From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
People of Isoko nation in Delta State have endorsed Thomas Joel-Onowakpo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Delta South senatorial district.
They made the endorsement at Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state during this year’s annual general conference of Isoko Development Union (IDU) which is the apex socio-cultural body for the entire Isoko nation.
While Onowakpo, a former chairman of the state internal revenue board, is of the Isoko ethnic stock, his main challenger, Michael Diden of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is Itsekiri by tribe.
But speaking on behalf of traditional rulers, youth groups, clergymen and other key stakeholders of Isoko nation, president general of IDU, Christopher Akpotu, said the decision to back their son was based the on the need for equity and natural justice.
Akpotu said Isoko nation resolved to support its own for the election, irrespective of political party affiliation.
He said they had before now supported their Itsekiri counterparts for two terms as governor of Delta State and Ijaw for 20 years at the Senate as well as two terms as deputy governor of the state.
He said it was only reasonable, just and fair for Isoko to be supported for Senate by all Delta South’s ethnic groups, just as he observed that the Isoko nation has been marginalised for so long.
Akpotu, therefore, charged all Isoko sons and daughters both at home and in the diaspora to take full ownership of the senatorial candidacy of Onowakpo of the APC as Isoko project irrespective of their political party leaning.
Chairman of the Isoko Traditional Rulers Council and Odio-Ologbo of Oleh kingdom, A. W. O. Ovrawah, declared that the entire Isoko nation has unanimously agreed to elect Joel-Onowakpo.
Joel-Onowakpo thanked Isoko people for standing by him, and assured he shall serve Delta South with the fear of God, even as he urged the Isoko people to be firm, resolute and stay true to their resolve.
He said supporting him is not just to correct the age-long marginalization of the Isoko people, but to send the most qualified person on the ballot in terms of qualification, public service experience, competence, track record and business acumen to represent Delta South.
The APC candidate said jobs, empowerment and development will be massively created while ensuring Delta South takes the centre stage at the National Assembly.