By Efe Duku,
The last creation and delineation of Electoral Wards in Delta State was carried out by the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) in 2006 under the leadership of its pioneer Chairman, Honourable Justice James Omo-Agege of blessed memory. Chief James Onanefe Ibori was then the Governor of Delta State.
Using population as a universally recognized criterion for electoral redistricting or electoral wards creation/delineation, the erudite Justice Omo-Agege and Chief Ibori ensured that EVERY LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA in Delta got its equitable share of new Wards. In fact, to ensure that this happened, they had to first amend the DSIEC law to give legality and common sense to that process. Some wanted more, but none got nothing.
Many always took it with a pinch of salt that Senator Okowa’s government hates Urhobos with a peculiar vengeful disdain. Many may not also have believed that there are modern-day Esaus of Urhobo extraction in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who would easily trade their conscience, ethnic nationality and human dignity and pride for morsels of sour porridges served daily, abundantly, and arrogantly to ethnic groups that are plainly hated by Okowa’s government, especially the Urhobo Nation. But all that doubt must have been cured with the recent discriminatory creation of 34 Wards to the total and malicious exclusion of Urhobo. Okowa’s regime ensured that all 34 Wards were donated to Okowa’s beloved domains to which Urhobo does not belong. To them, Urhobo as the largest ethnic group in the State must be kept down! Urhobo must be denied what is good for others.
Yes, the DSIEC law rightly recognizes that POPULATION is the cardinal consideration in the creation of new electoral wards. Population is hardly constant. Why then should anyone create Wards in Delta State and deliberately exclude Urhobo as the largest ethnic group from it? Why should that nonsense happen, knowing that Urhobo’s population is unarguably growing faster than those of many ethnic groups in the State? Why was it convenient for the Okowa administration to amend the law to target Urhobo and favour clannish, ethnic-cleansing intents by keeping the 20 wards limit fixed, and therefore ensure that even if Urhobo’s population is a billion today, its ward numbers must remain the same?
Now, let it be clearly stated that the Urhobo nation will not bow to undeserved ethnic bigotry and any ethnic-cleansing or scorched-earth policy. Our fathers did not bow to it in the past and we will not learn how to do so now. Whenever it becomes imperative, as it is now, we have the indomitable spirit and capacity to renew ourselves and become even better people. Irrespective of political differences, let every Urhobo alive know today that an agenda of ethnic irredentism has been launched against the Urhobo people. We are in an existential war and we cannot pretend about it. May the day never come when we as Urhobos launch a similar war against our fellow brothers and sisters for such is unrighteous.
Now, tell it to our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, and all persons of goodwill in all Urhobo hamlets, villages, and towns that with 34 Wards, a Macbeth in Asaba has murdered sleep. They have come to shame us, draw our blood politically and bury us, but we are more than conquerors. We always rise because our hands are clean, and God is with us.
I am Efe Duku.