ANALYSIS: COUNT DOWN TO 2011 – Representation of delta north and Ika nation at the national assembly

Senator Patrick Osakwe represents Delta North in the upper chamber of the National Assembly (NASS). He is a third term senator, having been there since 1999. In his first and second terms from 1999 to 2007, he used PDP ticket to be elected. In the current third term, however, he used Accord party (AP) ticket. It was not without the support of very powerful power brokers in the state, who were perceived by many Delta Northerners, to have imposed the monstrously wealthy senator on his senatorial district. The maverick senator has since run back (to) under the umbrella, and is vying to occupy the senatorial chair again till 2015.

Not a few Delta Northerners wonder where chief Osakwe’s courage comes from. Is it from his head, heart or his deep bogus pocket? The man they say is yet to prove himself a grassroot politician, and is reputed to be having his heart in his pocket, closely and diligently husbanded, with great relish. At a senatorial party meeting he attended quite sometime ago, crisp currency notes were poked out of his roomy pocket with jibes and jokes at which party faithful laughed derisively. It can be imagined that many are waiting impatiently to see how the longest serving senator intends to wave his magic wand once again and to what purpose, he having long disconnecting himself from his constituency.

There are other contenders for the senate. These include Chief (Mrs) Ali, former PDP National Chairman’s wife (defeated by Osakwe in 2007), Ned Nwoko who also vied before and Nduka Nwoye of Idumuje- Uno in Aniocha North like Ned Nwoko. Other contenders are Dr. Cairo Ojoughoh and Dr. Arthur Okowa. Of these five aspirants, Nduka Nwoye appears to be the darkest horse while Dr. A.I Okowa is apparently the strongest and the most widely supported. Not withstanding the fact that Hon Pascal Adigwe is also vying.

Dr Ojougboh is arguably strong. He was in the lower house for Ika Federal constituency from 2003 to 2007 and fought for governorship ticket as Dr. Okowa did in 2007. Doctors and Chiefs Ojougboh and Okowa are of the same federal constituency but whereas Ojougboh can probably boast of 50% support in Ika south, leaving Okowa with the remainder, and less than 30% in Ika North east to Okowa’s more than 70%, Dr Okowa looks set to muster not less than 60% in each of the remaining 7 local government areas in Delta North.

Given the scenario above, supported by the opinion of a cross section of leaders beyond Delta North and outside the umbrella, the ticket after the primaries, is expected to be given to the man of tremendous goodwill, reputed to have affected many lives positively, more than all his opponents. The opinion in some quarters is, should the man of goodwill be denied the ticket under the umbrella, other platforms would gladly accommodate him. Some of such platforms consider him a governorship material, but a party loyalist to the core

If by God’s will, as is the wish of the people of goodwill, an Ika man from the North East goes to the senate, who in Ika nation should go to the house of representatives? This question is as pertinent as it is knotty. It is pertinent because if the answer is not given now and that answer is not suitable or cannot promote peaceful coexistence among Ika people, the struggle for homogeneity will be jeopardized. Also, even development will continue to elude the two areas.

It has been alleged, many a time by some in Ika south, that uneven development of the two local government areas in favour of Ika North East is being orchestrated under the watchful eyes of a renowned personality of goodwill. It is further alleged that whereas a lot more political offices have gone to Ika North east than to Ika south, a leading figure in Ika South has been in partnership with those allegedly implementing the policy of segregation against himself.

As has been stated earlier the questions highlighted above are knotty. They are knotty because those who favour the understanding of rotation of the occupation of the seat in the lower house between the two local governments, four years a piece, believe that the understanding or agreement should be adhered to under all circumstances; more so as the Reps in the last seven years have been from one local government area. They argue that it is their turn to have a Rep from their area in the House of Reps. Of course, they have a point there. It is a point in a cyst of zoning, not necessarily supported by merit. Not even by fairplay. Or is it?

It is true that president Goodluck from his senatorial district cannot prevent someone from that constituency from becoming the governor of his state. But he certainly should not encourage his folk of same LGA or federal constituency to vie for the national Assembly seat. Indeed for fairplay, the governor should not come from the president’s LGA.

In the same spirit of fairplay, some posit, a senator should not encourage someone of same LGA with him to vie for the house of Reps. The exigency that was played up to condone the representation of a federal constituency by one LGA for more than one term, in spite of a subsisting agreement should also be played up in the spirit of good neighbourliness.

Furthermore, if a local government area that has presumably benefitted more than its sister LGA in terms of human and infrastructure development, produces both the senator and the Rep, is it intended to widen the gap in development or to bridge it? Will it promote coexistence without rancour and acrimony?

In the light of the pertinent and knotty questions above, informed, tactical, and concerted efforts should be directed towards strengthening bonds of affinity, doing away with politics of alienation or segregation and encouraging or extending a hand of fellowship to those vilified for alleged complicity in a sell-out gimmick. Leaders in the two LGAs must sit around a table immediately to answer the questions above. Time is running out very fast as primaries are weeks away.

It should not be difficult for a senatorial aspirant in one local GA to adopt and support a house of reps aspirant in a sister LGA. It would be tactically rewarding to ally and horse-trade before, during and after primaries. And the one with wider reach and support, a tactician himself, should encourage, initiate and nurture alliances and horse trading as he is used to doing. Anything short of these would be tantamount to a tactical error that ought to be averted.

There are more than five House of Reps aspirants in Ika federal constituency. They include the incumbent, but suspended member, Hon Doris Uboh; the youthful Chuky Dandy and Hon Ben Obuh, all three from Ika South. Others are Dr. (Mrs) Okobah, Chief Frank Nwugo and Sir Peter Eboh. There are others, seemingly not great contenders. Gabriel Njekede and Victor Nwokolo are in this category.

The outstanding aspirants among these are Hon. B.I.O Obuh, Doris Uboh, Frank Nwugo and Peter Eboh. Nwugo and Eboh are not new in the race. Obuh, though a new entrant, has a good measure of experience in party politics. He was a local Govt chairman, Commissioner, Party Secretary and now, the Delta North PDP chairman. He has quite a handsome following in Ika South and good reputation in Ika North East.

Chief Frank Nwugo is said to be in alliance with Dr. Ojougboh, as Chuky Dandy is, with a certain aide of Dr. Okowa.

All the aspirants might be said to be having good personal relationship with Dr Okowa but the extent of their working relationship is not certain. One thing is however, certain. And it is that virtually all the followers of Obuh are supporters of Okowa. This is not to say that Okowa’s support is limited to Obuh’s camp. But it is obvious that a huge chunk of this support is through Obuh , a support that translates to a deciding block vote in the LGA.

A good number of political watchers believe that Okowa-Obuh alliance will necessarily birth an unbeatable team for Ika nation. Both of them are known to have been political allies for close to two decades. They may have had some differences, but not to the extent of two of them not to see eye to eye on many issues. It is even rumoured that Okowa –Obuh team is stronger and more positively oriented for Ika people than other teams in the race.

Obuh’s opponents accuse him of sustaining a master-servant relationship with Okowa. Dr. Okowa, they insist, is the master, who does as it pleases him with the servant. The opponents are speculating that even if an alliance is forged between the two friends and leaders, it will turn out to be for the triumph of one, for the other to be dwarfed politically. After all, the rabble rousers maintain, the trend has been to empower others but not the so called ally and his followers.

People, especially treacherous politicians, say or do anything to cause disaffection and strain relationships. But friends in need remain friends indeed, no matter that in politics only interest is permanent. So the question on the lips of many is; will the rise of one spell the fall of the other against the run of tested friendship and alliance?

Soon, very soon , time will tell the world who shall represent Delta North Senatorial district and Ika federal constituency in the National Assembly, as only God knows who it shall glorify Him alone to send.

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