Intrigues, Factors to shape Delta State 8th Assembly Speaker Emergence
By; Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Going by available information at public domain, Delta State Governor, Rt Hon (Elder) Sheriff Francis Oborevwori, will on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at the Delta State House of Assembly Complex, proclaim and inaugurate the 29 Member-elect of the Delta State House of Assembly.
It is equally a statement of fact that immediately after the inauguration; members shall meet head-on, and perform their first in-house responsibility, of electing the Speaker of the House and other Principal Officers to direct the day-to-day administration of the chamber for the next four years.
Also working in favour of the proposed Assembly’s election is the well rooted zoning arrangement (gentleman agreement) within the Delta state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), The ruling party in the state according to sources has ceded Speaker position to the Delta South Senatorial District
The above declaration is predicated on the Fact that Delta Central Produced the Governor; Delta North had the Deputy Governor, a development that automatically bestowed the position of Speaker to the good people of Delta South Senatorial District.
Another hopeful sign that the deltans may witness a rancor-free relationship between the Executive and the Legislators is the awareness that the current governor of the state, was the immediate Speaker of the House for six years, during the 6th and 7th Assembly and under his watch, the House provided unalloyed support to the now over and done Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s led administration in the state.
However, as exciting as the above assessment and explanation stands, the question that is left unattended is; who among the Delta South produced Honorable members of the yet to be inaugurated Assembly shall emerge the 8th Speaker of the crude oil rich Delta state Assembly?
Adding context to the discourse, Delta South Senatorial district is made up of the Ijaws, the Isokos, the Itsekiri and a sprinkle of Urhobo ethnic nationalities. Delta South according to reports is the second largest district, trailing closely behind Delta North Senatorial District and ahead of Delta Central. Also, the Ijaw ethnic nationality in like manner tops the zone population-wise.
Also relevant to the present discourse is the information that in the recently concluded general election in the country, Joel Onowakpo Thomas, (now senate-elect), of Isoko ethnic nationality was voted on the platform of the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), to represent the Delta South senatorial district at the nation’s red chamber.
Against this backdrop, analysts and of course critical stakeholders believe that in the interest of equity, justice and fairness, the Speaker-ship position should expressly be conceded to Ijaws and Itsekiri. This argument stemmed from the fact that Joel Onowakpo Thomas, senatorial position, has, irrespective of Political party’s affiliation ‘consoled’ the Isokos.
While the above reasoning is considered not a political but a moral issue, there is equally an accompanying argument in some quarters that since the Ijaws produced the Deputy Governor in the past eight years of now rested Governor Okowa’s administration in the state; they should allow the Itsekiri to put forward as Speaker, a qualified member of the incoming Assembly from their axis.
Even as the above argument ‘flourishes, there exists yet an entirely separate set of iron cast opposition against it.
To this group, the Itsekiris should not contemplate the Speakership position this time around as one of their illustrious son, in the person of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan governed the state for good solid 8years (2007 to 2015), whereas the Ijaws, despite enjoying demographic advantage had not enjoyed that opportunity of producing the state governor in the past 24years of democratic experiment in the state.
For me, as the debate rages, one thing stands out; the incoming Honourable members of the Assembly must recognize the fact that the state is grappling with complex leadership needs and therefore, there is no provision for misguided emotionalism.
Also, another important point that must not be overlooked is that on no account must the House offer capacity, competence and character on the altar of zoning and other mundane considerations. Deltans need as leaders those that will provide leadership. The best must therefore be elected from the aforementioned zone.