Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Two ethnic nationalities of Isoko and Itsekiri of Delta south senatorial district have expressed the desire to work in unison to ensure the emergence of an Itsekiri politician to represent the district at the National Assembly from 2019.
This is coming on the heels of a determined effort by the largest ethnic nationality in the area, Ijaw to retain the seat by presenting the incumbent senator, James Manager, who is seeking fifth term on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ijaw has 40 wards while Isoko has 24 with Itsekiri having 18, and a minute Urhobo with six wards.
Rising from a meeting at Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, leaders of Itesikiri nation and the umbrella body of the Isoko nation, Isoko Development Union, (IDU) on Wednesday vowed to ensure that an Itsekiri person wins the senatorial election next year, insisting that it was the turn of Itsekiri nation in an unwritten charter between the three ethnic nationalities.
Spokesman for the Itsekiri delegation, Mr. Brown Mene, while enumerating the zoning formula, noted that “since the inception of the second republic, Delta South senatorial district seat was zoned into the three ethnic nationalities (Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko) that made up the area.
“The rotational agreement for Delta South between the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri dated back to the second republic, to avoid a situation where the three tribes will fight themselves. From records, Ijaw and Isoko have gone there twice while Itsekiri has only gone there once. Now it is the turn of Itsekiri to go and represent us and we are appealing to our brothers from Ijaw and Isoko to support us on this course for equity.”
Stressing that the agreement was not based on political party, Mene went down memory lane to mention those who have occupied of the position including late Justice Atake (Itsekiri), Pa. Edwin Clark (Ijaw), late Francis Okpozo (Isoko), Stella Omu (Isoko) represented the district in the current republic between 1999 and 2003, when James Manager (Ijaw) took over and remained in the position till date.
Mene asserted that it was the turn of Itsekiri to produce the next senator in 2019, assuring that Itsekiri nation is committed to ensuring that the person that will emerge will represent the Ijaw, Isoko and itsekiri interest, just as he noted that the brotherly engagement with the Isoko leaders will be extended to their Ijaw counterpart.
President-General of Isoko Development Union, (IDU), Mr. Iduh Amadhe attributed the non rotation of the senatorial seat to various individuals from each ethnic nationality being zoned to failures on the parts of political leaders, adding that it will amount to “practicing political brigandage” against equity and justice for anybody in the senatorial district to seek for 4th or 5th term.
“To correct this abnormalities, the Olu of Warri, key traditional rulers from Isoko and Ijaw and the political elites from Delta South should meet and sign a memorandum of understanding for each of the ethnic nationality occupying the seat at least a maximum of two tenure. We, Isoko, Ijaw, and Itsekiri must come together and sign agreement of maximum of two terms for each ethnic nationality as it affects Delta South.”
Other Isoko leaders, Idodo Umeh, Dennis Etaluku, and Mike Osige, who corroborated the IDU President General’s statement, however urged Itsekiri nationality to as a matter of urgency and importance call for a meeting between the three major ethnic nationalities.
They assured the Itsekiri of full support of Isoko people in pursuit of their senatorial ambition in the forthcoming general elections, affirming that as a way to end the current political logjam, the Itsekiri people who they described as trustworthy and straight-forward should be backed for the senatorial seat.
In an interview with Journalists shortly after the meeting, the Prime Minister of the Warri Kingdom, Mr. Ayiri Emami who led the Itsekiri delegation expressed happiness with the disposition of Isoko leaders and assured that they will engage their Ijaw counterparts with optimism that they will key into the restart of the rotation agreement.