Comrade Sheriff Mulade, chief executive officer of Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) on Wednesday, said that the Urhobos of Delta central senatorial district should throw their weight behind the Ijaw of Delta south so that the Ijaws will produce the governor for the 2023 governorship of the state.
This is even as president of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Barrister Pereotubo Oweilaemi, has previously declared that 2023 it is the Ijaws that should produce the state governor insisting that any political party that wants to win the governorship of the state will have their aspirations achieved if the party’s guber candidate is an Ijaw man.
Mulade, who is from Kokodiagbene community of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri south west, restated the desire of the Ijaw ethnic group that the 2023 governorship should be exclusively for the Ijaws and not any other group in the oil rich Delta state. This is on the basis of the fact that the Ijaws have made several sacrifices and it’s time to ascend the highest seat of power in the state.
Mulade said the 2023 governorship for the Ijaw nation is a done deal, noting that being the second largest ethnic nationality in the state, the Ijaws have paid their dues and the next suitable position for the Ijaws after the expiration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration is the seat of the state governor.
He said the Ijaws have been the tribe that produces the resources that feed Delta state, saying: “Our contributions to Delta state is over 60 percent and therefore we are the bedrock of Delta state.
“Again, when you look at Delta state, systematically, we all agreed to the principle of rotation and zoning. And that is why Felix Ibru, first civilian governor of Delta state is from the Delta central. In 1999, our dynamic leader of Delta state, Chief James Ibori, emerged the governor from the same central and he ran for eight years.
“In 2007, we voted in Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan from Delta south, he also completed eight years till 2015. And from 2015 to date, Delta north produced Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as governor. And for the fact that we believe in equity and fairness, the three senatorial districts have benefited. They have all produced governors for eight years each.
“Now, in 2023, it will now be an opportunity for the Ijaws to produce the governor since the rotational system has been completed. So, if the Ijaws produce the next governor in 2023, after the Ijaws from Delta south, it goes to the central then to the north.”
On the possibility of winning the Urhobos following the fact that Delta central has a higher population, Mulade said in politics, the number is not the issue, though he acknowledged the fact that it matters.
He said: “My position is not about Ijaw and Urhobo contesting the governorship. The Urhobos should have the understanding that the Ijaws of this state have tried for them. During Felix Ibru’s days we supported them. During Ibori’s days, we supported them. During Uduaghan and Okowa’s time, we have been supporting.
“This time, they should support us. They should see it from that perspective. Not that it must be Urhobo, it must be from central. No, they should see it that the Ijaws have been helping them because for every position we have been supportive. And mind you, we are the feeders of this state. They should take it from that angle.”
Though Mulade agreed that the Ijaws are at present enjoying the position of the deputy governor in Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, he said what the Ijaws need is not the deputy governor but the number one seat of the state which, according to him, is now due for the Ijaw people.
“We want to thank Deltans for nominating us to be deputy governor of Delta state. I remember, the office of the deputy governor is a spare tyre in government. Otuaro was nominated and selected by Governor Okowa. So, it is not an elective position. We are talking of elective position and the position that is due for the Ijaws is the governor of Delta state,” Mulade explained.
He said after the swearing in of Governor Okowa on May 29, 2019 “we will begin engaging critical stakeholders on the need to see reasons with us. It is not an issue of violence, it is negotiation and discussion.
“When the Urhobos were producing governors in the persons of Ibru and Ibori, other positions were going to other areas. And now that Okowa is there, other positions are with the Urhobos. So, the same thing will happen if the Ijaw man becomes the governor, other positions will go to the Urhobos.”
But an Urhobo youth leader, Eshanekpe Israel Akpodoro, said the rotational arrangement in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be maintained, noting that now that the three zones have benefited, it should now returned to where it started and continue in that order.
However, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, a chieftain of the PDP in Delta central, said the time for this clamour is not now saying this clamour will district Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in dishing out dividends of good governance to the people of Delta state.