The recent decision by the 25 chairmen of Delta State to adopt governor uduaghan for a second term has continued to raise ripples amongst Deltans, especially when placed against the backdrop of the fact that several of the Council chairmen are presently embroiled in political battles with their Legislative arms and indeed some have already been suspended by the Delta state House of Assembly.
This adoption of Governor Uduaghan by the Council chairmen is even more remarkable in the light of the fact that not too long ago, the Delta state House of Assembly had also endorsed the Governor for a second term.
For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan remains the candidate to beat in the 2011 elections but the question that many Deltans are trying to resolve is what exactly is the reason for all these endorsements and adoptions when it is obvious that Governor Uduaghan has actually performed better than all the Local Council Chairmen and House of Assembly members in the last three years. In fact, if anything, it is they who should be looking for Governor Uduaghan’s endorsement or adoption and not the other way round. So are these endorsements and adoptions another way of ensuring their political survival or what?
One thing that is however not in doubt is that the Local Council chairmen have not committed any offence because what they have done is constitutionally right as they are merely expressing their fundamental human rights to which they are individually and collectively entitled to as equal citizens of Nigeria as guaranteed by Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Section 39 of the Constitution states that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference”.
In addition, as PDP members, their decision is also constitutionally justified to pursue and support their personal political interest and the interest of their political party (PDP) as also guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution states that “every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests”.
Therefore, if they feel and are strongly convinced that their political interest is guaranteed by the re-election of Governor Uduaghan come 2011, so be it. Their decision to adopt governor uduaghan cannot therefore be constitutionally questioned, faulted or challenged by anyone so long as they do not abuse and misappropriate the political and economic powers and authorities inherit in their offices as chairmen of local government Councils of Delta State.
However, there is an inherent danger in the wordings of their endorsement of Governor Uduaghan’s second because it presupposes that they directly or indirectly compel, threaten or intimidate any employee of the 25 Local Government Councils to support the re-election of Governor Uduaghan.
Doing so would amount to serious violation of Fundamental Human Rights of the employee(s) also guaranteed by Section 39 and 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The need therefore to warn that on no grounds should they coerce or harass any employee to do their bidding becomes very imperative. Governor Uduaghan himself has already made it clear that his legacy will speak for him so we must leave at that because the governor is very electable right now and he will do even more for Deltans before the race begins for the 2011 elections.
It also important to note that the decisions by Rear Admiral John Kpokpogri (rtd) and others Deltans to vie for the governorship of Delta State come April 2011 is very welcome and laudable as hopefully this will further raise the level of politics and democracy geared towards bringing about participation of more credible and patriotic Deltans into governance process of our beloved Delta State.
Deltans, irrespective of their political parties should give all governorship aspirants equal opportunity to be heard and to present their manifestoes and agenda.
It is also very imperative to strongly advise the PDP against undue and biased support to any particular candidate above other new PDP governorship aspirants of PDP. Such action, unfavourable treatment and support if allowed, will be immoral and unconstitutional and will sure provide a good ground for litigations ahead of 2011 elections.
The Delta State Police Command must also give equal security protection to all Political Office Aspirants during the period of these ongoing political consultations and campaigns. All politicians and political parties must unconditionally and immediately desist from recruiting, organizing and or sponsoring youths into political violence because the overriding interest for a peaceful, united and progressive Delta State cannot be negotiated away for any individual’s or party’s interest.