It has come to my notice that some Ika indigenes are campaigning against our own brother and son Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent governor of Delta State, either for themselves or on behalf of their political parties for the 2019 general elections. In Ika land we have traditions and customs by which “Nwata mee ihien Ali asor, Ndichien agwaa n’omee ihien Ali asor, adowa eka nti”. This is why as an elder statesman, politically and by age, I am eminently qualified to declare this action as a TABOO. It is as bad, if not even worse than a man sleeping or wanting to sleep with his own brother’s wife. I am therefore calling on all “Ndichien Ali Ika” and traditional fathers to join me in declaring this action as SACRILEGE because “Ahun ekwuni egbu ndichien, ehwu anuni egbu ikoro”. If we speak against taboo, God and our ancestors will forgive us and if we fail to speak out now, in future, our children will blame us, claiming that we did not tell them that they were doing something wrong.
Talking politics but not partisan politics, I want to inform Ika people that politicians from other communities in Delta State are laughing at us that Ika people are politically naïve and that by condoning the irresponsible action of a few of our sons, we are inviting or encouraging other ethnic groups in Delta State especially from Anioma nation, to contest against their brother, Governor Okowa.
1. Our son, Dr. Okowa is the third executive governor of Delta State whose predecessors were in office for two terms of four years each. During Chief James Ibori’s second term bid, no Oghara, Okpe or well cultured Urhobo person challenged him. The only challenger, from Abraka which is far from being Oghara or Okpe has now made himself a SERIAL GOVERNORSHIP PRETENDER OF DELTA STATE.
2. The immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, an Itsekiri man had challengers led by the Delta State serial gubernatorial pretender but no ITSEKIRI PERSON dared to challenge him despite their internal grumblings against Dr. Uduaghan. This is because they were duty bound to protect their own despite his shortcomings.
3. Delta political leaders have now come to accept that governorship slot should rotate among the senatorial districts. That is why we have no serious politician from Delta South and Central Senatorial Districts challenging Sen. Okowa’s second term bid. That is why; even the APC which is desperate to have a foothold in Delta State is only encouraging the likes of Prof. Pat Utomi and Hon. Victor Ochei from Delta North to challenge Okowa.
4. If we have to judge Dr. Okowa on PERFORMANCE in his first term, I WANT TO PUBLICLY SAY IT FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWO MONTHS THAT DR. OKOWA HAS PERFORMED BEST IN THE HISTORY OF DELTA STATE. This declaration was also made by both Chief James Ibori and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, both former governors, at Asaba when Dr. Okowa was hosted by the traditional rulers of Anioma Nation (Delta North).
5. Talking further on performance, with Ika/Anioma nation in focus, for sixteen (16) years, before Okowa took over, Ika and Anioma people kept complaining that the senatorial area had been seriously neglected because the then governors concentrated their efforts in their areas. But in just 31/2 years, any blind Anioma person can see that the Old Lagos/Asaba Road, started by Dr. Uduaghan in his first year and abandoned, has been completed by our son with proper drainage and street/traffic lights. He is aiming to connect all the villages in Ika land with the completion of Ozanogogo Road, Boji-Boji to Owa-Oyibu, Owa-Alero to Idumuesah, Owa-Alero to Ute-Okpu, Umunede to Umutu (on-going), which will connect Otolokpo, Ute-Okpu, Ute-Erumu, Ekuku-Agbor, Owa-Alidinma; Nsukwa to Owa-Alidinma via Agbor-Alidinma (completed); Obi-Iduhor to Agbor-Alidinma (completed); just to mention a few. Are we to begin to mention internal roads in Boji-Boji urban, Ime-Obi, Abavo, Umunede, Igbodo, etc. or the hospitals at Agbor, Umunede, Abavo etc? Moving on to Asaba, can’t we see the stadium started by Chief Ibori but abandoned, the Airport by Dr Uduaghan through which he squandered over ₦40 Billion but was unusable until Dr. Okowa turned it into an international airport capable of handling even bigger aeroplanes, is it the on-going Asaba drainage system which the former governors never gave thought to? We should not forget in a hurry that Deltans from outside Ika land have nick-named Dr. Okowa, ROAD MASTER, because of the unprecedented number of roads constructed in all the local government areas in less than three years.
6. I have not seen or heard of any current Ika-born politician that can do better than Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa. If there is, let him or her stand up to be counted, by presenting their articulated programmes through the media or town hall meetings and records of their previous achievements, not by Bill Boards. I know that there are some Ika people who are doing very, very well in their gifted areas of endeavour. It is however doubtful it any of them would want to dabble into governance at that level and even if they would want to, there is no guarantee that they would repeat their excellent performance in politics. We are proud of them all and we pray for their continued success in their god-given pursuits because they are contributing immensely to the physical and human development of Ika land and her people. Every Ika man, woman, youth or traditional ruler, apart from a few spoilers, is saying that Okowa is doing very well and is campaigning for him. This has been confirmed by one of the aspirants for the 2019 general elections who recently publicly shot himself in the foot. Everywhere he went, his supporters told him that they would vote for him for the position he is aspiring for but that they would vote for Okowa for governor. This vote of no confidence on his political party so much embarrassed him that he expressed his disappointment through the media when he told them to reject Okowa and vote for the governorship aspirant/candidate of his party. IKA PEOPLE HAVE MADE UP THEIR MIND TO SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR DR. OKOWA; NO AMOUNT OF WHIPPING OR MONEY WILL MAKE THEM VOTE AGAINST HIM.
7. Ika people and by extension, Nigerians are now getting matured politically. They are moving away from stomach infrastructure and sentiment to issues and real infrastructure development achievements of politicians. We should not base our judgment on sanguinity or party loyalty. IF OKOWA HAS NOT DONE VERY WELL, JOHN EHIKWE WOULD BE THE FIRST PERSON TO AGITATE THAT ANOTHER IKA/ANIOMA PERSON SHOULD TAKEOVER FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.
8. We should learn political lessons from Yoruba people who are much more advanced than we are. Despite the amount of Billions of Naira spent by the failed government in Osun State, to buy the conscience of Osun people and the heavy descent on Osun people by Mr. President, governors and ministers, Osun people collected the money from them and voted against the leadership of the government party. Let us wait and see where their manipulative strategy of a re-run election will lead them to. Only God knows how much money they are going to use and try to buy only 3,000 votes that are at stake at the re-run election.
9. My advice is that any Ika person publicly or privately working against our son’s second tenure should desist from doing so. If they continue to the end with their sacrilegious activity, they will foolishly retire themselves from politics in Ika land. They should be WARNED because the gods are watching.
10. I will like to end this piece by making it abundantly clear that I have made this statement as an objective ELDER STATESMAN in the interest of the generality of Ika people as against individual interest. It is not in support of PDP simply because Okowa is a member of PDP. As an Elder Statesman, I am now above partisan politics but this does not mean that when partisan politicians associate with me, that I have become a member of their party. I welcome politicians across party lines. I give objective advice to all who seek it from me and some leave my house not too happy with what they have heard from me. THAT IS THE ROLE OF ELDER STATESMEN. I do not tell people everything they expect to hear from me. MY POLITICAL PARTY NOW IS TRUTH AND WELFARE OF IKA NATION AND HER PEOPLE.
ELDER CHIEF JOHN EHIKWE