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ASABA ROLLS OUT DRUMS TO CELEBRATE ASAGBA, PROF. CHIKE EDOZIEN AT 90

David Diai

ASAGBAAll is now set for the formal grand celebration of the birthday of his Royal Majesty, Prof Chike Edozien, CFR, JP, Asagba of Asaba, who turns 90, on July 28 2015. The Asagba was born on July 28, 1925. His father was Nathaniel Okafor Edozien a direct descendant of Nnebisi the founder of Asaba, and one of the most senior indigenous officials of the Nigerian Coal Corporation in Enugu. His mother, Nwakuso Edozien née Odogwu, was the daughter of a prominent Asaba chief, and a notable trader.

Reeling out the comprehensive itinerary of special events and activities slated for the official celebration, the Chairman of the organizing Committee of the Asagba’s birthday celebrations, Prof Epiphany Azinge (SAN), said: “We decided to roll out the drums because it is given to a few to celebrate 70 years and given to fewer people to celebrate 80 but to celebrate 90 and in good health is worthy of celebration at the highest level.

“For us, it is not just an ordinary celebration because we never can say when there will ever going to be another monarch that would be 90 and a monarch who has distinguished himself so well and to the admiration of his subjects, believing that this is an opportunity to say thank you to him”, he enthused.

The month long celebration, which had already commenced with the preliminary and qualifying stages of the football, quiz and essay competitions, amongst others, will officially kick off with a ten-10 galaxy of selected activities starting on Saturday July 18, with a golf tourney which tees off in the morning and a guided tour of tourists sites especially traditional tourist sites like Anchorage, Lander brothers, Mungo Park building early cemeteries and missionary schools.

The celebrations continue on July 21 with the formal induction of the Asagba into Hall of fame in Asaba, to appreciate the peaceful and transformational reign he has ushered in the last 24 years.

A World press conference has also been slated for that day for the Asagba to give account of his illustrious reign and this will be complemented with a cultural exhibition that will be ongoing through-out the duration of the celebrations, to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the great Asaba kingdom .

July 22 has been designated as the special day of homage to the revered Monarch when residents, institutions, corporate bodies and well wishers will troop to the Palace of the Asagba of Asaba to pay homage to him in his full majesterial grandeur and splendour. This will be followed by a dance carnival and musical float at famous oshimili arcade, in Asaba.

The grande finale of football competition comes up on July 23 and the Asagba of Asaba, Asagba (Prof), Chike Edozien will be the special guest of honour and will present the trophy to winners as well as other awards to deserving participants.

A fishing festival on the historic River Niger has been slated for July 24, while intellectual activities like quiz, essay competition, folklore and music concert among secondary schools, will also be held to mark the ceremony.

Expanding on the selected set of activities slated for the 10-day celebration, Prof. Azinge said: “We have tried to blend tradition with scholarship and fanfare. We are mindful of the fact that we are not going to make the events too elitist, so that we can galvanize our people across all strata of society to participate fully in the celebration of our Monarch.

“Our desire and objective is to re-invent the wheel and try to capture those times when as growing up kids, most of us enjoyed moonlight tales. But sadly, those things are no more, so we want to use this celebration to attract our children to their natural habitat and put them in the right frame to understand their history. We will also have cultural exhibitions which will enable us promote and showcase our traditional artefacts to the global community”, he said.

Speaking further on the activities, the Chairman said: “There will a public lecture delivered by Professor Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe, CON, MD, NNOM, who it may interest you to know, followed in the footsteps of our great Asagba of Asaba, when on promotion to a chair of the college of medicine at the University of Ibadan at the age of 35years, became the first Professor of medicine that has ever been appointed by any African University, and this is in addition to his numerous sterling academic achievements nationally and internationally, just like our own dear Asagba.

“We will also have a book presentation chronicling the rich biography of the Asagba and this will be followed by the unveiling of a larger than life statue of the great Monarch that will be mounted and positioned at a strategic place in Asaba metropolis. Hopefully this statue will become a tourist attraction in years to come. The Asagba will also be inducted into the Asaba Hall of Fame,” he said.

“Football matches are already ongoing as part of activities marking the birthday celebrations and this will climax into the final on the 26th of July. A golf tournament starting on the 18th July and a traditional wrestling competition are also part of the sporting menu to be served in the course of the celebrations. The finals of a quiz competition that will be screened live, as well as an essay competition among secondary schools in Asaba, both of which have reached advanced stages, will also hallmark the ceremony and provide our children with the platform to fully participate in the birthday celebration of their revered Monarch. This celebration is an opportunity for us to bring our children back to their origin, history, and cultural setting. Intellectually, we have tried to engage our children at that level,” Azinge affirmed.

Highlighting the overall essence of the celebrations, Prof. Azinge, who is the former Director-General, Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies and member Commonwealth Arbitration Tribunal and chairman, told Niger Delta Report noted that the Asagba stool means everything to the people of Asaba, adding that the Asagba is revered by the Asaba people as God’s representative on earth.

He said: “I believe that induction the Asagba into the Asaba Hall of Fame is likely to create some doubt in the minds of people. Ideally it should be the other way round, since it is the Asagba with his royal patronage, who confers chieftaincy; he is the symbol of authority, the reigning monarch that would do things for the subjects. But this time around at 90, we believe that it is only proper and right for us to do something that would seem to be honouring him for a change.

“I do not think the Asagba can ever be honoured again because from 1991 when he mounted the throne that seem to be the highest achievement anyone can aspire to. He has gotten that for almost 24 years. We want to use the opportunity to demonstrate how highly we treasure him so we conceptualized this Hall of Fame idea”, he averred.

Speaking further, the distinguished legal luminary, who is also the Okilolo (Great thinker and Philosopher) of Asaba, a title conferred on him by the Asagba himself, said: “We are given to believing that the best time to eulogize people is when they are no more. For us that belongs to the past; we believe it is fitting to celebrate people when they are alive. For us it is more proper to celebrate someone whom we consider a living legend in his own right and one whose actions, utterances and activities seem to have helped in sharpening the destiny of our people and one we have benefitted immeasurably from his intellect and acumen and for us, the Asagba has fulfilled and accomplished all the excellent attributes”.

According to him, “There will be a Hall of Fame whether it will be a museum or any other thing we will set up. But it will go down in the history of Asaba that Asagba Prof Chike Edozien, Asagba of Asaba, will be the first Asaba son, living or dead ever to be inducted into this Hall of Fame which will be a symbol of excellence and a footprint that will invite other Asaba indigenes to look forward to the fact that when you do well in life, and live life of incorruptibility that there is something that awaits you.”

Describing the induction modus operandi, the distinguished Asaba son and Chairman of the Asaba birthday celebration committee said: “The chiefs and all the other nobility, as well as the Asaba people will induct the Asagba. Citations will be read, plaques will be unveiled and other formalities will be performed, after which the Iyase of Asaba, Chief Patrick Isioma Goodluck Onyeobi, will read out a statement and the Asagba will then be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Azinge equally stressed that, “Ultimately this induction will be the beginning of the process in the history of Asaba. Asaba people, in our traditional folklore, are said not to acknowledge and applaud heroes, so for us it is a beginning of a new dawn. Time has come for Asaba people to acknowledge what is their own. Contrary to our historical past, if you do not eulogize great people may be you are failing in one respect. You are not invigorating or motivating people to continue in their path and continue to excel. So the thinking is that we may have Asaba sons and daughters that have distinguished themselves and though they may or may not be chiefs in Asaba, may have actually done exceptionally well to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. For us it is a stepping stone for what every Asaba son and daughter should look forward to.

“The celebration is a full package. We will have a street carnival that will take us through the length and breadth of the city. We are modeling our carnival after the Calabar Carnival and Rivers State Carnival so that we can get the attention of the people and awaken their consciousness as to what we are doing. A musical festival will take place which will cater for our youths so they will be fully entertained. And finally, an inter-denominational service will climax the formal ceremony grand celebration of the 90th birthday anniversary of the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien,” he concluded with an air of satisfaction.

 

Originally reported by Okungbowa Aiwerie, The Nation Newspapers July, 2015

 

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WHY E.K CLARK TACKLED OCHEI, ORUBEBE *** Nobody Can Stop Me – Orubebe

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“At 85, I can say what I Like because i am no longer seeking  any relevance in the country. Some of those who are now claiming that I am talking because I want to bring limelight to myself  because President Goodluck Jonathan is an Ijaw man and he is in charge, were not born before I became a national figure and was helping to build the Nigerian nation.

 “At 85, I can say what I want because I am already an old man. The issue of where the governor of Delta State will come from has not been a conspiracy between Delta South and Delta Central. It was not the decision of Delta South and Delta Central that Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan should be governor in 2007. We have felt that the imposition of Uduaghan was against the tenets of democracy and we took the war to Abuja. What happened in 2007 was an imposition; nobody in Delta State should feel superior to the other. No single ethnic group has monopoly of governance. At the age of 85 what am I doing here in exile at Abuja? Is it for contract? No! If I need contract I will be in my village and get contract. But I am here in Abuja to fight injustice”…

This (or something very close to it), was what the former Federal Minister and now Elder statesman of the Niger Delta, Chief  E.K Clark said, in response to critics who have continued to question his harsh and sometimes uncomfortably direct comments on critical issues both at the national level and in his home state, Delta.

Those who know Chief E.K Clark will confirm that he has been a major voice in the  political space since the return of Democracy in 1999 and even more so when President Goodluck Jonathan went to Aso Rock in 2007 (as Vice Prsedent).

He became even more vocal and critical when President Goodluck Jonathan became a beneficiary of the ‘Doctrine of necessity’ and subsequently after the 2011 elections where President Jonatha’s mandate was overwhelmingly affirmed as the first minority from the S/South and indeed Ijaw man to become a fully elected President of Nigeria.

His past foes and objects of his verbal attack include former Heads of States, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), former Delta governor, Chief James Ibori and his predecessor, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan amogst others.

The relevance of Chief E.K Clark was once again underlined recently when he launched a fearsome verbal war on two key political figures in Delta State over their greatly anticipated ambitions to contest the 2015 Governorship elections in the state. He told them categorically that they can never govern Delta state.

The two political heavyweights are Elder Godsday Orubebe, Minister for Niger Delta Affairs (an Ijaw man ) and Rt. Hon. Victor Onyekachi Ochei, Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, (an Anioma/Aniocha man).

Chief E,K Clark clearly stated the reasons why he openly denounced Godsday Orubebe, his erstwhile political godson and heir apparent to the Delta Governorship seat and Victor Ochei, who has kept a safe distance from the Niger Delta Elder statesman for sometime now.

His grouse with Orubebe on the surface, is the ambition and intention of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to become the next governor of Delta State and the manner he is said to be going about it.

Chief Clark is also very angry with the Niger Delta Minister for disobeying the warning of President Goodluck Jonathan that all portfolio holders in his cabinet, who intended to contest elections at any level, should relax their ambitions and campaigns until 2014.

Delta political watchers will recall that the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Elder Godsday Orubebe publicly declared his intention and preparedness to run for the office of the Delta State governor in the 2015 election, during his condolence visit to the family of the late Alam Barovbe in Ovu Inland, Ethiope East local government area of Delta State, in the last weekend of April 2013.

In his alleged statement of declaration, Orubebe was said to have made it clear that ethnicity would be given priority in determining the state’s next governor. And he was reportedly to havesaid categorically that; “It is the turn of the Ijaw people to produce the next governor of Delta State”.

Speaking further Orubebebe reortedly said that the Ijaws must produce the next governor of Delta State irrespective of the next governor’s senatorial district, adding that the Urhobo and Itsekiri ethnic groups had produced governors, but that the Isoko and Ndokwa have yet to produce one. He therefore insisted it is now the turn of the Ijaw, adding that the various ethnic groups within the state must have “a taste” of the governorship. 

“I must say categorically that all the ethnic nationalities of this state must have a taste of the governorship of this state. Urhobo people have gotten it, Itsekiri have gotten it, Ndokwa has not gotten it, Ijaw has not gotten it, Isoko has not gotten it. And so we are appealing to others that, this is the turn of the Ijaw people. We are appealing that it is the turn of the Ijaw people now because all the ethnic groups must have a taste”, Orubebe said.

This is the declaration that had angered Chief E.K Clark so much that he publicly denounced Orubebe as a future governor of Delta state thus: “For the purpose of argument, if the Ijaws are asked by the Delta State PDP to produce a gubernatorial candidate, it will not be Mr Godsday Orubebe and he is fully aware of that.”

Chief Clark, by his admission, is further angered that Orubebe’s declaration had caused so much embarrassment to the Presidency by jumping the gun in showing interest in the position,  because it was still too early for Orubebe to start scheming to become the governor of Delta state when he knew that President Goodluck Jonathan has forbidden them for now.

Many Delta watchers will recall that Elder Godsday Orubebe, long before he became the Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, was one of the trusted members of the Chief E.K Clark’s political family in Delta State. Both are from the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the South Senatorial District. While Clark hails from Kiagbodo, Orubebe is from Ogbobagbene, both in Burutu Local Government Area of the state.

At the height of the Ex-convict saga involving former Delta governor, Chief James Ibori and all through the early years of political travails for Governor Uduaghan, Chief Clark had never hidden the fact that he wanted Orubebe to replace either of them if the ruling PDP was eventually compelled to shop for a replacement governorship candidate in the event of any electoral mishap that would necessitate such a move.

The failure of that plot propelled the 85 year old Chief Clark to favor 54-year-old Orubebe and not only nominate him but also ensure his appointment as a Minister, first in the Yar’Adua administration as a Minister of State and then as a full Minister under President Jonathan, against all odds, including an alleged refusal by the Uduaghan administration to endorse the nomination.

In  fact Chief James Ibori, who at that time was also a major political force in the Yar’ Adua kitchen cabinet, did not want Clark’s nominee to sail through because of the power tussle between him and Clark and he almost succeeded as Orubebe was not initially sworn-in with other ministers that were appointed by the late Yar’Adua.

There had also been very strong indications that Orubebe had intended to contest the 2011 governorship elections in the State, but had allegedly been compelled by President Jonathan to choose between his Ministerial position which was assured in his in-coming administration, and a governorship adventure in that politically volatile Delta State, where victory was not at all guaranteed.

Feelers have it that E.K Clark was one of those who convinced Orubebe to drop his governorship ambition and even prevailed on President Jonathan to make Orubebeb the substantive Minister of Niger Delta affairs as compensation for that sacrifice.  

However, very credible inside sources within the Clark/Orubebe stronghold claim that the signs of a crack in the relationship between father and son had already started emerging since last year, when news started to filter into the public domain that Orubebe was engaged in some alleged fraudulent activities at the expense of his mandate to perform and deliver democracy dividends to Ijaw people as Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs.

But Clark dismissed the claims of those accusing Orubebe of non performance by saying that the ministry did not have enough money and that people were complaining that he is tight-fisted and is not empowering those who worked for him. He even called for Orubebe to be probed as a way of clearing his name from the allegations.

But on Tuesday, May 7, 2013  in Warri, an obviously angry Chief E.K Clark, who had had enough, finally descended on his once favoured son and publicly tongue-lashed him.

At a world press conference in Warri, Chief Clark also dismissed the governorship ambition of Hon. Victor Ochei, and appealed to those he described as “young men” who have made so much money to desist from insulting Mr. President, the Ijaws and himself for no justifiable reason.

The state PDP Chairman, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi, who was present at the briefing, endorsed Chief Clark’s position.

Speaking to reporters in Warri, Chief Clark said, “I returned from United Kingdom on Wednesday, 1st May, 2013, and I started to receive calls from PDP, Delta State party faithful resident in the state, Abuja and other places, asking me whether I had seen a text message  echocing  the Sahara Reporters about Mr. Godsday Orubebe’s statement that he was going to contest the 2015 gubernatorial election  in Delta  State, that it was the turn of the Ijaw ethnic nationality to produce governor of  state.

“My attention was then drawn to a text message in my telephone, which reads thus:

“President Jonathan must realize that Delta State is not Bayelsa State where he can do what he likes and any attempt to impose Orubebe on us will be resisted. If he is bent on pulling down Nigeria, let him go ahead with his Ijaw nation, we will not be part of it.’

“Part of the Sahara Reporters report on the same issue which was also read out to me stated thus:

‘I  must say categorically that all the ethnic nationalities of this state must have a taste of governorship of this state. Urhobo people have gotten it, Itsekiri have gotten it, Ndokwa have  not gotten it, Ijaw have  not gotten it, Isoko have  not gotten it. And so, we are appealing to others that it is the turn of the Ijaw people. We are appealing that it is the turn of the Ijaw people now because all the ethnic groups must have a taste.”

A visibly angry Chief Clark also noted that Orubebe was clearly aware that President Jonathan had stated categorically that he was not going to take a decision on 2015 until 2014 because he needed time to concentrate on the job he promised Nigerians.

‘Subsequently, the president  directed that  none of his ministers and government functionaries should engage in politics as to declaring their intentions or supporting anyone for elective position, including senatorial, House of Representatives or gubernatorial”, the elder statesman said.

“Mr. Godsday Orubebe cannot claim ignorance of Mr. President’s directive. His flagrant disobedience is no doubt an embarrassment to Mr. President, to the leaders of the party and the party faithful, particularly to me that everybody believes contributed greatly to his becoming a  minister, having regard to the opposition from the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, and his supporters against me.”

Speaking further Chief Clark said; “I did not however believe that Mr. Orubebe made such declaration until my arrival in Warri on Thursday, May 2, 2013. I was not only besieged by party members on the alleged statement by Mr. Orubebe at Ovu town when he paid a condolence visit on the family of  the late Alam Barovbe, three members who were present  also testified to the fact that Mr. Orubebe made such statement in Ovu. This was also confirmed by a prominent party leader in Delta  State, Chief Bernard Edewor, who said he replied to the speech made by Mr. Orubebe.”

He went on: “Our opponents and detractors are definitely cashing in on Mr. Godsday Orubebe’s careless and irresponsible statement and are now using it to insult Mr. President Goodluck Jonathan, the Ijaws and even myself; that the president and I are definitely behind him. I have tried to disabuse the minds of  the people and denied that neither Mr. President nor I is aware of Mr. Orubebe’s statement. The calls to my telephone have not stopped, hence my decision to address the people of Delta  State.

“Perhaps, Mr. Orubebe has also forgotten how I accompanied him to the State House in Abuja after his confirmation at the Senate and to be sworn-in as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with three other colleagues of his. And the embarrassment caused to me when the former Secretary to the Federal Government, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, came to inform me that Mr. President had decided not to swear-in Mr. Orubebe.

“I left the Executive Chambers with Mr. Orubebe and his wife in disgrace, but later summed up courage to address the State House Press on the issue. It is, therefore, my advice to the Honorable Minister not to allow the spoils of office to derail him or cause him to take wrong judgment. I am aware that all his other colleagues and other government functionaries have religiously obeyed the Presidential order. It is unfortunate and ridiculous that Mr. Orubebe should be the one to flout this order.”

Clark also picked holes in Orubebe’s ethnicity logic for the emergence of the next governor of  Delta. According to him, “The assertion by Mr. Orubebe that the governorship should be produced on ethnicity  basis and for him to state that the Urhobos and the Itsekiris have produced governors and that the Ijaws, the Isokos and the Ndokwas have not produced governors is not correct.

“The Honourable Minister knows that the Ndokwa  belong to the North Senatorial Zone where you have the Ikas and the Aniochas, and not the South Senatorial Zone, which has also not produced a governor. The five ethnic nationalities have to live together having regard to the immediate past fratricidal war between the Ijaw, the Itsekiri  and the Urhobo  of Warri. Nothing should therefore be done to pitch one ethnic nationality against the other. We must emphasize those things that bind the people together.

“Mr. Godsday Orubebe should realize that peace is a scarce commodity in Delta State, particularly in the PDP  since the 2007  gubernatorial election. At this juncture, it must be emphasized that our great party, the PDP, has been in crisis since 2007. It was only last year, after a period of five years and after series of litigations that we agreed to voluntarily reconcile.”

The elder statesman declared, “For the purpose of argument, if the Ijaw are asked by the Delta State PDP   to produce a gubernatorial candidate, it will not be Mr. Godsday Orubebe and he is fully aware of that.”

Chief Clark also assured that President Jonathan was not in support of Mr. Orubebe for his governorship drive, emphasizing that he was speaking as the father of both men.

As for Rt. Hon Victor Onyekachi Ochei, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, whom he accused of fleecing the state to the tune of N18 billion, Chief E.K Clark had this warning to give to the lawmaker; “Another person I learnt who wants to become the governor of Delta state is Victor Ochei. What kind of country is this? This is a young man, a contractor who got a mega contract of twenty seven billion naira contract for an Independent Power Project, IPP, at Oghara or Oghareki. He has collected eighteen billion naira from the Delta State Government, but nothing has happened on the site. This was the situation report about 2 years ago. The position today has still not changed because recently on Friday 3rd May, 2013, I sent 2 men to again visit the site. They found that the Delta State Government had tarred the road to the site where there are 3 containers, and that the site is overgrown with grasses and trees.”

“I wish to advice the Godsday Orubebes and the Victor Ocheis to give peace a chance and not to use their position to intimidate and cause confusion amongst the people. When the PDP gives the go ahead for aspirants to indicate their interest, the people of Delta stated will then decide who will be their governor and where he will come from.”

The state PDP chairman, Barr. Peter Nwaoboshi, emphasised Chief Clark’s position by saying that, “nobody should heat the system until the time comes. Ethic sentiments are unnecessary.”

Already an avalanche of reactions and rejoinders have followed the comments of Chief E.K Clark, especially from the camps of Elder Godsday Orubebe and Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, both of whom have said categorically that nobody can stop them from exercising their rights to contest the 2015 Delta governorship election, if they so decide.

Reacting to the remarks, former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, to Elder Orubebe, Mr. Ekenwan Ekwagbe, said Chief Clark has no power to stop Orubebe from realising his governorship ambition in Delta State in 2015, even as he blasted the remarks on Orubebe by Chief Clark as unbecoming of an elder statesman well respected in the region and beyond.

He said Chief Clark cannot stop Orubebe from becoming the governor of Delta state, advising the elder statesman to stop playing God because he is not.

He said: “E.K Clark’s press conference, that come 2015, Elder Orubebe cannot be governor of Delta State, doesn’t disturb anybody. It doesn’t move anybody because we know where we are coming from and where we are going. All of us in Delta State, in Burutu Local Government Area, where both E.K Clark and Elder Orubebe come from, know each  other. We know ourselves.

“In the last elections in 2011, a former Speaker in Delta State House of Assembly, Mr.  Frank Enukura, decided to contest election to the House of Representatives. E.K Clark put forward his son, Ebikime, to contest for the same office under the platform of Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), and wanted everybody, irrespective political party, that was contesting the election, to step down for his son.

“But they all refused. At the end of the day, Frank Enukura defeated his son at the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The boy had to defect to DPP. He used that platform to contest the main election in 2011.

“Frank Enukura, son of a fisherman in Burutu council, whose parents toiled day and night on the rivers, fishing to train him, defeated E.K Clark and his son, not just his son because it was E.K Clark who contested the election indirectly. So, if E.K Clark’s son cannot win election in Burutu council, can he determine who becomes governor of the entire Delta State?”

On the said Orubebe’s embarrassment of President Jonathan through indicating of interest in the governorship race, the SA noted that Clark had caused a lot of embarrassment to President Goodluck Jonathan in the history of the administration through his utterances by attacking highly placed Nigerians.

On the part of Rt. Hon Ochei, although neither the Speaker nor any of his aides have responded to the E.K Clark comments, a group known as Delta Focus Group (DFG), quickly rose to his defence and condemned in strong terms the statement made by the Ijaw leader that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should probe the speaker of Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA), Hon. Victor Ochei over the Independent Power Plant project, noting that it was capable of inciting the public against the speaker.

In a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the DFG, Mr. Saturday Mofoye, the group described the statement as unwarranted of an elder statesman like Chief Clark whom they advised to play more of fatherly role than condemnation of young promising adults that are poise to develop the state with their ambition.

According to the statement, “DFG as a group has found out that Ochei will be best as the governor because as a speaker his empowerment programmes are unequal compare to other Speakers in the country. Members of his constituency can attest to that and the infrastructural development of the State House of Assembly complex is also a good example.

The statement further noted that, “Chief Clark should know that Ochei has never at anytime indicated his interest to contest for governor of Delta state come 2015 unlike Chief Godsday Orubebe. It is only groups like DFG that have been urging him to contest for the seat comes 2015 because we the young adults are ready to support him to actualize the dream. DFG is very ready to stand behind any good individual of Delta origin to become the governor of Delta state come 2015. Gone are the days where some group of elders and leaders would tell the youths who should be their representatives. We Deltans will decide who will be the governor and not one individual come 2015”, the statement added.

But in a swift response to the Orubebe statement, the Ijaw National Congress has come out in strong defense of Chief E. Clark.

In a statement signed by Engr. Ebieridei Charles Ambaiowei -Vice President and Sir Theodore O. Ezonfade -Secretary General, the statement by the INC reads; “The attention of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has been drawn to a press war after interviews granted by our foremost Ijaw leader and Chairman Board of Trustees of INC, Chief Dr. Sen. E. K. Clark touched on the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe”.

The statement continued thus, “ Congress is dismayed that Elder Godsday Orubebe contemplated and even carried out attacks in newspapers on the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Congress, a highly respected leader and 86 years old statesman for reasons we are so far unable to fathom. What a naked dance of Elder Orubebe!!!. Therefore, we advise the Honourable Minister to concentrate on his ministerial work to uplift the country and the Niger Delta in particular which our people have so much expectations”.

According to the statement, “Congress therefore wish to advise Elder Godsday Orubebe, his political associates and followers to pursue their political ambition with decorum, peacefully and without acrimony; and desist from any further attacks on the person of Chief E. K. Clark so as not to cause crises and dissentions in the Ijaw Nation.

The statement concludes by dropping this advise, “Congress seizes this opportunity to once again urge all political office holders particularly at the national level to concentrate on their jobs and bring democracy dividends to the people. We urge Elder Godsday Orubebe to use the same national press to immediately render unreserved apology to the revered papa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark and further call his surrogates to order. This should be done without pre-conditions demanded on the elder Statesman”.

However, political  pundits claim that there is more to the Clark denouncement of Orubebe and Ochei than meets the ordinary eye in Delta state.

Impeccable sources and analysts are actually surprized that Chief Clark is only just realizing that Orubebe had the ambition to succeed Uduaghan, as the Niger Delta Affairs Minister is said to be very calculating and has recently started to believe that Chief Clark is old and and his time has  passed, and so, he should give them the younger politicians, especially those from Ijaw extraction, the chance to run the state, a position which has prompted him to start building his own political empire, knowing that anybody under Clark’s leadership must be subject to his authority.

A very reliable source had this to say; “The truth is that while Clark trusted Orubebe and was trying to put him above others in his group, the minister already saw himself as a leader by virtue of his status and so, was building his own structure, instead of Clark’s structure.  The rivalry was so bad that even in their local government, Orubebe has planted his men all over the place and they are working for him against the interest of Chief Clark.”

The source reportedly added that Orubebe wanted to take over the leadership of the party in the state to facilitate his nomination as PDP’s gubernatorial candidate in 2015. “Clark never thought Orubebe was building a different political structure until recently during the ward and Local government congresses of the party, and all efforts to make him (Orubebe) withdraw his interest in the cases he filed in court against the party fell on deaf ears.”

Chief Clark was reported to have corroborated this claim when he purportedly called on the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to “call Mr. Godsday Orubebe to order and advise him to withdraw these court cases  to allow peace to reign in the party and in Delta  State.”

Another group, the Voice of Delta also came out strongly to denounce Orubebe’s ambition and even went ahead to justify their position that Orubebe can never be Governor with the following seven point reasons;          1. Orubebe has never done any meaningful thing for Delta as a State Beginning from his days as Councilor; 2. He is controversial; 3. Orubebe is disobedient and has proven this fact by disobeying president Goodluck Jonathan’s directed on campaign; 4. He never denied the allegations of siphoning Public funds through the Niger-Delta Ministry by Governor Rotimi Ameachi and Asari Dokubo; 5.Orubebe was never qualified to be Minister of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria if not for the intervention of E.K Clark; 6. Orubebe is out to overheat the Polity because he was a party to the PDP decision that made the power sharing decision of the Anioma People producing the Next Governor of the State; and 7. He has no manifesto for his Governorship aspiration and has no meaningful achievement as Minister of the Niger-Delta.

As for the verbal denouncement of Rt. Hon Victor Ochei, political watchers in Delta State would recall that at the height of the battle by Chief E.K Clark to remove governor Uduaghan on the grounds that he was foisted on Deltans by his cousin, Chief Ibori, one the very strong voices of support for the embattled governor, was Hon. Ochei.

Insiders claim that Chief E.K Clark may not have forgotten the alleged harsh words and comments with which Ochei was said to have addressed both Chief Clark and his intense campaign to remove Uduaghan, and that that the Niger Delta elders statesman was actually bidding his time to strike back at Ochei at the appropriate time, which now appears to have come, with the speculated ambition of the Speaker to contest the governorship election in 2015.

Very close inside sources also claim that this vitriolic attack by Chief E.K Clark on both Ochei and Orubebe is not at all surprising as it is very typical of the strategy of the Elder statesman whenever he wants to make a political killing.

Many Delta watchers are actually amazed at the sudden sweet relationship between Governor Uduaghan and Chief E.K Clark, especially following the amicable resolution of the Delta PDP Executive Council list which had raised so much controversy and had threatned to tear the party apart.

Clark, who had hitherto virtually fought Governor Uduaghan from every conceivable angle to justify his claim that the governor was imposed on Deltans by Ibori, suddenly became so sweet with Uduaghan even to the point of calling him “My son”.

Delta PDP insiders confirm that governor Uduaghan may have had to display a lot of magnanimity and accommodation by conceeding very key positions in the state PDP Exco (including that of Party Chairman) to the Clark camp, after the Ward and Local govt congresses of the party, for the peace and reconciliation which subsequently followed in the party to be achieved.

The attacks by Chief Clark on Orubebe and Ochei, according to some pundits, may thus be part of a grand plan to actualize the emergence of a candidate favoured by Governor Uduaghan, who it is speculated, is lining up certain persons in his present cabinet, including the widely reported Dr. Festus Okubor, the Chief of staff to the Delta state government, amongst others.

Other analysts belonging to a different school of thought, opine that Chief E.K Clark, who had never hidden his support for the emergence of an Anioma governor, may also be working according to a plot hatched as far back as 2007, when the Delta Leaders and Elders council had identified with a particular candidate, who had  set up a formidble political machine to challenge the Ibori dynasty, but had lost out at the party primaries in Ogwashi-uku and then disappeared from the political horizon for a very long time, leaving his political structure to be inherited by a host of younger politicians.

That candidate is now alleged to once again be in the race for the 2015 governorship election and belongs to a major ethnic nationality which has all the potentials, according to political calculations, to attract block votes from the other two Senatorial zones in the state and win the 2015 elections convincingly.  Chief E.K Clark is thus only playing the expected role of discrediting any other Anioma candidate who intends to join the race and Ochei has become his first victim.

While Elder Godsday Orubebe and Speaker Victor Ochei would be very concerned over Chief E.K Clark’s dismissal of their governorship ambitions, one man who would literarily be laughing into his teacup will be governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, for very obvious reasons.

A pundit jokingly said that if you ask Governor Uduaghan what he thinks about the comments of Chief E.K Clark on Ochei and Orubebe, the governor would reply thus: “Na im good for them. Now dem go know the kain of wahala wey i don see. Thank God say no be me o. Make Baba carry in wahala go give oda people too.”

Another analyst however had a different answer by saying that Governor Uduaghan would simply keep quite but with a huge smile on his face. Afterall, he has only two more years to serve as governor and his remaining tenure would be so much more peaceful without Chief E.K Clark on his back and indeed it would be in his overall interest to be on the good side of Chief E.K Clark, especially now that he is widely expected to contest for the Senate in 2015 and take over from an Ijaw man, Senator James Manager.

It is possible that as you are reading this, President Jonathan may have finally endorsed the ambition of Elder Godsday Orubebe by relieving him of the portfolio of Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, in order to afford the Minister the full opportunity to drive his governorship quest.

President Jonathan has already concluded plans, according to Aso Rock Insiders, to allow four ministers-Elders Godsday Orubebe, Mr. Bala Muhammad, Stella Odua and Labaran Maku, who are said to have indicated interest in the 2015 election and had obtained the tacit approval of Mr. President, to proceed with the process of contesting the gubernatorial elections in their respective states. Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike is also believed to be leaving the Federal cabinet to actualise his political ambition.

It is believed that the President has given his subtle blessing to the Niger Delta Minister by Jonathan to begin the process of taking over from Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State that made Orubebe publicly announce his gubernatorial ambition to the people of the state during a recent visit.

Although, the declaration of his political interest to rule Delta State has pitted him against his godfather, a source close to the Presidency said that the apparent difference would be resolved in Orubebe’s favour since Clark could not disagree with Jonathan’s interest.

“The most important development in the Delta situation is that Orubebe has got the endorsement of both President Jonathan and Governor Uduaghan. At the appropriate time, Clark who brought Orubebe into the ministerial seat, will calm down,” the source explained.

One thing which many polity watchers have agreed on is the fact that no matter how blunt his comments may appear most times, once Chief E.K Clark sets his sights on you verbally, the scars are likely to remain for a very very long time.

So what happens next for Elder Godsday Orubebe and Rt. Hon Ochei, after this harsh verbal vote of no confidence on their governorship ambition by Chief E.K Clark? Deltans are watching and waiting patiently.       

OBI (PROF.) CHIKE EDOZIEN; THE ASAGBA OF ASABA: AN ICON ON THE THRONE – By David Diai

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Obi Prof. Joseph Chike Edozien, CFR, JP, the Asagba or traditional ruler of Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria was born on July 28, 1925 in Asaba.

His father was Nathaniel Okafor Edozien a direct descendant of Nnebisi the founder of Asaba, and one of the most senior indigenous officials of the Nigerian Coal Corporation in Enugu. His mother, Nwakuso Edozien née Odogwu, was the daughter of a prominent Asaba chief, and a notable trader.

His father sent him at an early age to live with an uncle who was a school master in Warri, Delta State then Bendel State, Nigeria. He attended the Catholic School in Warri from 1933 to 1937.

He attended Christ The King College (CKC) Onitsha, Anambra State from, 1938 to 1941; Higher College, Yaba, Lagos, (1942); Achimota College, Accra, Ghana, (1942 to 1943). His university education began with an admission to the University College Dublin, Ireland in 1944. He completed his BSc with honours in Physiology from the National University of Ireland in 1948, MSc in Physiology in 1950, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Chemotherapy (MBBCh) in 1954. He won several academic awards in the process.

His academic career began with an appointment as a Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry in Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London in 1951. Following his sterling academic attainments, young Edozien became a lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry at the prestigious University of London Medical School. In 1952 he was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Pathology at the University College, Ibadan. He returned to Ibadan after further studies in Ireland.

In 1955 he married Modupe Smith a radiographer at the University of Ibadan teaching hospital. Her father was one of the first indigenous managers of the famous United Africa Company, UAC, and her maternal grandfather was Herbert Macaulay, Nigeria’s first surveyor and one of the principal actors in Nigeria’s independence movement.

He was Senior Lecturer in Chemical Pathology between 1957 and 1961. In 1961, Edozien became a professor of Chemical Pathology at the university, a position he held till 1966. By the fact of his elevation in 1961, Edozien became the fourth Nigerian to earn that academic title. Today, he is the oldest surviving Nigerian Professor in any discipline.

The late colonial and early independence period were exciting times in Nigeria. Educated Nigerians rapidly occupied positions of responsibility in politics, commerce and academia. Everyone’s hopes were high that in a short time the country would bridge the gap with the more developed countries of Europe and North America.

The euphoric mood permeated the University of Ibadan, and Edozien’s groundbreaking research in nutrition helped win it a reputation as a rising academic centre. He was appointed a professor in 1961 and became the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 1962.

Edozien’s career at Ibadan ended in 1967, a casualty of the political crisis that ended the euphoria of the late 50′s and early 60′s and resulted in the coups of 1966 and eventually led to the Nigerian Civil War. In 1967 he was instrumental in the efforts to establish the University of Benin in the newly created Midwestern Region of Nigeria. He was also implicated in the plots that resulted in the Biafran invasion of the Midwestern Region at the beginning of the civil war and was forced to flee the country.

After a brief period in France, he was appointed as a professor of Nutrition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

In 1971 he became a professor and head of Department of Nutrition, of the School of Public Health of the University of North Carolina. In fact he was also Professor and Chairman, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA, for an unbroken 20 years, beginning from 1971. Between 1988 and 1991, he was Chairman, Governing Board, National Institute for Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos. Edozien became Professor Emeritus of the prestigious University of North Carolina in 1991, and has remained so ever since.

In 1990 Edozien was appointed the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research. Shortly thereafter he was selected to become the 13th Asagba of Asaba. He retired as a Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina and returned to Nigeria in 1991. He was installed on July 1, 1991.

Edozien’s tenure as the Asagba of Asaba has coincided with dramatic changes in the character of the town. When the government of President Ibrahim Babangida created Delta State out of the old Bendel State, Asaba was chosen as the capital. Its new status as the seat of the state government has brought much of the chaotic development associated with contemporary Nigerian urbanization. The population of the town has grown and the influx of non-Asaba indigenes has strained the traditional institutions of the town.

A central theme of Edozien’s tenure as the Asagba has been the challenge of balancing rapid development, modernization of traditional norms and institutions with preservation of the positive aspects and moderating influence of traditional values. Several on-going initiatives such as the Asaba permanent palace and civic centre and the documentation of the town’s traditional laws and customs have sought to balance these concerns.

Edozien remains an important figure in modern day Nigerian affairs. President Olusegun Obasanjo conferred the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic on him in 2003. He is also the Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

Obi (Prof) Chike Edozien is black Africa’s first indigenous dean of medicine and royal father of Asaba clan of Delta state.

However, Prof Edozien is not only all about academics. He is a stoic positive symbol of the traditional institution, and, as Asagba of Asaba, he was, for three years beginning from 1997, Chairman, Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers.

At 89 years of age, Obi Edozien is celebrating not just his birthday in the capital city of Asaba, which is replete with history- positive history at that- but also his 23rd year on the throne of his forebears.

Prof Edozien is a perfect blend of Asaba tradition and western-style modernism.

As  a leading icon in the field of medicine and for his sterling leadership, Prof. Edozien has earned the national award of Commander of the Federal Republic  (CFR). He is Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

Prof.  Edozien is also a happy father of distinguished children by his wife, Modupe, who is a granddaughter of Herbert Macaulay, easily one of Nigeria’s fore-sighted first generation politicians.

2012 marked his 21st year on the throne as the Asagba of Asaba. Nna Agu, Nna Agu, Nna Agu. Asagba, Igadi kaa echi; Ise.

LINE OF SUCCESSION OF ASAGBA TO DATE

1. Obi Nenmor – Umuagu        1780

2.       Obi Ofordu – Umuagu    1790

3.       Obi Diai – Umuonaje      1820

4.       Obi Monu – Umuaji       1850

5.       Obi Nwani –  Ugbomanta        1870

6.       Obi Egbola –  Umuaji     1890

7.       Obi Onyemenam –  Umuaji      1910

8.       Obi Nwokolo – Umuezei          1925-1932

9.       Obi Ijeh – Ugbomanta    1937-1948

10.     Obi Emenashi Odiaka – Umuagu     1950-1958

11.     Obi Okocha Nwokolo – Umuaji       1962—1963

12.     Obi Umejei Onyetenu – Umuonaje   1964-1988

13.     Obi {Prof.}Chike Edozien – Umuezei        1991 till Date

 

David Diai is a Journalist and the National President of Anioma Media Network, AMN.

IJAW, URHOBO SET TO DISPLACE ANIOMA IN 2015. **** Uduaghan’s Coded Agenda – By Flashpointnewspaper

The plot over who becomes Delta State governor thickens as each day goes by and the latest act circulating in the grapevine is that there is a grand but perfectly legitimate underground agenda to displace Delta North and the Aniomas from producing the next occupant of Government House, Asaba in 2015.

This agenda, according to some highly placed Delta political watchers and key players in the political landscape, is been hatched via a collaboration of the Ijaws and Urhobos to ensure that the much touted power shift, which had been the cardinal excuse for the emergence and re-election of Governor Uduaghan, does not complete its projected trajectory by coming to Delta North in 2015.

The indicators, according to some discerning pundits, have manifested in several well orchestrated events, especially the last Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, state congress, which produced the present Peter Nwaoboshi led exco, but which has continued to continued to give off conflicting signals, highlighted by the delay in the swearing-in of the new exco.

It was generally alleged in some very critical and aggrieved quarters within the PDP, that the Party’s congresses, from Wards, through Local Governments and finally state, had made a complete sham of internal democracy in the PDP and negated the instruction of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who had urged all party chieftains to go back to their wards and conduct a congress that would start from the grassroots and subsequently return power to the people by ensuring that they are the ones who would elect their own leaders.

Reports had emerged from across the state of how the congresses were hijacked in some key local government areas by certain persons regarded as big wigs in the party, especially from Abuja, who reportedly disenfranchised banafide delegates from taking part in the congresses.

But all that appears to have been settled now with the recent proclamation by Chief E.K Clark and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan that they have settled their differences and peace has returned to Delta PDP.

This new reconciliation song has led many watchers to conclude that the earlier suspected ploy to scheme Delta North out of the governorship in 2015, following the way and manner the Delta PDP State congress was contrived, may have just been the beginning of a grand plan between Chief Clark, Governor Uduaghan and some key Delta North political figures loyal to Chief Clark to support a candidate from the Ijaw ethnic nationality of the Delta South geo-political axis, thus not only returning power to Delta South but indeed truncating the widely held notion of the power shift argument that it will be the turn of Delta North to produce the governor in 2015.

The main figure in this calculation is of course Elder Godsday Orubebe, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and he is becoming very prominent in the governorship conversation as each day goes by, especially with the feeling that the Delta North candidates are not speaking with one voice and there is the real possibility that the zone will be betrayed by its own key political figures in 2015, because of the ambition of each of the leading candidates to become the governor, when Uduaghan leaves office .

In fact there is a very serious report making the rounds that one of the very top Delta North aspirant may have allegedly  decamped from the  PDP to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN following the handwriting on the wall  after the state party congress and the recent reconciliation between Chief E.K Clark and Governor Uduaghan. FLASHPOINT will bring you details of this sensational news at the appropriate time.

The second figure is distinguished Senator James Manager, who is presently in his fourth term as the Senator representing Delta South senatorial zone but who is rumoured to be strongly considering a shot at the governorship, especially in 2015, when the Isokos and Itsekiris who are also part of the Delta South conclave will be compelled to seek an option to the political wilderness which stares them in the face when Governor Uduaghan and SSG, Comrade Ovuozurie Macaulay would have completed their tenures.

In all these however, the Delta Central Political group is not just watching the landscape keenly, but have intensified their own political calculations to ensure that they are visibly and strongly positioned to cash in on any miscalculations by Delta North, who it is rumoured are already feeling threatened and intimidated by the sudden force and underground movements going on inside Delta PDP and in the Delta Central political environment. Some discerning Delta political watchers have opined that Delta Central in the PDP, miscalculated when former Governor James Ibori handpicked and handed over to his cousin, Emmanuel Uduaghan and Prof Amos Utuama in 2007.

The feeling that they have been in the political wilderness since 2007, was further aggravated by the trouncing they received at the hands of the opposition Democratic Peoples Party, DPP in the 2011 elections and this has further cemented the conclusion that Prof. Utuama, despite his hallowed position as Deputy governor, is reportedly regarded is a political liability to Delta Central.

The anger over a continued sojourn in the political wilderness has led to the emergence of several pan-Urhobo groups like the Urhobo Political Forum (UPF) with Chief lghoyota Amori as National chairman, the Urhobo Consultative Forum (UCF) headed by Sir Tom Amioku and now Urhobo Political Congress (UPC) and the Delta Central Political Movement (DCPM) with Chief Olori Magege as protein Chairman.

All these bring to fore, the perceived or assumed agenda of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in the whole calculation and many believe that he may be nursing a coded agenda which, like the wily political fox he has become over the years, he is keeping very close to his chest.

The present popular opinion in Delta Central is that Governor Uduaghan, posing under the power shift argument,  is said to be subtly discouraging any person from Delta Central from aspiring for the governorship post while allegedly encouraging others and at the same time keeping to his chest his ultimate joker, just like ex-governor James Ibori did in the run-up to the 2007 governorship elections that eventually brought him, Uduaghan,  to power.

Political insiders claim that at a recent meeting of the party caucus from Delta Central, presided over by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, his Political Adviser; Chief Ighoyota Amori, had called for the restructuring of the zoning system so that no senatorial district could hold the post of party chairman and governor at the same time; a position fueled by the fact that Peter Nwaoboshi will still be the party chairman in 2014, in the event of a Delta North governor emerging.

According to very reliable sources at that meeting, Governor Uduaghan was reported to have told those present that the PDP had a precedent to guide them and  buttressed his position by informing them that when the post of party Chairman was held by Delta South zone for eight years, the Delta Central also held the post of governor, with Chief James Ibori from Delta Central or eight years.

Uduaghan then argued that to ensure stability in the party, the precedent must be adhered to, thus lending credence and further fueling the suspicion in Delta Central that he is likely to abandon them in 2015.

It was gathered that while nobody was bold enough to contradict Governor Uduaghan after his speech, feelers from Delta Central indicate that the issue has continued to generate tension in the political space where some of the PDP stakeholders argued that to allow the Governor’s argument to stand, only means that the PDP would once again be thrashed in Delta Central just like in 2011, but worse still, they will lose out completely on the two key positions in the state, viz: Governor and Deputy Governor and that would mean being out of power for 16 years since Prof. Utuama’s position has not delivered the expected political mileage in the calculation of some Delta Central stake holders.

The alternative for Delta Central however is to play along with the Uduaghan zoning formular and settle for the Speakership or the SSG or stake a serious claim for the governorship by throwing its support to any party or candidate that is pro-Delta Central and settle for either the governorship or Deputy Governor.

This second option  to abandon the PDP appeared to have been the initial position after the 2011 general elections, but there is a growing realization in Delta Central that the Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, which was once the beautiful bride has virtually lost its popular appeal and support now and Senator Pius Ewherido of DPP, who has been touted as one of the leading lights to restore the lost political glory to Delta Central, no longer enjoys the massive support that won him the Senatorial ticket against the PDP in 2011.

In fact the word is that Senator Ewherido is planning to decamp from the DPP in order to shore up his political ratings and if this happens, then he will be a very strong contender for the position of Deputy Governor to any candidate who enjoys the sympathy of Delta Central or indeed a serious governorship candidate for any other ppolitical party which has the interest of Delta Central outside the PDP.

The safe speculation at this time is that Delta Central not wishing to be completely marginalized, will re-strategize in line with Governor Uduaghan’s position on the zoning and power shift arrangement and instead settle for the post of Speakership in 2015, with an eye on the post of party chairman if the zoning formular is sustained beyond 2019.

The language however, of those against this arrangement is also very instructive. Chief Bobson Gbinigie, the National Coordinator, Mandate Against Poverty (MAP) may have captured it succinctly or perhaps he may not have after all. Hear him: “The Machiavellian and Descartian political plot by Uduaghan to pick his successor (Ibori style) is calculated to cover his eerily Prebendalistic tracks, frustrate genuine aspirants and destroy the political interest of the majority interest group. But such orchestrations can be nipped in the bud if people of common coalition stick together and apotheosize a re-surgimental sense of political mission.  Uduaghan should declare his assets, show transparency in governance, improve his accountability index to Deltans, create jobs and stop diversionary political acrobatics.”

As for Delta North, the major political contenders for 2015 are of course the usual suspects namely; the Speaker, Delta House of Assembly, Hon Victor Ochei and Senator Ifeanyi Okowa. The word is that they are currently being encouraged by governor Uduaghan and are strengthening their already existing structures for the 2015 governorship battle.

There are also some technocrats mentioned in the equation like the mercurial Tony Elumelu, President of Heirs Holdings and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, as well as Prof. Sylvester Monye, Special Adiviser to President Jonathan on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, PME, of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs. But the safe bet is to go with the core politicians, at least for the time being.

The position of Deputy Governor for any of these Anioma aspirants has been tipped to go to Delta South with the Isokos and Ijaws, who have not held any of the top two positions since 1999, strongly in contention in the persons three strong Uduaghan loyalists namely the current Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Comrade Ovuozorie Macualay from Isoko, the present Commissioner for Works Hon. Solomon Funkekeme from Ijaw and thepresent Commissioner for Health Dr. Joseph Otumara, who is Uduaghan’s kinsman from Itsekiri.

Delta political watchers are of the strong opinion that the argument that Governor Uduaghan may eventually support his kinsman Dr. Otumara for the position, is founded on two facts, viz: the Itsekiris will not want to be in the political wilderness after Uduaghan leaves office in 2015,  especially given the way the politcal permutations are playing out so far.

Secondly, Governor Uduaghan did not hesitate to appoint another Itsekiri man, Oritsua Kpogho as the Chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission DESOPADEC, thus putting him in control of half of the revenue accruing to the other half of the Delta divide. Kpogho’s tenure as DESOPADEC Chairman will effectively end in 2014 and since the law states that he will run for only one term, the Itsekiris will be left with nothing politically. Unless they get the Deputy Governorship.

The other alternative for the Itsekiri and Isoko is to go for the Delta South Senatorial slot after the tenure of distinguished Senator James Manager. There are of course three likely candidates for this position; Hon. Leo Ogor, who presently is the Majority leader in the Federal House of Representatives and Comrade Ovuozuorie Macaulay, who is the present Delta SSG and a likely Deputy Governorship candidate.

The third person is of course the big masquerade himself, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who many believe has already made up his mind to become the next Senator representing Delta South in the upper chamber of the National Assembly. Delta political pundits aver that Governor Uduaghan may have concluded his plan by going into an agreement with Chief E.K Clark to deliver the governorship to the Ijaws after his tenure, as part of a grand plan to perfect his own Senatorial ambition plan in 2015; a plan which Chief Clark himself may have endorsed following his confirmation that he has reconciled with Uduaghan.

So can anybody stop Uduaghan if he decides to become a Senator in 2015? Only time will tell.

DELTANS DEMAND SEVEN NEW STATES BEFORE 2015 – By Flashpointnewspaper

The signs that the ethnic nationalities in Delta State are still not very comfortable living together under the same name, came to fore once again, when Deltans from across the three geo-political zones sent in strong requests to the recently concluded Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution demanding for as much as eight new states to be carved out of the present Delta State.

The states which have been demanded for are; Anioma State by the movement for the creation of Anioma state, Urhobo state by the Urhobo Progressive Union, Warri state by the Itsekiri Model, Coast State by the Ijaws ans Itsekiri’s leaders forum, New Delta state by the movement for the creation of new Delta state, Ado State by the Isoko people and Ethiope State by the movement for the creation of Ethiope state.  An eight state, Toru Ebe state intends to accommodate Ijaws from Delta, Edo, Ondo and their kinsmen around the South western penninsula, just like Bayelsa did with Ijaws from the Old Rivers, Bendel and later Delta states in 1996.

According to the report  summarizing the memoranda submitted to the Senate Review Committee in respect to the creation of new states, the South South region actually top the list with 17 demands and Delta state alone is leading with the demand for at least Seven states.

Since the creation of Delta State by then President Ibrahim Babangida in 1991, the disquiet and pronounced anger which greeted the contraption woven together twenty one years ago, has not really died down completely, despite the efforts of politicians, especially those seeking the governorship position, to create the impression of unity and togetherness amongst the ethnic nationalities.

Prior to the 1991 creation, there had been the predominant agitation for two new states from the old Bendel State. They were; Delta State and Anioma State. The signs that new states would be created was heightened after the Gideon Orkar led Coup d’etat of April 22, 1990 and the bids from the agitators of Anioma and Delta states were so strong that there was little doubt the two states would be created in the next tranche of new states.

But General Babangida suprized every one and angered a substantial segment of the new bedfellows, when he created Delta state but put the capital in Asaba, the heart and proposed capital of the Anioma agitation.

It was a strange decision by Babangida, which many say was influenced by his late wife Maryam and in response to this unsolicited companionship, the rest of the new Delta state simply refused to set down roots in the new state capital for several years, preferring to visit and conduct their business with the administrative seat of power and returning to their bases in as short a time as possible.

The situation was so tense at that time that it had to take the courage of Comrade Ovuozuorie Macaulay to bridge the gulf and by becoming the first non Anioma in a recognized top public office to build a house in Asaba, thus creating a friendly atmosphere for others to at least re-consider their apathy towards the new capital.

But for over eight years Asaba remained in the doldrums of underdevelopment even with its status as a state capital under a military regime and it was not until 1999, when Chief James Ibori won the election as the governor of Delta State in the new political dispensation, that some cosmopolitan structures began to emerge. A new government House was built, a couple of new roads snaked out and some new areas were opened up to allow people who believed in Ibori’s expansive and accommodating spirit to buy land and build.

Ibori opened up Asaba but by then, the message was very clear and the obvious scenario was that the agitation for the creation of new states from Delta state would always be pursued once the opportunity arose.

Politics also contributed to further heighten the agitation for new states as the issue of power rotation amongst the three geo-political zones, Delta Central, Delta South and Delta North became a major talking point, especially during the run up to the 2007 governorship elections when no one was quiet sure where the power would shift to after Ibori’s reign.

When Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan emerged as the next governor of Delta state, his supporters and loyalists quickly upheld the power shift argument and tied his victory as a Delta South candidate to the actualization of power rotation from Central to South.

But those who followed that election know that Governor Uduaghan, despite his sterling public service credentials as Health Commissioner and SSG, was simply selected and anointed by his cousin James Ibori as the next governor, especially against the backdrop of the fact that three of the leading candidates; Ovie Omo-Agege, Godswill Obielum and Ifeanyi Okowa had come from the Central and North.

Governor Uduaghan, since he assumed office in 2007, has actually exhibited a greater zeal to develop Delta State. The Asaba International Airport stands out as the stellar project of his administration and there have also been impressive achievements in the Health sector, Micro-Credit, Education and Special Infrastructure amongst others, but the fact that most Deltans may not have been very impressed with his leadership style was revealed during the governorship re-run election of January 2011 and indeed the general election of April 2011, which he may have won with a landslide but in which the opposition in Delta State finally made tremendous gains for the first time since 1999, over the his ruling PDP where he is the leader of the party in the state, especially in Delta Central and some parts of Delta North.

In fact, the opinion on most streets in the state and across the three geo-political zones is that Delta State is actually comparatively worse off now in the five years of Governor Uduaghan’s administration than at any other time in the twenty one year history of the state.

The indices for this conclusion are mainly empirical, especially the roads in Asaba, Warri and other major towns and cities. Delta State Commissioner for Information explains this situation by arguing that for the first time in the history of the state, things are now been done properly and the Uduaghan administration has embarked on constructing drainages first before fixing the roads so that they will last longer and certainly beyond the next rainy season and these things take time to complete.

But it is doubtful if his explanations have managed to convince Deltans, who complain that the Uduaghan administration is rather slow to respond to the situation and address the obvious pains which the people are going through and many of the sceptics are fully convinced that one sure way to address the development challenges which now exist in Delta State is to be given their individual states.

Another act which further motivated the demand for the creation of new states was the decision by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo to legally compel the national Assembly and by extention the oil producing to pass a law establishing Oil Producing Areas Development Commissions in all the Oil Producing States of the country, which will be entitled to 50% of the 13% derivation revenue accruing to such states from the federation account.

This led to the establishment by law of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC and with the sizeable chunk of half of the 13% derivation revenue going to the Commission the polarities between Oil Producing and non Oil Producing Communities became more pronounced, not just amongst the Oil Producing Communities themselves, but indeed within the ethnic nationalities that constitute some of the communities.

The fact that both Delta Central and Delta South, which make up the key oil producing communities are actually asking for six new indigenous states, while Delta North has maintained its demand for the one and only Anioma state, speaks volumes for the impact a Commission like DESOPADEC has created in the demand for new states amongst Deltans.

The argument now, according to a school of thought is that given what is presently happening in Delta state, any zone that eventually succeeds in producing the next governor, will only develop its region at the expense of others, so the best way to go is to ask for new states.

In fact, at the just concluded Zonal Advocacy Workshop on Economic Diversification and Enhanced Revenue Generation (South-South Zone) Organized  by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), in Asaba the feelers indicate that the core Oil producing Communities are so unhappy with the way the 50% from the 13% derivation is been managed by the state governments, that they are now asking for either an amendment on the existing law setting up the oil commissions or a new legislation by the national Assembly where the money would be paid directly by the federal government into an account made up of and controlled by the Oil producing Communities instead of  the Governors. The sequel to this, once it is achieved, will eventually be the intensified agitation for the creation of a core Delta or Coastal state in the near future.

Many Delta watchers also believe that the heightened demand by Deltans for the creation of new states may also have been influenced by the political uncertainties that surround the outcome of the 2015 general elections in the state.

The obvious scenario in Delta State today is that only very few people are actually convinced by the power shift  ideology on which the Uduaghan loyalists anchored the victory of their principal in 2007 and 2011. Besides, that argument is only tenable in the ruling PDP, and with the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan, the new interpretation now is that the power balancing structure can only be defined after the top job had been taken, which implies that the governorship in 2015 is for all comers and only those who are serious enough, as Chief E.K Clark has clearly pointed, can get it.

So, once that is settled, the other geo-political zones and ethnic nationalities that lost out can now be factored into the subsequent positions, like the SSG, the Speakership and others.

There is no doubt that against the back drop of these scenarios and indeed the many more that are likely to unfold before the 2015 general elections, the agitation for states creation will continue to be a burning in our national life, even when some of the agitations appear quite unrealistic.

The Federal House of Representatives had in the previous Assembly, affirmed that new states would be created in 2013 and indeed Senate President David Mark, who is a staunch advocate of Apa State, from the present Benue  State has already said that new states will be created soon.

Indeed, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu sums up the debate for the creation of new states thus: “If Nigerians agree that there is need for more states and that there are injustices that needed to be addressed in area of state creation, and they believe that the imbalances need to be adjusted in all parts of the country where there is dominance against the other, we must address it. So if Nigerians agree in that regard, I am sure we can build consensus around it and go ahead to create the state.  I think it is something we are going to give a trial because there are valid requests there that need to be addressed,”.

So will new states be created in 2013?

DELTA AT 21: THE GAINS AND THE PAINS OF LEADERSHIP.

Barely late last year, one Mr Emma Addeh wrote a comprehensive and incisive article to most of the National dailies which he titled as “Delta state is still crawling at 20,” Many ardent observers and social critics believe that the writer was plausibly correct while Uduaghan praise singers saw this article as a figment of distrust and being sponsored by some political foes of the State who never wish the government well in all ramifications. Even to the extent that one of the Uduaghan‘s cabinet replied the writer with disenchant. This article actually exposed the non achievements of the present governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and equally drawn the attention of readers to some essential areas of developmental projects which the Delta State government refuse to cite infrastructure and others. He further said Delta State did not merit the celebration rather an avenue to amass wealth of the State in the name of celebration and many Deltans are living in agog and pains of unbearable poverty over the years with no hope of survival while few are looting the wealth of the State.

Ever since Delta State was  curved out from the former Bendel State in August 27, 1991, only little developmental projects could be fixed while deplorable roads of some areas in the State is nothing to write home about. Some of these so-called infrastructural projects are being celebrated on the pages of newspapers, magazines and Television stations without manifestation. Having taken a look at some states where the ruling party was whitewashed at the last April elections 2011, the opposition parties have able to prove to Nigerians that  PDP has totally failed as a party. Since  May 29, 1999, when the former governor chief James  Ibori took over power and creatively looted the State’ resources and Delta  State as a virgin land of no hope until nemesis was caught on him in the foreign land. There is no need to commemorate Delta State at 21 because the State cannot be quantifiable to other States in Nigeria whose State governors have able to inject gargantuan projects within one year in office. Even most State governors are in their second term as creditably done well without shilly-shallying.

The fact vestiges that the present State governor was not actually the candidate the Delta people wanted but it was conscripted and imposed on the then governor Chief James Ibori who suspiciously manipulated the election result to favor his candidate. Delta people later accepted it with no option to confront the authority of the Delta cabals. Uduaghan’s first term witnessed low monumental achievements which almost made him to lose the re-run election that was conducted by INEC against Chief Great Ogboru , the DPP governorship candidate. The three point agenda of Dr  Emmanuel Udaughan is still not making any significant progress only those connected to Asaba rock can be great beneficiaries of these laudable programmes which he claimed that all Deltans are benefiting and nothing else. The Delta State House of Assembly is not left out. If Delta fails today and tomorrow the State legislators must be held responsible. Though Uduaghan projects Warri as the best commercial city in Delta State which any new comer that visits Delta State will see that the governor is actually working. Most Delta communities are living in total isolation while only few are befitting including state leadership. No wonder many people keeping writing on Delta state marginalization and others.The state governor has tried to bring free health care services to the Deltans to some extent which needed to be applauded. It is appalling that  some political elements are agitating for 2015  governorship candidate while those be elected are yet to give Deltans the dividends of democracy.

One thing that keeps bothering my mindset while the Delta State governor being regularly invited to some State governors’ states to celebrate their political achievements while Uduaghan himself invited none expect few projects being pioneered by him in recent times. Though Uduaghan is one of the serving governors who has encountered great mortification. Though his mouth- watering promises made when he was sworn in office on May 29, 2007 is yet to be provided. The so-called writer Mr Emma Addeh tagged Uduaghan ‘s government as a failure and nothing  to be celebrated.  The State governor has given awards to some Deltans who never merited it but political sycophants only succeeded in promoting projects never existed. Unlike one of the serving Isoko south legislators who used the local media to advertise projects never seen but only interested in buying cutlasses for his people. What a wicked politician?

Delta State has 25 local governments and three Senatorial districts which are Delta south, Delta north and Delta central which only two has benefited from the State leadership and nothing. The Isokos, Aniomas and Ukwanis have not tested the state power since its configuration while its area is about   17,011 square kilometers and population is  4,062, 676  and major languages are Igbo, Isoko, Urhobo, Itsekeri, Igala and Izon. It is ranked number 16th in Nigeria and endowed with a natural resource which contributes 35 percent of crude oil and gas to Nigeria’s economy with huge monthly federal allocation yet no evidence of development. Though we can say hear that Uduaghan has not performed creditably well. The recent development stride of fixing Umeh road which was abandoned by previous government is testimonial of leadership by example. Some communities in Delta state are still living in deplorable state in all ramifications.

Lastly, Uduaghan has done well to overhaul the education sector and provide free medical services to Deltans at all levels. The high rate of kidnapping of high-flying sons and daughters is startling which the government must provide solution and not to prevent Deltans from the State.

BY GODDAY ODIDI 08058124798. PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST 20 ORO Street AJEGUNLE APAPA LAGOS

UDUAGHAN KEEPS DELTANS, LOBBYISTS GUESSING OVER NEW EXCO

                                                               By David Diai

Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has certainly hit the ground running as he assumes the mantle of leadership in this his second and last term in office. Without much ado about lobbyists and other such tedious considerations and encumbrances which usually delay the kick-starting of any new administration, Governor Uduaghan shocked most Delta pundits when he promptly submitted his list of Ministerial nominees to the Presidency after what he described as ‘wide consultations’, across the state.

To say that the names of most of the Ministerial nominees took many Delta watchers by surprise is an understatement, but the one which must have shocked a lot of people is the inclusion of Ovie Omo-Agege on the ministerial list, especially after the seeming bitterness that hallmarked the second term election campaigns including the January 6, re-run elections and the April 2011 elections. Governor Uduaghan has since affirmed that he has no regrets and owes no one any apologies for the Ministerial nominations, following speculations that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state may not have been consulted over the list.

Indeed what happened with the Ministerial nominees list was a very early and clear indication that the Delta State Governor intended to keep his cards, especially on the make up of his new cabinet, quite close to his chest and this was revealed with his very first appointments, one of which was quite the quite astonishing drama that attended the appointment of the new Secretary to the State Government in the person of Comrade Ovuozuorie Samuel Macaulay.

In fact, many Deltans had concluded that the position of SSG was heading to Hon. Solomon Funkekeme, the Secretary of the Delta PDP Campaign Council. Funkekeme had been up and about and everywhere and was indeed quite central to the entire electioneering agenda of Governor Uduaghan’s second term agenda. In fact many sympathizers claim that he had even sacrificed his own political ambitions to ensure that Uduaghan returned for a second term and immediately victory was achieved, the consensus of public opinion was that Funkekeme’s appointment as the next Delta SSG was a fiat accompli. In fact word had it that he had even received congratulatory messages from the very top of the state hierarchy and the preliminary wining and dining had even begun, when Governor Uduaghan literally pulled the rug from under the feet of the celebrants a couple of hours to the announcement, by replacing Funkekeme with Comrade Macaulay, in a stunning reversal which was allegedly conveyed in a highly unorthodox instruction format. Such was the shock and surprise of the drama that Delta PDP’s Campaign DG and chief spin Doctor of the Uduaghan administration, Chief Paulinus had to come ome out openly in defense of the Governor by stating that Uduaghan did not enter any pact with any person or ethnic group at any time or place, on the appointment of the SSG.

As for the other appointments, the shock return of Chief Ighoyota Amori to the corridors of power as Senior Political Adviser to the governor, after a failed senatorial bid, is only tempered by the humorous suprize of his acceptance of the appointment, which is seen by many as way below his very high political pedigree, but which in hard, cold analysis suits his present status. Dr. Festus Okubor’s appointment as Chief of Staff, is perhaps the only one which has not suprized or shocked anyone.

What has become obvious, even from these preliminary actions is that nobody is sure of anything anymore and Deltans are now waiting with bated breath and a high sense of anticipation over the names of those who will make the exco in this second term of Governor Uduaghan’s administration.

However, there is a very likely situation, if feelers and analysis are to be believed, that a large number of those who will constitute the new Delta exco will be drawn from the Delta PDP Campaign Council and the Twenty member Inauguration Committee which was headed by Dr. Joseph Otumara. A critical analysis to buttress this scenario tends to reveal that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan may actually have even fewer friends and trusted associates this time around, after the elections and the subsequent outcome, and as such, his scope of choice and selection may have been limited considerably, which may have informed the composition of the Inauguration Committee, after the elections.

But when asked on how he would go about the selection of his cabinet, Governor Uduaghan in typical fashion hedged his answer in his now legendary tongue-in-cheek manner thus: “I have no laid down principle of selecting those who will form my new cabinet, but i am relying on God for direction. A few of those who performed well in the past will definitely come back but it is a difficult exercise and there is no clear cut way or formula for doing it. All I will say is that God will guild me in selecting the people that will work with me”.

One other point which many Delta watchers are quick to point out is that Governor Uduaghan is also not afraid to bring in new people with little or no political pedigree, but with proven professional and academic recognition into his cabinet. He shocked politicians in his first term by appointing some technocrats who were political greenhorns as Commissioners and there is nothing stopping now in this his second and last term from doing the same, especially since he does not owe anybody any apologies for whatever actions he takes with his appointments, ostensibly in the greater interest of Delta state. It is likely therefore that there will be some new faces especially in the areas of Special Advisers, Assistants and other administrative Aides to the Governor.

The calculation that Governor Uduaghan is also likely to retain his trusted loyalists in the areas where he lost the elections, consider some new names in the areas where he won convincingly and also reward some of those loyalists who lost the elections because they remained in the PDP instead of decamping is equally another argument which some analysts have put forward.

From the analysis so far one can project that some of those listed below, who served in the last administration and who are either in the Campaign Council or  the Inauguration Committee are likely to be involved again in the new administration.

And so, as Deltans await the resumption of the new 5th Session of the Delta State House of Assembly on July 12, to consider the list of Commissioner nominees, it is quite possible, as many pundits and watchers are now speculating, that the Governor has already finished compiling the list of Commissioners and is only waiting for the House of Assembly now.

EX-COMMISSIONERS WHO MAY RETURN

Dr. Joseph Otumara (Ministry of Health): One of the distinguished senior citizens in the cabinet, he has served judiciously and with considerable merit. Many had expected that he would have been on the Ministerial nominees list, but the fact that he is the governor’s kinsman and most importantly that he is a stabilizing influence with his huge administrative experience and elderly statesman status all indicated that his importance at home could not be forfeited, especially at this time when Governor Uduaghan needs all the good and loyal men he can get. He is a key member of the former who may even be elevated to a higher position and the fact that he was given the very prestigious responsibility of heading the Inauguration Committee and was recently presented with an award of excellence by UNICEF are all very strong pointers to the fact that he will be quite central to the Uduaghan administration in this second term.

Chief Paulinus Akpeki. (Orientation and Communication): He came into the administration at a critical time when Governor Uduaghan needed a man of his exceptional brilliance and strategic political vision and he has performed excellently, even to the suprize and reluctant admiration of his opponents. Ugo, as he is popularly called, is calm, articulate and fearless in his actions and opinions and these have been driven and complemented with a certainty that often unnerves and disorients his opponents, who find themselves joining issues with him from a defensive position. He is surefooted and has displayed a definitive mastery of control and understanding of issues anchored on his penchant to support his position with facts which he churns out effortlessly. He is a perfectionist in the true sense of the word and his strategic focus and direction as the Director General of the Delta PDP Campaign Committee contributed hugely to the successes which both President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Uduaghan achieved in the April 2011elections. He also has a genuinely honest relationship with both his peers, colleagues, associates and even juniors and his camaraderie is as infectious as it is disarming.

He has already proven, especially with the Tribunal matters and appointments, that he will surely be a very central figure in the in-coming Uduaghan administration and coming from an area where the governor has very few trusted friends, Akpeki’s place in the new cabinet is all but pronounced.

Dr. Antonia Ashiedu (Micro Credit): She is arguably the most outstanding public officer and Commissioner in the last Uduaghan administration and has contributed more than any commissioner to the recognition, goodwill and credibility which the Uduaghan administration enjoyed at the state, national and international level in the last four years. Her management of the Micro-Credit office has been exemplary, with administrative astuteness, transparent procedure, apolitically firmness and most importantly, people oriented decisiveness. She has also achieved tremendous political acceptance across the state and will be an asset to the administration in any capacity. Many had expected that she would be elevated to the Ministerial level as a result of the recognition she brought to Delta state, but it is also possible that the efficient way she managed the Micro-credit office, coupled with the fact that she was only recently elevated to Commissioner may have created the need to keep such a loyal and trusted ally close by at home. This is also in keeping with the 35% appointment for women in the state exco.

Prof. Hope Eghagha. (Ministry of Higher Education): He came into the administration with a sterling record as an intellectual and a very respected social commentator and has proved himself in the Ministry of Higher Education by ensuring that merit and due process were the yardsticks of all his major assignments, including the Scholarship programme. He even crowned his academic excellence by attaining the revered position of Professor, while in service and the fact that he has successfully midwifed the take-off of the Nigerian Open University campuses in Delta is a huge bonus to his administrative credentials. He has also cut a niche for himself as an academic and intellectual who knows his onions and not a political academician in office and this has arguably kept the politicians largely off his back throughout his term as Commissioner. He is also friendly, easy going, very religious, quiet and well cultured in a professorial kind of way. He is a real asset to any administration and his place in the in-coming Uduaghan is certainly assured.

Chief George Omordi Ugboma. (Ministry of Works): Regarded as one of the few remaining key loyalists inherited from the Ibori days, Omordi Ugbomah has proven himself time and again by delivering his constituency to the PDP and Governor Uduaghan, as he did once again in the April 2011, elections. He is expected to be a key fixture in the new cabinet/administration.

Barr. Richard Mofe-Damijo. (Ministry of Culture and Tourism): Regarded as one of the best appointments of the Uduaghan administration, RMD, who  started as Special Adviser and metamorphosed into a full fledged Commissioner, has arguably achieved tremendous success and relevance with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. His dynamic and pragmatic vision has seen the Ministry embrace national and international recognition, headlined by the unprecedented tour of the Delta State Council for Arts and Culture to Japan for the Independence Anniversary celebration, the highly successful Delta Talent Quest and Reality programmes which has brought the state up to speed in the emerging social environment and the international partnership to build the Delta Leisure Resorts amongst others. He has also been applauded for his cordial relationship with his staff and has affected every segment of the Culture and Literary environment by regular synergies as highlighted with his annual Culture Week celebration and has by his sheer presence and encouragement, packaged Delta state and Asaba as the new location haven and most favoured destination for Nollywood film productions, which has seen the influx of top home movie stars into the state on a regular basis. He has also contributed largely to the new found respect and national recognition which most Delta artistes/musicians have attracted, especially during the political campaign season and he has become quite iconic and symbolic as a member of the constituency which President Goodluck Jonathan has employed to drive his transformation agenda to the Youths. His place and importance in the new cabinet cannot be denied.

Barr. Fred Majemite: (Ministry of Lands) – Generally regarded as one of the loyal and trusted men carried over from the Ibori administration, he took over from the highly successful Barr. Raymos Guanah, after having served as Commissioner Special Duties (Govt. House) and did not really have enough time to proove himself in the Ministry, save for a few comments on collapsed buildings, before the elections. He is dedicated and committed and many believe that he has the capacity and commitment to do well in the cabinet if given an extended opportunity.

Dr. (Ide) Tony Nwaka  . (Ministry of Education -Basic and Secondary): A dedicated and loyal public officer, Ide Tony Nwaka has enjoyed a rising political profile from Special Adviser Local Government, to Commissioner in the Agriculture and Education ministries. He is generally regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the new generation of emerging Anioma political leaders and he has further enhanced his profile tremendously by acquiring a PhD (Doctorate Degree) to beef up his credentials. He is the perfect blend of youth, academic excellence and administrative acumen, which every progressive administration requires. He will be a worthy Commissioner in the cabinet.

Chief Frank Omare. (Ministry of Housing): Regarded as one of the main foot soldiers of the Uduahjan administration, Frank Omare’s profile has been rising with the day and his importance to the administration continues to soar with the recognition of handing him greater responsibilities, the latest of which was the central role he played in the Committee that hosted President Jonathan’s campaign rally in Asaba, Delta state. He was quite instrumental in rallying the Ijaws of Warri for both the re-run election and general elections and his elevation as Commissioner, Ministry of Housing is a clear indication of his favoured status in the administration. He looks a sure bet for the next administration.

Solomon Edoja. (Commissioner, Special Duties Warri /Effurun Urban water Project): He belongs to the class of public officers who possess an articulate and analytical mind and complements this with an accommodating attitude, which takes every body along. He is a well known grass roots mobilizer who also brought a lot of credibility to the administration when he was Special Assistant to the Governor on Inter-party relations and his elevation to the position of full commissioner, although in the Warri/Effurun water project may just be a way of preparing him for a steady stint as Commissioner in the in-coming administration. He is a good man to have in the Cabinet.

Barr. Orezi Jane Esievo: (Special Duties, DESOPADEC): A consummate player in the corridors of power and said to be in the good books of some very senior big wigs in the PDP, she is equally brilliant to boot and has a clear vision of her mission in politics. She has been around and may still be around yet again perhaps in a different capacity.

Dr. Chris Oghenechovwen. (Ministry of Water Resources): A key member of the Uduaghan kitchen cabinet, he was rewarded with the Commissioner of water resources portfolio, but was purported to have run into troubled waters over matters of loyalty to the administration in in the days before the re-run elections. He has since redeemed himself, albeit publicly and is still regarded as an inside man, as displayed in his membership of the Inauguration committee. His experience in government is still very valuable.

Other Commissioners who are also likely to be considered for a return include:

Benard Okumagba. (Ministry of Economic Planning): Young, brilliant and principled gentleman, Okumagba was largely seen as the X factor candidate, brought in to help manage the alleged debts which the finance portfolio had accumulated in the Ibori administration. He is a thoroughbred technocrat who has acquitted himself well, within the limits of his operational leverage both in Finance and Economic planning and remains arguably one of the very few commissioners without any scandals in his excellent record. But he is not a politician, in that sense of the word but a dyed-in-the-wool professional whose political influence has grown somewhat but still remains a useful technocrat to engage in the specialised area of finance and economic planning.

Oma Djebah. (Ministry of Information): His appointment was regarded in most quarters and appropriately so too as a round peg in a rounded hole. His winning attributes included his brilliance in political reportage and the very fact that he had excelled and even garnered some international credentials in the process. He was properly located appropriately within the ambit of his media horizon, and his loyalty to the governor and the promotion and achievement of the then ‘Three Point Agenda’ was not been in doubt. His great enthusiasm to re-position the electronic and print parastatals was not in doubt but he was greatly undermined by his perceived lack of administrative acumen and political experience. It is to his credit however that he achieved considerable success in the digitalization of the Ministry of Information but the same cannot be said for the key print and electronic media in the state, which raised hues and cries from within. It is possible that his political inexperience may have worked against him but he is a good young man to have around the cabinet for his loyalty and dedication to duty and unflinching commitment to and promotion of the vision of the administration.

Others who may also be considered are: Rev. (Mrs.) Shola Williams (Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources); Mr. Ngozi Okolie (Special Duties, DLA (whose inclusion may be hinged on the fact that the governor may decide to stick with who he already has from Oshimili South as a result of the embarrassing loss he suffered in the state capital); Lady (Barr.) Kate Mudiaga-Erhueh (Special Duties, Abuja); Hon. Ross Uredi (Bureau for Special Duties); and Barr. Brave Enodeh          (Ministry of Environment).

Some New Faces:

Funkekeme Solomon: A lot has been said of the former House of Assemblyman, who practically gave his all to ensure that Governor Uduaghan returned for a second term. He has been an Uduaghan man right from his days in the DTHA and was even said to have suffered the suspension which caused a tiny blemish on his excellent tenure as a Legislator, because of frontal confrontation with elements who were trying to cook up an impeachment plot against the Governor at that time. Many watchers also claim that his decision not to contest for any elective position in 2011, was informed by the fact that he wanted to devote his complete time and energies to the re-election of Governor Uduaghan without any distractions. It is little wonder therefore that there was some visible shock and consternation, both from his sympathizers and some notable neutrals, when he was bypassed for the SSG position, some say at the very last minute.

So far, he has taken his disappointment like a man and a true loyalist and has been by the Governor’s side in some of his public appearances and although several factors have been pointed out as reasons why he lost out, there is no doubt that he will surely be in the new cabinet when it takes off. But pundits are still undecided over what position he will be given that can adequately compensate for his hard work and loyalty to the Governor as the SSG office would have done. There is also the small matter of whether the governor will be favourably disposed to give him such a position considering the political balancing that comes with the allocation of public offices. The Ijaws already have a senator and a Minister of the Federal Republic and the appointment of another Ijaw man into one of the major ministries, no matter his contribution to the election, will surely raise eyebrows, especially with the ethno/political, no-love-lost competition between Delta Central and Delta South and the avowed pledge by the Governor to make less enemies and win over those he considers as ‘middle ground’ politicians.

But Funkekeme is a loyal partyman and he of all people understands the governor better than most, so he is likely to accept whatever he gets, whether he likes it or not.

Barr. Chike Ogeah. He is a quite articulate and a very smooth and convincing operator who headed the Publicity Department of the Uduaghan/PDP Campaign Council, but who has never arguably held any high profile political position before. His defense of Governor Uduaghan before, during and after the elections cuts him out as a loyalist and the fact that he is highly recommended and can invoke the name of one of the biggest business moguls in Delta state, from an area where the governor did not do so well is an added advantage to his credentials.

 Mrs Gerogina Evah. She is the Delta PDP Woman leader, who has very visible and quite influential in the electioneering campaign and elections. Her role in mobilizing women has been exemplary and her fearless courage and dogged determination in the political environment will surely give the governor every reason and confidence to appoint her into his cabinet in fulfillmenmt of the 35% gender affirmative action which has become a major national initiative.

Hon Austin Ayemidejor and Mr. Emeka Okwudishu. Both men are already in Governor Uduaghan’s team as the men in charge of some key projects including the new Government House and the Asaba International Airport respectively, but may be elevated to a higher administrative positions.

It is important that this list is just a conjecture of who may be considered for the new Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan cabinet and is based on the analysis carried for the purpose of this report. This list is in no way conclusive and does not in anyway reflect the position of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who has the sole authority to appoint whoever he prefers to head whatever ministry so designated for that individual.