Future generations are not going to ask us what political party were you in. They are going to ask what did you do about it, when you knew the glaciers were melting. – Martin Sheen
I woke up this morning with thoughts of the governorship election coming up on April 11th on my mind. I know the political calculations of nearly every politician at the moment, considering the fact that power has changed hands at the centre to the once opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC). Politicians with their Casanova lifestyles are already jumping ship from one party to the other, and even my native state is not caught off the defection fever. As sign of things to come, two Delta sons, Olorogun Jaro Egbo and Ayiri Emami has already joined the APC, all shouting change. Sadly enough, these were men that worked for the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan. Shameless I must confess, they could not wait for the pains of the man losing election to heal before stabbing him in the back. How wicked can men be.
As a person, I just hate to join a popular person or party. I choose to join the oppressed and the suffering masses in all I do. This was the scenario that made me join the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa team, when one of his trusted aides gave me reasons to follow him. Here was a man oppressed by the power that be, vowing to stop his governorship ambition. I met a man that day who was worried inside of him, but would not show it outside, but in me was the conviction that I will not just be the loser if he is stopped from flying the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag but all Deltans. This man was just too good to be allowed to fight the battle alone and without his knowledge, I jumped into the crew alongside some media friends to tell the world what Deltans stands to lose if a stooge is imposed on us.
We cannot move with the axiom of supporting and voting for a State Governor simply because the centre is controlled by such a party. We must not be swayed with the maxim that we cannot be an opposition party to the Federal. Before most of us decided to support SIAO for governor of Delta State, I knew he was going to be an opposition governor since I was supporting the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari. Only a man with an impeccable character and integrity is fit to be in the opposition in Delta State and as it stands, it is undeniable that among the trio jostling for the seat of Dennis Osadebey, only SIAO have the required credentials to mount the saddle.
Imagining a Delta State without a SIAO as a governor is like giving your brand new G Wagon vehicle to a nine years old baby to go for car racing, simply because he has a toy G Wagon which he uses for car racing in the house with other toy cars. Your guess is as good as mine of what will happen to the G Wagon. Only reversing it by the nine years old boy will see your cherished car sent to the mechanic which will cost you a fortune of your life to bring back. Without meaning to attack a personality, that is what a Great Ogboru governorship will be like if Deltans makes the mistake of giving him their votes.
Olorogun Otega Emerhor of APC to me is not in the race. I see him as a Minister of the Federal Republic with a juicy position since his party controls the centre. Only one man can we risk giving Delta State to handle. Only one man can make Delta State play the role of the opposition to the government at the centre just as Lagos was an opposition State to the centre. The PDP bigwigs in Delta State especially from Delta Central cannot allow itself to be carried away and think of joining the APC when it is crystal clear that they will rise again from their current political woes. What happens when they rise and Delta is in the hands of the opposition?
SIAO knows Delta State as a man knows his wife. SIAO knows Deltans needs as a surveyor knows the boundary of the land. In all his years of being in the corridors of power, he remains among the few who has a clean record sheet, devoid of any corrupt practices. Among the contenders, he remains the only detribalized one who has NEVER campaigned using tribe to woo voters. But why should he when he understands that even though his blood is Anioma, his heartbeat is Delta. Why should he campaign using ethnicity when he knows that the same poverty that ravages the land of Urhobo also tear asunder the land of Anioma. Tell us why he should campaign with tribe when he knows that the same security challenge that befalls Itsekiri also befalls the Ijaws. He knows all this and while his opponents uses tribe as a campaign weapon; he seeks the unity in diversity of all Deltans.
That is the kind of man we want to govern Delta. Imagining a Delta without Okowa as governor is seeing a once united people seeking to destroy each other because of ethnic differences. Imagining a Delta without Okowa as its governor is to see a people in the midst of plenty but all wallowing in poverty. Imagining a Delta without Okowa at the driver seat is having a State where its resources will be used to service long time debt owed financial institutions after running their companies underground. Oh, imagining a Delta without SIAO as the driving force is to have a government were mediocre and political babies take us all for a ride. Imagining a Delta without SIAO is tantamount to selling our birthright to pretenders who claims to be leaders, yet we are better than them in terms of governance.
A man who could not manage a common fish business cannot manage a complex state like Delta. How can a person who is unable to manage dead creatures lead living men with all the problems associated with diversities of men? The Delta State I know is like a mini Nigeria with multiple cities and all of them craving for attention. We do not need a tribal warlord who will take our commonwealth to build only their cities due to bitterness of the past years of losing elections. We do not need a man whose singular claim to governance is the endorsement of a tribal non political union like the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU). We are better than having such a man lead us in an era when power at the centre is no longer with the PDP.
Without any iota of doubt, only a SIAO led government can comfortably keep Delta State afloat as an opposition state and yet maintain good relationship with the Federal Government and won’t think of defection. This election is not about political parties but about personalities and if awards were to be given to the Delta political personality of the year, it is unarguable that SIAO will win it. Let us all go the way of the saying by “We will not agree on every issue. But let us respect those differences and respect one another. Let us recognize that we do not serve an ideology or a political party; we serve the people “(John Lynch)
We do we want to deny our generation the opportunity of a life time to see governance done the way in the countries we praise? Why then do we jettison the interest of the unborn ones for the unwritten rule of being majority and therefore must rule? If the crime of being from the minority group is SIAO’s undoing, we can as well begin to question God who decided to place the best candidate for 2015 in the minority. If we cannot question the all knowing God, Deltans, then let us allow our sense of patriotism allow SIAO lead.
Under a leadership of SIAO, take my words that we will no longer talk about our political party before jobs and admissions are given or where we come from but what is best for the next Deltan who needs his/her life improved through the SMART agenda. It is more than a statement but a promise.
The SIAO I know does not have bank accounts in foreign bank accounts despite being in government for years. The SIAO that I know lives in one of the cheapest buildings ever constructed despite all the years in government, a testimony to the fact that while others looted, he refused, knowing that a day such as this may come when he will stand before us to seek for our votes. If credibility is a name given to honest persons, it will gladly be added to his names. The SIAO that I know will give appointment to all the tribe equally, with all Deltans having level playing field if we can only give him our votes.
The two most important bills passed in the Senate are: Freedom of Information bill (FIOB) and the National Health Bill (NHB). Of the duo, SIAO sponsored the NHB, a feat not easily broken by first timers in the Senate. His colleagues who are from other states wished he was contesting for the governorship seat of the state, and right in our backyard he is. To reject him is to tell God that we reject the prosperity that he has freely given to us. To vote against him is to tell historians to record our names in the list of a people who had a chance to turn Delta State to a city of their dream but on ethnic frivolities blew away its chances. God forbid that we will sit under the moonlight and tell our unborn kids that “Once upon a time, Delta had a chance to be among the great cities of the world, but…”
As we make a date with destiny on April 11th 2015, let us proudly beat our chests and carve our names on marbles that we were part of those who set Delta State on the path of prosperity through our votes for Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa (SIAO). Yes we can make it happen.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, Managing Editor of Daily Voice NG, Editorial Board Chairman of Secrets Reporters News, Media Consultant and Co-Coordinator, Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD)can be reached on +2348022050733, +2348160067613 (SMS ONLY) or [email protected]. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86