Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a. Akpodoro, an ex-militant leader and the national coordinator of the National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, NCNDE-A, has urged Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to emulate the leadership style of former governor of the oil-rich state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who is regarded as his political godfather.
This was revealed in a statement released by the former warlord in Abuja on Tuesday, in which he emphasized the need for Governor Okowa to distribute development fairly across the state.
Akpodoro, who bemoaned Governor Okowa’s treatment of people who helped him win a second term, including members of his coalition, remarked that ‘Okowa’s godfather’ did not rule the state in the manner in which the Ika-born medical doctor-turned politician is doing so.
According to Akpodoro, who is also the Coordinator of the Urhobo Youth Forum for Change, UYFC, the governor only sees his Ika relatives in the state.
The former agitator, who was born in Urhobo, said that his Coalition worked hard to achieve Okowa’s election win in 2019, only for the governor to ignore him and other members of his organization.
Notably, Akpodoro said that the governor is allegedly encouraging the gubernatorial ambitions of a certain ethnic nationality against the Urhobo, who overwhelmingly supported him during and after the 2015 elections.
“It is on record,” according to Akpodoro, “that Chief Ibori led a perfectly united state, never discriminating against any group.”
Ibori was generous, according to Akpodoro, since he distributed positions equitably among all groups in the state and provided a superior incentive structure for his supporters.
“The time has come for the people of the oil-rich state to show the current administration that Deltans and by extension, the Urhobos are not fools. We have the numerical strength in Urhobo land to decide who rules the state. In as much as we need other ethnic groups to succeed in our political drive, the Urhobos has the capacity to make bold system and shame our transducers. Nobody knows it all like the governor erroneously thinks, we shall work with other ethnic nations in the state to achieve our aim of capturing power in 2023.”
He noticed that it was past time for the Urhobos to get to know their companions. He urged Delta State residents to rally behind an Urhobo gubernatorial candidate in 2023 to wrest power from the ‘cabal,’ whom he accused of emasculating other ethnic groups, especially the Urhobo nation, and to “resist any attempt to betray the existing rotational agreement that has brought peace and harmony to the state.