AS pressure mounts ahead of 2019 general elections, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Western Zone, has lambasted Itsekiri, who are currently agitating for power rotation/sharing in Delta State, as violators of power rotation in Delta South Senatorial District.
IYC said the Ijaws were not against the gentleman rotational agreement of political offices in the district, but that the policy should be applicable to all political offices in the district.
The Ijaw youth group was reacting to claims by President of the Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Comrade Agbateyiniro Weyinmi, that Senator James Manager’s fifth term ambition was a threat to the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) power rotation/zoning principle in Delta South Senatorial District.
A statement by chairman of IYC Western zone, Comrade Frank Akiefa, and his Secretary, Snr. Comrade Ebi Wonzu on Wednesday, said contrary to the claims of the Itsekiri group, there was no existing power rotation/zoning formula or principle codified anywhere in the district.
The group said from 2003 till date, aspirants and candidates from the other ethnic groups of Delta South Senatorial district: Itsekiri and Isoko have always contested with Senator Manager of the Ijaw and Isoko extraction.
IYC, which gave graphic details of its submissions, insisted that in 2003 during the PDP primaries, Senator Manager contested against Chief Adolor Okotie-Eboh (Itsekiri) and Senator Stella Omu (Isoko).
It added that in the main election in 2003, Senator Manager contested against Mr Okorodudu of the then Alliance for Democracy (Itsekiri) and defeated him, adding that Chief Okotie-Eboh eventually took Senator Manager to court and the case went up to the Supreme Court where Sen. Manager won.
Similar contest, the Ijaw group averred, happened in 2007, 2011 and 2015 elections both at the primaries and main elections.
According to the group, from 2003 to 2015 elections, a total of 22 Itsekiris have contested both primaries and main elections with Senator Manager even when Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, an Itsekiri, was governor of Delta State.
“It is significant to note that even before the start of the present democratic experience, in 1979 and 1983, the contest for the Delta South Senatorial seat experienced similar pattern as candidates from all the different ethnic groups contested and a winner emerged.
IYC, however, challenged the INYC to produce the evidence of the agreement and those who entered into the agreement on behalf of the Ijaw, Isoko, Itsekiri and Urhobo people of the district.
The group said it is hypocrisy to query the fifth term ambition of Senator Manager, but see it right for an Itsekiri who is seeking a sixth term in the Warri Federal Constituency seat from 1999 till date.
IYC maintained that the Itsekiris have monopolized all the elective and appointive officers in the three Warri local government areas since 1954 till date to the detriment of the Ijaws and Urhobos of Warri.
According to the Ijaw group, in actual population, the Ijaws are more populated in Warri, but the Itsekiris have used their slight two wards advantage to marginalize the Ijaws and monopolize elective and appointive positions till date.
The Ijaw group said that the INYC agitating for justice in Delta South Senatorial seat does not see anything wrong with the unjust and unfair treatment meted out to the Ijaw and Urhobo people of Warri.
IYC, however, urged the PDP national leadership to discontinue the call by INYC on Manager to jettison his fifth term ambition, insisting that the Senator has the constitutional right to contest for the senatorial seat just like other indigenes of Delta South.
Reacting to threat by the INYC to regard all political agreements, compromises and resolutions reached as having been breached, IYC said that the Itsekiris have been the ones breaching all the political agreements reached with them as regards power-sharing and rotation in Warri.
Meanwhile, IYC noted that the threat by INYC to take legal steps to recognize Ogidigben as the headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area as against Ogbe-Ijoh, the constitutionally recognized headquarters, would be an exercise in futility.