Itsekiri leaders and the umbrella body of the Isoko nation, Isoko Development Union (IDU), Delta State, on Wednesday met in Oleh, headquarters of the Isoko South Local Government Area, to deliberate on the Delta South Senatorial district seat.
The meeting was to urge the Isoko and the Ijaw to support the Itsekiri, in their bid to produce the next Senator to represent the people.
The call was part of the resolutions reached at the end of a visit of a delegation from the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, led by the Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom, Ayirimi Emami, to the leadership of Isoko ethnic nationality, at the Isoko Unity House, Oleh.
The meeting focused on the need to strengthen the bond between the two ethnic nationalities, just as the leaders stressed that the age-long rotational power agreement between the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri for the Delta South Senatorial seat was not based on political party consideration, but on the principles of fairness, justice and equity.
Brown Mene, spokesman for the Itsekiri delegation, while enumerating the zoning formula for the senatorial district seat, noted that "since the inception of the Second Republic, the Delta South Senatorial district seat was zoned into the three ethnic nationalities (Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko) that made up the seat.
"The rotational agreement for the Delta South Senatorial Seat between the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri dated back to the Second Republic, to avoid a situation where the three tribes will fight themselves. From records, the Ijaw and Isoko have gone there twice, while the Itsekiri have only gone there once. Now, it is the turn of the Itsekiri to go and represent us and we are appealing to our brothers from Ijaw and Isoko to support us on this course for equity."
While stressing that the agreement “was not based on political party”, Mene went down memory lane to mention occupants of the position such as late Justice Atake; Ijaw National Leader, Edwin Clark, and late Francis Okpozo, before Stella Omu represented the district in the current Republic between 1999 and 2003.”
He also said James Manager took over and remained in the position till date “like a broken record”.
Mene asserted that it was the turn of the Itsekiri to produce the next Delta South Senator in 2019, assuring that the Itsekiri nation is committed to ensuring that the person that will emerge will represent the interests of the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri, just as he noted that the “brotherly” engagement with Isoko leaders would be extended to their Ijaw counterparts.
In his response, Iduh Amadhe, President General of IDU, attributed the non rotation of the Senatorial seat to persons “practising political brigandage”.
“To correct this abnormality, the Olu of Warri, key traditional rulers from Isoko and Ijaw and the political elite from Delta South Senatorial district, should meet and sign a memorandum of understanding for each ethnic nationality occupying the seat to serve at least a two-term tenure in the maximum. We, Isoko, Ijaw, and Itsekiri must come together and sign agreement of maximum of two terms for each ethnic nationality as it affects Delta South,” he said.
Other Isoko leaders, Idodo Umeh, Dennis Etaluku, and Mike Osige, who corroborated the IDU President General's statement, however, urged the Itsekiri to call for a meeting between the three ethnic nationalities.
They assured the Itsekiri of the full support of Isoko people in the forthcoming elections.
In an interview with journalists shortly after the meeting, Ayiri Emami, the Prime Minister of the Warri Kingdom, who led the Itsekiri delegation, expressed satisfaction with the disposition of the Isoko leaders and assured them of engaging their Ijaw counterparts to key into renewing the rotation agreement.