By Ted Uwadiusor/Anthony Arugba
Some days ago, a video went viral showing campaign vehicles engraved with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, logo being chased away from Asaba-Ase, a rural community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta.
In that video, a large number of persons had gathered at the entry point to the community and while the men raised their voices in anger and stopped the vehicles from accessing the bad road into the community, the women who had brooms started sweeping the area, a symbolic art of cleaning the visible traces of vehicles’ tyres on the bad road.
So, the vehicles were forced to make a U-turn, leaving the scene in utter shame! As the embarrassed visitors raced out of visibility, the men and women raised a chorus as they went back home feeling triumphant.
Although that scenario happened in Asaba Ase, it is not peculiar to that community. The causative factor of that incident is brewing in many Delta communities, particularly areas that have been deliberately marginalised in the past 24 years of PDP’s dominance and misrule.
A similar shameful treatment had twice been meted out within the past two months to the member representing Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, who is seeking election for fourth term as a legislator. First was in December last year, when he was blocked from entering Oko, a rural community close to Asaba until he later sent an emissary and parted with huge material gifts to propitiate not just the gods but also the living before he was allowed to campaign there.
And last Friday February 10, 2023, the youths of Adonte in Aniocha South Local Government refused him entry into their community to campaign. Their grouse just like those of Oko in Oshimili South was hinged on the lack of basic infrastructure such as access roads, potable water, electricity among others.
However, for every open confrontation against PDP flag bearers, there are silent protests in the minds of long-suffering Deltans. Many communities choose to be mum awaiting the election days to express their anger against the unfeeling governance so far visited on them since 1999.
One of such communities is Amai in Ukwuani Local Government Area which had been marginalised by successive PDP administrations in Delta State. What is most painful is that an important road that connects Umubu, one of the quarters of Amai with Aragba-Orogun in Ughelli North Local Government Area, had been left unattended to since 1999. Various entreaties made to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on the need to construct the 8km road were rebuffed by the latter for reasons best known to him.
All these portray the anger of the people who are disenchanted with the 24 years of PDP’s stranglehold on Delta State. The people had stomached their anger all this while because there was no strong politician or contestant they could identify with. Even Chief Great Ogboru’s serial challenge to the PDP did not bring about change of governance.
However, the emergence of Sen. Ovie-Omo Agege, the Deputy Senate President and the All Progressives’ Congress, APC, gubernatorial candidate in Delta and his running mate, Hon. Friday Osanebi, has brought a ray of hope as the hitherto drowned voices of people are now being heard. They have obviously seen the man with the experience and exposure to change the status quo.
The Agege candidacy is unique in the sense that he was once a member of PDP and it takes the knowledge of a former insider of an organisation to challenge and dismantle the rot of an existing order. Examples abound all over the world where leadership changes were wrought through popular democratic process.
That the emergence of Agege has automatically altered the political landscape in the state is an understatement given the groundswell of support for his candidacy in the state. In the past three months or thereabouts, the membership of APC has swollen beyond the wildest imagination of political watchers.
Initially, nobody gave APC the opportunity of having a sizeable crowd either during the ward-to-ward or local government tour.
Interestingly, when the APC embarked on the ward-to-ward tour across the three senatorial districts, the venues were filled to capacity because people wanted to hear something new other than the stale promises which the PDP recycles during every election season.
The people have tried PDP for 24 years with nothing to show for it. What they got was extreme deprivation and excruciating poverty. In place of good roads, Okowa has built sub-standard roads that never lasted beyond a season. In healthcare delivery, we have decrepit government hospitals manned by youth corp members as doctors further compounded by lack of quality drugs. Again, most primary and secondary schools are in shambles without teachers which has compelled communities to hire private teachers in government schools. The few good schools that were renovated are found in Owa-Alero, the hometown of Governor Okowa and those of PDP chieftains due to the pervasive parochial and preferential mode of governance of Delta State under Okowa.
Deltans have seen a man in Agege that is exhibiting some form of messianic disposition, which is understandable for obvious reasons. They have been looking for a formidable person that will liberate Deltans from the clutches of PDP and they have found the right person in Omo-Agege.
So what happened in Ase was just a microcosm of all that has been happening in the state. The only difference is that the incident at Asaba-Ase was captured in video and transmitted across the world.
There is need for Deltans to gird their loins ahead of the battle of March 11, 2023. They must ‘shine their eyes’ to elect a capable man to lead the state on the basis of the candidate’s antecedents and not party platform which is used to beguile the non-discerning members of the public
Our confidence in the ability of Omo-Agege to change the situation of things in Delta is based based on the track record of the Deputy Senate President, Barr. Ovie Omo-Agege, who, within the past eight years as a senator, has achieved so much such that no other senator, either living or dead in Delta had even equaled his enviable feat.
With a track record and envisioned beneficial governance, it is unarguable that Omo-Agege would translate a similar feat which was restricted to Delta Central senatorial district to all parts of the state when given the mandate.
It therefore behoves Deltans to look no further but to think right and vote right. It would be foolhardy of our people to vote for the PDP which had ruined our chances of achieving all-round development since 1999. We should not be counted among the category of senseless people that does the wrong thing all the time and still expects a different result! This is time to institute a new order in Delta State by electing Omo-Agege and his running mate, Rt. Hon. Friday Osanebi.
“UWADIUSOR and ARUGBA are based in Asaba, Delta State.
“UWADIUSOR and ARUGBA are based in Asaba, Delta State. You can reach them via email@example.com