By Williams Eghebi
I read with feverish apprehension few days ago a news report credited to Chief Ortega Emerhor, the All Progressive Congress Governorship Candidate for Delta State published in some national newspapers. In the story, the governorship candidate was quoted to have queried President Mohammadu Buhari for allegedly nominating Prof Pat Utomi for a ministerial appointment. He reportedly said the presence of Mr. Godwin Emefiele and Dr. Ibe Kachuku both from Delta North(Anioma) in sensitive positions, forecloses appointment of any more person of Anioma extraction by the President..
Hear him: ” President Buhari only recently appointed Dr. Ibe Kachuku, a Deltan, from Delta North, as Group Managing Director of NNPC. He is aware that the current State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and the current governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, are Deltans also from Delta North.
“I believe being aware of this situation, the President will strive to balance further appointments from Delta State by looking towards the other zones, that is, Delta Central and South.”
I have tried to be circumspect on the mission of Chief Ortega Emerhor to become the governor of Delta State for obvious reasons. For one, he is eminently qualified but for another, a couple of his aides are my friends. Until now, the only reason I wished he does not become a governor is because equity rightly placed successor to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on the table of Delta North. After all, those who seek equity, come clean. However, his intention to poke Delta North must elicit response of equal ferocity. Any attempt to duck, consigns us to eternal slavery and perennial wood hewers.
The leadership of APC must urgently have a crisis meeting with Chief Emerhor because his outburst, no doubt, will delete some hard-earned points from the party. The comments of the candidate is capable of inciting other ethnic groups against Delta North. The governorship candidate from the very moment he emerged as the torchbearer, is the property of the party. His opinion is that of the party. Put succinctly, he has lost the privilege of personal and private position on any national issue. That he allegedly questions the intention of the President and leader of his party is an abberation.
Recently, President Mohammadu Buhari justified the reason to give jobs to persons perceived to be of northern extraction with strong ties. The president is aware that he takes the glory or otherwise of this administration. Unfortunately, Chief Emerhor is travelling on another route preferring to act like an ethnic chauvinist.
The criticism from Chief Emerhor of the president has colossal damage on both the APC and Delta State. For the APC, Chief Emerhor tells Nigerians that President Buhari has poor judgement and by extension that his party is not cut out to deliver on campaign promises. To Deltans, he unknowingly posited that the state is unduly favoured. This untoward action will sadly make him a bad sell in future elections if he offers himself again.
If I must use the local parlance, “Ortegar fall my hand, big time.” Let’s start this way! Mr. Godwin Emefiele was made the Central Bank boss June last year not because he is from Agbor but more due to his professional pedigree and austere lifestyle. If it were possible for Agbor people to make a choice between his position and extra slot for state commissioner, a greater chunk of the people would tick the later. The extra commissioner will impact more on the peculiar needs of our people directly. It is not because we love him less; we do not want him to drop to a local champion when he has to provide solutions to the fiscal challenges of the entire nation in the midst of unpredictable economic indices. After all, Agbor people are proven large-hearted and lovers of strangers!
Dr. Kachuku though from Delta North was not nominated by any of his kinsmen. Unconfirmed sources hinted his job was influenced by global collaboration. Besides, Dr. Kachuku has brought goodwill to the state through his cleansing of the corporation few weeks after ascension to the throne. Today, Nigerians are benefitting from his ingenuity to stabilise fuel distribution at approved rates.
At several fora, Chief Emerhor and his aides have taken the social media hostage by claiming that Senator Okowa is a “caretaker governor”. Against this backdrop therefore, it is a great mockery to insinuate that Delta North is saturated with federal appointments knowing that he would become the authentic ” governor” soon. If there is any gain achievable from the recent open hatred for Delta North, It is a clarion call for Anioma people to close ranks without further procrastination. We have been told with great tepid that the oil produced in Delta North is only good for the kitchen.
This was at the heat of DESOPADEC bill debate. Some people have said we are tenants in the state but fortunately, respected stakeholders and politicians from the other zones have always distanced themselves from these rabble-roussers.
The activities of Senator Okowa have portrayed him as one largehearted enough to run the state. He should be supported by all. This is not because he is the only one best schooled for the plum office but as a result of his stubborn resolve to be a governor of the entire Delta State where dispensation of dividends of democracy is not a factor of ethnic, religious or other mundane considerations.
The governor has approved and indeed funded the entire makeover of three technical colleges one in each senatorial district. Over 6,000 direct jobs have been created for the youths across the state. What Deltans want from the APC candidate is clear assurances on what he can do better than the sitting governor. His subtle recommendation for the sack of Anioma people in choice positions is the least approach to warm into the sensitivity of Deltans. We may have differences but not to the extent of recommending P45 (last pay certificate) for Godwin Emefiele and Ibe Kachuku. I honestly think Chief Ortega Emerhor has a lot to offer Delta State without necessarily becoming a governor.
The emergence of Prof Utomi as minister ought to be a source of relief to Delta APC and indeed Chief Emerhor. In ideal situation, it is Senator Okowa who should be worried that the ruling party is enticing his safe haven with juicy positions. Any Deltan, irrespective of party leaning, who frowns at such grace, has no right to be in our midst. We must remain loyal to the unwritten covenant of equity, power sharing and good governance. We have more to benefit if we discontinue electoral litigation. And I am sure it is achievable. After all, 2019 is not too far away. In the interim, we expect a quick retraction from the politician.
Eghebi, a Media consultant and Public Affairs analyst, resides in Delta State