Women of Isoko extraction have vowed not to give their votes to James Manager, the incumbent Senator representing Delta South senatorial district of Delta State, following the relocation of 100 level students of Faculty of Engineering from Oleh Campus, headquarters of Isoko South local government area to the main campus of the Delta State University (DELSU), by Manager's kinsman and Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Victor Peretomode.
The pronouncement was made on Tuesday when women in their hundreds marched against the relocation of the students, alleging that the "dubious plot by the VC is to deny the Oleh Campus the needed revenue from the Engineering students, according to the tripartite system of funding the institution, which will hamper the development and sustainability of Oleh Campus".
The women carried placards with various inscriptions such as 'Prof. Peretomode, Send Back the 100 Level Engineering Students to Oleh Campus'; 'Prof. Peretomode Stop Killing Oleh Campus'; 'Prof. Peretomode Extend Development to Oleh Campus'; 'Gov. Okowa Call Prof. Peretomode to Order,' 'Other University Campuses in Nigeria are not Run Like This', among others, and issued a three-day ultimatum to the VC and the state government to revert the decision or face "the wrath of the Isoko people".
The women marched to Oleh Campus, Odio-Ologbo of Oleh Palace, the Isoko South local government secretariat and the national secretariat of the Isoko Development Union (IDU) in Oleh and rained curses on the VC and his accomplices, just as they called on the state government and Senator James Manager to call the VC to order immediately.
Addressing the women, President General of the umbrella body of IDU, Iduh Amadhe, supported the stance of the women, insisting that no Isoko indigene would vote for Manager unless Peretomode reverts the decision to relocate the students.
According to Amadhe, relocation of the students would amount to disservice to the Isoko people.
His words: "The Isoko people shall withdraw their support from whatever concerns the Ijaws in Delta South and we may start with Senator James Manager in the forthcoming 2019 general election.
"The protesting women are only contributing their quota and this is just a warning. The Isoko people will reject in its entirety this well-concocted plan by the VC of DELSU, Prof. Victor Peretomode to kill Oleh Campus after abandoning the campus for the Isoko people when it was having accreditation issues. How can he be so reckless to relocate the 100 level students of Engineering Faculty from Oleh campus to Abraka after our people fought tooth and nail for the successful accreditation of the Engineering programme?
"It shows that the man does not want Oleh Campus to survive. No wonder they have refused to maintain the campus. Can you imagine that both the Law and Engineering Faculties are so bushy like where snakes and other wild animals are being nurtured? I had to look for money to mobilise people to weed the Engineering Faculty and we have management in the campus under the worthless leadership of the VC.
"Now, he wants to make things worse by relocating the 100 level students of Engineering to Abraka and make Oleh Campus bereaved of funds. Is the man not devilish and wicked? Isoko, Ijaw and Itsekiri have always lived as brothers in Delta State senatorial district, but let it be known that the Ijaws are always trying to stand against the development of Oleh Campus, as one of their sons was caught sabotaging the growth of the campus before now."
Also addressing the protesting women who stormed his palace to register their protest, the Odiologbo of Oleh kingdom and chairman, Isoko Traditional Rulers' council, Anthony William Ovrawah, (Ovrawah Omogha 1), expressed dissatisfaction over the move by Peretomode.
He said: "I have been calling him based on this issue but as the son of the devil, he has refused to take my calls. His arrogance will soon metamorphose into sorrow unless he changes his ways. Let me also use this medium to tell the state government and especially Senator James Manager, to call the VC to order because if he fails, the Isoko people will also fail him in the nearest future.
"I don't see any reason why the 100 level students of Engineering Faculty, Oleh Campus will be relocated to Abraka. Prof. Peretomode is a very wicked, heartless and ungodly VC. He has undermined our peaceful nature for too long and it is time he starts reaping the evil he has been sowing against the Isoko people."
Meanwhile, in a strong worded petition addressed to the state governor by a Pan-Isoko group, under the auspices of Isoko Monitoring Group (IMG), signed by its President, Sebastine Agbefe, and obtained by SaharaReporters, the group described the VC's action as highly provocative, vowing that they shall resist the "daylight witchcraft" by their Ijaw brothers in every legal, social and political way available.
The petition read: "Your Excellency, we regret to state that despite the enormous contributions of Isoko to the treasury of Delta State, the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro and Delta State University, Oleh Campus are the only major state government presence in the entire Isoko nation. We are calling on you to use your good office to prevail on the VC and the Senate of DELSU to put a total stop to that wicked and evil plan and allow the 100 level students of Engineering faculty to learn in Oleh Campus.
"Your Excellency, it is on record that there is no Campus or Institution in Delta State that its host community or ethnic nationality is funding except those that are sited in Isokoland. Both the Law and Engineering Faculties in Oleh Campus have been suffering accreditation issues and the management of the university technically and craftily abandoned the campus until Isoko sons and daughters took it upon themselves to donate and contribute in whatever way they can to ensure the programmes in both faculties are accredited.
"Your Excellency, it is on record that Ijaws have been fighting dirty to kill Oleh Campus for whatever reasons best known to them. One of their sons have been caught earlier while stealing vital equipment from Oleh Campus and selling same to other institutions. Now, the VC, Prof. Peretomode who is also an Ijaw man has allegedly concluded plans to relocate 100 level students of Engineering Faculty from Oleh Campus to Abraka, after the Isoko people have successfully fought for the accreditation of the Engineering programmes and ensured that there are functional laboratories and studios for effective learning.
Our correspondent, however, learnt that a meeting has fixed for Thursday between the leadership of IDU, commissioner for higher education and the institution VC and management to address the issue.