OBAMA EFFECT IN NIGERIA: WHAT NEXT FOR DELTA STATE AFTER EDO
It took a while for me to realise that education does not equate to common sense. Nothing proves that more than the slavery and tragedy in which Deltans are trapped as Dr. E.E. Uduaghan reconstitutes with urgent favour, the Apartheid system of the “mafia-like” domination. In spite of the abundance of educated heads in Delta State, they have never historically succeeded in articulating and adopting a common platform for the strategic interests of the state. As I attempt to trace the many mistakes of the State, the historical lessons must not be lost as we seek alternatives to the jungle of injustice and slavery Delta State has become.
No doubt, the most important fundamental ingredient of any constitution the world over is the protection of lives and property. It is the social contract between the subjects and the state on which nations are founded. Once these fundamental protections of lives and property are lost or cannot be guaranteed by a state, the social contract is rendered invalid and the subjects are free to exist or to seek to exist in a separate state or entity where it is deemed that such protections can be provided.
In an average family, the end of the year is characterised with celebrations literarily to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ according to most denominations in the Christian religion. It is also a period of reflection and stock taking on what has actually been accomplished in the passing year and setting out the expected goals for the coming year.
Recent developments in the United States of America with the emergence of Senator Barrack Obama as the President-elect by the American people has compelled most political observers in Nigeria and Delta state in particular in postulating possible tsunamic scenarios that the modern Nigerian State could find itself politically, in the next few years, if not months. This has been the atmosphere in Delta State where the wind of allowing the duly elected representative and popular choice of the peoples of Delta State is cheered and ushered into their government house at Asaba as demonstrated by the good people of Edo state in their resilience of the expectations of the long awaited judgement of the Court of Appeal, sitting in Benin City. The case of the Nigerian political terrain which has been devoid of transparency, political tolerance, conceding defeat honourably as it comes and when decently necessary is being faced with the realities of our times as we painfully evolve into a responsible nation capable of taking care of its own, with all the human resources available.
In recognising that contemporary Nigerian politics is in its evolutionary stages and that it is a young democracy, one may be forced to accept this hypothesis but very shortly because when variables like the literacy level, average standard of living coupled with the general level of awareness in the country, it becomes much more difficult to accept. I have always thought that men should be free to exercise what ever right accrue to them as God’s own creatures in their lands. Those who do not desire this freedom for others should themselves be denied of it.
Oshiomhole’s victory at the Court of Appeal, Benin City on 11/11/2008 has triggered off a lot of political manoeuvres which are not likely to succeed in the sister Delta state as the political and ancestral histories of these two states and its people are inextricably linked. Following the events leading up to and after the April 14 th 2007 elections, some myopic analysts were fast to predict that Oshiomhole’s dream of becoming the governor of Edo State, most illusionary. It was to be subjected to a protracted delay for almost two years after the election before the inauguration of the popular choice of the people before a highly agitated Edo State indigenes.
The wild fire of political change that is currently blowing through the Niger Delta region, may have a lot to consume. With contracts awarded and paid for in the last days of Osunbor’s administration, the new governor of Edo state has promised the state’s indigenes that Osunbor may need to “make some reasonable explanations” as to what he did with the State’s money as he was an illegal and self-imposed governor of the state for about two years.
Unfortunately, same can also be said of Delta state. Dr. E. E. Uduaghan’s mandate in occupying the government house in Asaba was stolen in a broad daylight robbery when almost the entire state was denied of ballot boxes and materials on the faithful 14 th April, 2007 elections. The result was the imposition of the cousin - Dr. E. E. Uduaghan - of the past governor Chief James Onanefe Ibori on the good people of Delta state. This was perfected by the effective use of INEC as the government’s legitimate rigging machinery, as against a Federal Government’s agency that was to conduct, oversee and umpire the general elections in Delta state. This is an open secret in Delta State which would have been resolved instantly if Deltans were to have taken laws into their hands but for the confidence they have in the judiciary, as has been the case in Edo State. It has been most unfortunate as the indigenes of the state still groan in pains on how they will one day visit the swearing-in of their chosen.
It is however regrettable to note that the young medical professional Dr. E. E. Uduaghan, has allowed himself and the respected medical profession to be put under undue pressure and scrutiny instead of occupying a space in a medical facility where he is most needed. The on-going regime of show-casing developmental projects being carried out by his administration in the media (both print and electronic), exposes his administration’s weaknesses. A coordinated orchestration of the programmes which a political party wishes to carry out during campaigns is the manifesto. Political psychologists often see the reverse of the foregoing as a calculated strategy merely designed to delude the people with intent to defraud. The bogus projects and adverts are deliberately designed to create a false impression that government is working while in reality it is marking time and engaged in trying to misguide, mislead, misinform and/or deceive the populace, whose interest they ought to be protecting. The adverts provide the plank on which huge funds are drained from the treasury without anything to show. They receive the state’s allocations, disburse funds, effect one or two infrastructural repairs and leave office stupendously rich.
Compass Newspapers issue of Tuesday, October, 21 st 2008 on page 7 had quoted Dr. Uduaghan as saying that “though the deplorable condition of health, power and energy, education, communication and transportation are now symptomatic of Nigeria after 48 th Independence Anniversary from the shackles of colonialism and their domination, his state’s case would be different by the year 2020” One may be tempted to ask few questions if this derogatory statement about the peoples of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Deltans in particular would be attributed to the Governor Delta State from whom he must have received his mandate. We may be right to acknowledge that Dr. Uduaghan was a commissioner in Chief James Ibori’s first administration and Secretary to the Delta State Governmentin the second dispensation. In other words, Dr. Uduaghan has been in the Government House since the last 10 years and it is regrettable to note that almost all hospitals – the sector in which he is a professional – in the state are a mockery of a medical facility anywhere in the world. On education, the proliferation of private schools in the state is an indication of the lack of confidence in the public school system. The complete lack of public utilities is a subject that should be left for another day as there is absolutely nothing to show. The “borehole syndrome” that has come to dominate portable water distribution as against the proper functioning of the Ministry of Water Resources in the state is an obvious example. The complete lack of waste disposal and drainage systems across the state is a major cause for concern. The deplorable state of roads in the state has compelled me to see Delta State as “a no man’s land inhabited by a set of confused individuals, where the rule of law and basic rights of the inhabitants have trapped by a set of cabals who have in turn imposed themselves on the people who they see to be quasi-slaves”. It is not surprising however to note that Dr. Uduaghan will have some explanations to make to the EFCC immediately the immunity shielding him as the governor of Delta state is removed on his exit from office, as he has also been indicted along with his cousin – Chief James Ibori – on some of the money laundering allegations dogging the latter during his tenure as the executive governor of Delta state.
As has been rightly noted by the illegally installed PDP chieftain – Barrister Peter Nwaoboshi – (as no congresses brought about his emergence as the PDP Chairman in Delta state, an issue that is being currently challenged in court), that the battle in Edo state was lost to “in-house fighting”, it will be wise to advise that the house be put in order to avoid the sinking of the mighty ship of PDP in Delta state for same reason, amidst the current political tide blowing across the region.
Warri, 16th November, 2008.
Prince Enahoro Edwin Erijoh
Tel; 080 644 79 092