The senatorial ambition of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor of Delta State to represent Delta South Senatorial District in 2015 might have hit the rock as his Itsekiris kinsmen under the aegis of the ‘Itsekiri Leaders of Thought’ have kicked against his ambition to represent them in the senate next year, describing him as a total failure.
The body comprising mostly elders and intellectuals of Itsekiri descent, told the Governor who hails from Abigborodo in Warri North that the Itsekiri people have not fared well under him in the last 16 years he has been in government.
In a two-page paid advertorial signed by the octogenarian, Pa Johnson Ayomike (Chairman) Edward Ekpokpo (Secretary) and four others, the ILT noted that the Governor has failed the people in terms of the provision of infrastructure and for arrogating the interests of the Itsekiri people to himself and his friends.
The highly influential Itsekiri group listed the abandonment of the Trans Ode-Itsekiri road, the Ubeji refinery road, the Ekurede Itsekiri road, Koko/Ugbenu road, the Ugborodo and Koko Foreshore Protection, Ogheye ultra modern concrete floating market, the sham 2014 local government election among others, as part of the reasons why Itsekiri people would not vote for him next year.
According to them in an open letter to the Governor, they expressed sadness that the Itsekiri nation under Uduaghan’s watch suffered more deprivations and neglect.
“Your Excellency, we look back with sadness and regret when in 2007, we presented you to Isokos, where your intention to run for governor was made public for the first time and there was hope that your tenure would usher in progress and development of our land.
“It was out of love, expectations and hope – being an Itsekiri and with the conviction that your tenure would usher in progress and development in our land, ravaged by communal crisis. We thought we had another Okotie-Eboh in the making in you. Our love and support for you was not less than that of those hanging around you now. If you demand why we have to write you this letter and take this stand: this indeed, is our answer. Not that we love you less, but we love Itsekiri more.
“Generally, the state and particularly the Itsekiri have not fared well in spite of your almost 16 years in government. In almost every decision, policy, action and inaction, you have consistently compromised Itsekiri, for your personal, political, family or group interests and survival.
“What can we today point to as your greatest contribution to the Itsekiri nation after 16 years in Government? Yet you have a desire to further represent Itsekiri interest in the Senate.
The group accused the Governor of taking the Itsekiri people for granted, despite the fact that they (Itsekiri) stood firmly behind him in difficult times, because we believed that, “He is our son and brother, leave him alone. For us, it is now too late for you to make amends. You have missed the boat.” They added.
They also took a sweep on the Governor over the recently conducted local government election across the state, noting that the said election was a complete sham, because it was marred by violence and other electoral irregularities.
According to them, “It was with utter dismay and disgust we witnessed the sham, the impunity and the joke, which was passed on as local government elections in Delta State, especially in Warri North, Warri South and Warri South-West Local Government Areas of the State.
“The elections were not only marred by violence, ballot snatching, ballot stuffing and other irregularities. Many areas witnessed late arrival of voting materials. As a matter of fact, voting did not take place in many Itsekiri communities, mostly in Warri North and Warri South-West Local Government Areas, and yet results were declared and those who purportedly won the elections were sworn in less than 48-hours after.
“We condemn the reprehensible exercise as it does not represent the true spirit of democracy and it is also an affront and rape of the Itsekiri sensibility. The Local Government elections are condemnable and we strongly condemn them.