilitating infrastructural development for the Okwe people.
He said the deplorable roads have been handled adding that the capital territory has been on top of the game, insisting that after the rains the capitla territory will revisit the school environment in Okwe.
Hence, he said: “They were misadvised. We have a lot of persons who have political appointments from Okwe axis. The last secretary to the government is from Okwe. The SSA to the governor on political matters is from Okwe. And a lot of them. So, it’s a wrong perception that they are marginalised. Like Oliver Twist, they can always ask for more.
“My job as a legislator is facilitation. And we have facilitated the repair and the rebuiding of the roads. They have two major roads, one has been tackled almost 90percent. And the one left now is the erosion area which the capital territory will visit after the rains.”
Chief of Staff to the governor, Tam Brisibe, who represented Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the state government house, assured the protesters that the government will look into the situation, saying: The governor is not around. He will address the situation as soon as he comes back.”