Chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the Urhobo extraction in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta state have petitioned the Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Elder Sheriff Oborevwori over the marginalization of Urhobos in both appointments and elective positions.
In an open letter addressed to the Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Elder Sheriff Oborevwori, they appealed for fairness, equity and justice over the continuous marginalization of Peoples Democratic Party members of Urhobos of Warri in the equitable distribution of elective and appointive offices in Warri South Local Government.
The open letter which was signed by Rev. Canon David Otofia, Chief Vincent Okudolor, Chief Sylvester Femi Okumagba, Mr. Ezekiel Omuegba, Hon. Sylvester Ijabor and Mr. Aminu Juniado, had explained that Delta state is one of the several multi ethnic states in Nigeria
that has instituted an acceptable mechanism of sharing political offices in an inclusive template for harmonious coexistence.
The letter explained that equitable sharing of political office, which also could be described as rotation of power, has helped in promoting harmonious relationships, shaped democracy and has given room for productive engagements devoid of bitter rivalry in areas where it is upheld.
They noted that unfortunately, it is only in Warri South local government that this practice is seriously resisted.
According to the letter, the state leadership which conceived and birthed the conflict elixir has refused to intervene to correct the embarrassing discrimination, pointing out that suppressed ill feelings will sooner than later lead to maelstrom which could have been avoided by early corrective interventions.
The open letter which reads in parts says, “Our informal internal protestations of over two decades now have not attracted the desired government response hence our recourse to this open medium and no matter how minuscule the population of a people appears, as long as their unique identity is recognized by the laws of the land, they are entitled to a proportionate share of all that accrues to their constituency or local government.
“Warri South local government council which is divided into 12 federal wards has two constituencies 1, 2 although, we have Ogunu/Okurede Ward and Otghele community, Okpokiti community in constituency 1. But for good neighbourliness, we have not bothered to contest that constituency 1, not to talk of a tribe that makes about 85% of the population measuredly in the metropolis of Warri South local government.
“And demographically, the two kingdoms of Agbarha and Okere-Urhobo are not less populated than Itsekiri communities. It is also correct that we are as predominantly PDP by orientation as our neighbours, therefore, due to our overwhelming population , we are entitled to partake in the sharing of all the dividends in a proportionate scale.
“It is in recognition of the beauty of truth that it is important to draw your excellency’s attention to the apartheid’s lopsidedness in the distribution of both appointive and elective offices in our local government council since 1999, with the following persons who have occupied the offices of Warri South council chairman.
“They are: Mr. Sunny Omatseye (1991 – 1993), Mr. V. E. Ebigbeyi, (1994), Chief (Dr) Joseph Otumara (1996 – 1997 and 1999 – 2002), Mr. O. Ofili (1998), Barr. Fred Enigin (2003 – 2003), Chief Arthur O. Diden (2003 – 2005), Chief Peter Obukohwo Agiri (2006 – 2007), Mr. Mathew Mofe Edema (2008 – 2011), Hon. Augustine Uronye (2011 – 2014), Mr. Mathew Mofe Edema (2011 – 2017) and Dr. Michael E. Tidi (2018 till date.
“From the above, it is visible that our ltsekiri neighbours hold exclusively to the council chairmanship seat, and Urhobo person, Chief Peter Obukohwo Agiri only occupied the chairmanship seat by twist of fate when the incumbent chairman, late Chief Arthur Diden died, and since then, no Urhobo person has smelt that seat apart from their Itsekiri neighbour.
“In appointments of commissioners in the local government, it has always been an Itsekiri except appointments made during Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration where Chief Bernard Okumagba and Hon. Poko Opuoru were appointed at different times. But at different times by successive governments, Dr. Joseph Otumara has been appointed three times.
“Others also appointed are Mr. Vincent Uduaghan, Mrs. Gbubeni Ikolo Kpenosen, Mrs.Shola Ogbemi Diabo and Mr. Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, while in the administration of the party in the local government from 1999 till date only Itsekiri has held the position of the party chairman, amongst whom are; Mr. Meyiwa Erewa, Mr. Amah Agbajoh and Mr. Johnson Agbeyegbe.
“It is remarkable that all the persons above are of Itsekiri and no Urhobo from Warri South. It is on this note that your excellency, we bring to your notice the untold disorienting and patronizing discrimination which has been our lot in the party and government we work so hard for like other people in the state who are rewarded for their contributions.
“We look forward with faith to a review of our position and circumstance within the party and government of our dear state. We deserve to be rewarded and encouraged.”