By Joe Ogbodu
Democracy is about equity and justice. Equity connotes equality in the distribution of resources while fair deal is when the majority doesn’t dwarf the minority in the scheme of things.
That equity is done is justice itself to the man who seeks equity. Which is why the Isoko people have been clamouring for equity and justice in the distribution of ministerial positions from Delta State. The unjust situation is the reason agitations by various groups, social-cultural and political, have become inevitable in the last couple of months.
That in a heterogeneous state like Delta, one ethnic group continually enjoys the privilege of having a ministerial slot for good four consecutive times, other three and another two and still angling for more whilst one gets none is democratically uneven, unjust, and worst still unacceptable for an ethnic nationality that contributes an average of 100,000bpd from oil fields that dots nooks and crannies of Isoko land.
For an ethnic nation known in history books as being the second place where oil was struck and produced in commercial quantity in 1958, some 61 years ago and till date remain the largest onshore producer of oil in the country with uninterrupted flow of oil resources to be so marginalized is worrisome, to say the least.
One therefore only wonders why despite the huge contributions in oil production, successive governments have kept Isoko underdeveloped with no federal government presence throughout its length and breadth. One cannot fathom why it even took Isoko this long to wake up to this agitation. Isoko nation, with her peaceful people who have supported and contributed immensely to the nation’s buoyant oil wealth should get a ministerial slot this time around without much ado.
Isoko nation on its part must not also relent in the agitation to have their own appointed to serve as Managing Director and Chairman of the soon-to-be reconstituted board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). An Isoko man or woman is ripe for an exalted position of the MD or chairman of the interventionist agency.
The Isoko ethnic nation, which parades the likes of General Alexandra Ogomudia, a retired Chief of Army Staff with capacity to muzzle the ‘democratic and military will’ to prevail on Mr President to do the needful, as well as respected Gen. Paul Omu (retd), among a host of other high profile personalities should have its fair share of ministerial position and other juicy federal appointments.
Statistics have shown like ones brandished by Isoko Equity Group, IEG, a group of APC stalwarts championing the agitation for an Isoko minister and have sent several passionate appeal letters and recent reminder to Mr President, that Isoko is the only ethnic nationality in Delta State that was yet to be considered for a ministerial appointment. This in spite of the fact that Isoko fortunately has a glut of men and women – chartered accountants, lawyers, seasoned journalists, doctors, engineers, university dons, architects, seasoned public servants etc who are eminently qualified to be appointed as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
IEG, in recent open letters to Mr President published in the Vanguard Newspaper of Friday 12, 2019, at page 30 and in The Nation of Tuesday April 16, 2019, page 32, had aligned with the apex social cultural organisation, Isoko Development Union (IDU) to passionately appeal to Your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari with cogent and incontrovertible reasons why Isoko should be considered for appointment as Minister from Delta State.
“For reasons vide supra, Your Excellency, Isoko Equity Group, made up of mainly top APC leaders in Isoko nation, are persuaded, with all humility, that for the sake of equity, fairness and inclusiveness, which you have always preached, plead with you that the next Minister from Delta State should appointed from amongst Isoko people”, the letter read.
It is the Isoko people’s hope that Mr President can can do justice and end the 45 years drought of Ministers from the Isoko nation the way he courageously put right the injustice of June 12, 1993.
Isoko parades high towering technocrats, scholars, and professional administrators amongst who are men of intellectual powers, fine bred and apostles of good governance and the ‘next level’ mantra of the Buhari’s administration that are eminently qualified to bring their wealth of experience to the next level APC-led cabinet.
Ogbodu, a media consultant and co-publisher of BIGPEN NIGERIA, writes from Asaba, Delta State.