Chief Patrick Ideh, 92 years Old former member, House of Representatives has said Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, who he described as his junior brother was being economical with the truth when he claimed recently that, “by the unwritten power zoning arrangement in the state, Delta North Senatorial District Should complete its two terms of eight years by 2023 before power would shift again to Delta Central”
The Elder Statesman, who spoke to NewsRoom247.com.ng, went dawn memory lane and explained that right from when the country attained independence from 1960 to date, there was no time leaders and elders met and decided that there should be such zoning arrangement but added that if Chief Clark is canvassing for zoning, then there must be proper discussion and modalities for such an arrangement.
Chief Ideh recalled that in the former Western region from where Mid West, Bendel and Delta State were created there was nothing like unwritten power zoning arrangement and that this was still applicable to the present Delta State. According to him “Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a Yoruba man was the leader and Premier of Western region, and when he left another Yoruba man Chief S.L Akintola took over and his deputy was Fani Kayode also a Yoruba man.
“When Midwest was created, Chief Denis Osadebe from Benin Province was Premier until he was removed by the 1966 coup. When we return to civilian rule in 1978, Prof. Amborse Alli from Benin province was elected, after him Dr. Sam Ogbemudia another man from Benin Province as elected.”
“At that time, the popularity of the party and the quality of the candidate and not where he comes from was considered. Chief Clark should not give the impression that there was understanding about zoning.”
He said when Delta State was created, Chief Ibru became Governor by popular votes followed by Chief James Ibori. Chief Ideh explained that it was Ibori who imposed former Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan on the people of Delta state because he was his cousin and that gave the impression that there was zoning.
Chief Ideh recalled that Chief Ibori’s arbitrary action led to the formation of Delta PDP Leaders, Elders and Stateholders Forum. He said the group was made up of PDP leaders and governorship aspirants who felt cheated by Chief Ibori’s action. Among them were Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, late Pius Ewerido, Cairo Ojuoghboh among others.
He said further that a meeting was held, where it was revolved to work for a consensus candidate to challenge Emmanuel Uduaghan as well as a protest to former President Obasanjo. He explained further that they also took Chief Ibori to court, through Godwin Ogbetuo, Godswill Orubebe and another person from Delta north. Unfortunately he said, Chief Ibori penetrated the group and many of them were compromised.
Chief Ideh said it was at that time that Chief Clark through late Chief Otobo invited him and late Chief J. E. Ukueku to join the group to choose a consensus candidate that zoning was never an issue. He said a committee was set up lead by late Senator Brume to choose a consensus candidate and it was the committee that recommended Chief Great Ogboru as the most popular and acceptable candidate across all the senatorial districts.
Chief Ideh recalled also that during the negotiation for creation of Delta state, the Anioma group led by one Amadi Amodu tour Delta state consulting with various interest group having failed in their quest to get their owe state. He explained that the group later met in Dr. Esiri’s Abraka country home where the issue of state creation was discussed.
“The Agenda then was state creation and where capital should be located. Among those who attended the meeting was Chief Thompson Onomigho Okpoko. The issue of state capital could not be resolved therefore the federal government went ahead to choose Asaba. There was no discussing on zoning” he declared. He added that if Chief Clark is canvassing for zoning, there must be proper discussing and modalities for such an arrangement
In an interview with a national newspaper, Chief Clark, said the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate in Delta State, Chief Great Ogboru, is wasting his time.
Clark said Ogboru who is seeking to unseat the incumbent, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa cannot defeat him in the next year poll.
The South-South leader contended that Governor Okowa would remain in office till 2023 because of the power rotation pattern in the state.
He argued that Delta North Senatorial District have to complete its two terms of eight years by 2023 before power would shift again to Delta Central where Ogboru hails from.
The former Federal Commissioner of Information, maintained that by the unwritten power zoning arrangement in the state, Delta North Senatorial District should complete its two terms of eight years by 2023 before power would shift again to Delta Central.
The elder statesman was emphatic that APC should have picked its governorship candidate from Delta North Senatorial District, describing as absurd, the permutation that the APC would use federal might to overrun the state.
His words: “Ogboru is just wasting his time. Ogboru has had his time. They are saying that since Buhari contested elections many times, Ogboru should also contest many times in the state.
“Delta Central Senatorial District has had the governorship through Chief James Ibori for eight years. The South had it for eight years through Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and the North is having its turn now through Okowa.
“Even at the national level, everybody believes in the zoning arrangement. The North should take four more years to complete its eight-year tenure. That is why the PDP picked a northern candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to slug it out with President Muhammadu Buhari. After 2023, the North would give way for the South.
“Ogboru was not even a member of APC before now. Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, who has been the leader also believes that the unwritten zoning arrangement should continue in the state. It means that whoever should be the governorship candidate of APC should come from the North.
“That was his (Emerhor) argument but they objected to it. What makes Ogboru the only one contesting in Urhobo nation?
“We have grown above that. Ogboru knows how much support I have given him in the past when we had a political quarrel with Ibori.”