AHEAD of the 2023 gubernatorial election, youth leaders from Urhobo and Itsekiri ethnic nationalities of Delta State, Monday, agreed on the push for a common front working with their counterparts from Ijaw, Isoko and Anioma ethnic nationalities towards deciding who becomes the next governor of the state.
At the meeting which was described as historic, the youths from both ethnic groups resolved to bury every form of bitterness.
The meeting, which was held when a coalition of Urhobo youth groups, United Urhobo Youths Association/Middle-aged Leaders, UUYA/ML, visited the leadership of Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC,
UUYA/ML said the solidarity visit was aimed at seeking the support of Itsekiri youths to join hands with Urhobo for Delta Central to produce the Governor come 2023.
The coalition of Urhobo youth groups comprised the Youth Wing of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, Urhobo Youth Council, UYC, Urhobo Youth Leaders Association, UYLA, Urhobo National Youth Movement, UNYM, Urhobo Host Communities and Urhobo Ex-agitators.
Taking turns to speak at the meeting, the chairman of United Urhobo Youths Association/Middle-aged Leaders (UUYA/ML), Comrade Isaac Omemedia, stressed the need for unity among youths in the State ahead of the election.
According to Omemedia, Delta youths must be involved in deciding and producing who becomes the next governor of the state. Coordinator of the Urhobo group, Chief Vincent Oyibode, who also spoke, said the visit was part of their drive to cement the aged-long relationship with their Itsekiri brothers and sisters and to seek their support ahead of the election.
Oyibode said the rotational formula introduced by former Governor James Ibori for the governorship seat to rotate among the three senatorial districts should be strictly maintained, saying it was now the turn of Delta Central.
Oyibode reminded their hosts that every senatorial district in the state had benefitted from the zoning arrangement and had contributed to the enduring peace currently being experienced in the state.
He said; “this is a dream of self-determination, self-actualization. And how do we go about the dream? We need unity. We are here for self-determination. Self-determination for me and you. As of 1997, during the SDP, NRC, GDN and now PDP, some of us were used as thugs or area boys. But today, we are now men.
“Many of us are already grandfathers, but we are still being used as youths. We are begging our fathers to go to Abuja. If the people we followed cannot give us a chance, our children will be the ones to drive us into retirement.
“Delta state has a model set up by Ibori. When he was leaving office in 2007, he set a pace that the governorship should rotate around the three senatorial districts. It rotated to Delta South and now Delta North.
“We are here, very humble, to appeal. The card has turned to Delta Central. We (youths) are the ones that do the election. But if we don’t grow from that stage for our children to take over, we would lose. We are begging that the Itsekiri nation support the Urhobo nation for the governorship.
“We want to use that model of no fighting or carrying of arms for the next governorship, come 2023. The person that will come in must be a youth or middle-aged. Anybody, more than 55 years should go to Abuja. It is going to be a solidarity movement”.
Responding on behalf of the Itsekiri youths, President of the INYC, Comrade Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, said; “Itsekiri youths are in strong support of agenda that will produce a youth as the next governor of the state.
“The visit is historic in the history of both tribes. It has served as a reminder that it is time for the youths to assume leadership positions in the state and nation at large.
This means a lot to me.
“We want to tell you our brothers, sisters, youths and middle-aged leaders from Urhobo ethnic nationality that your presence here today has reminded us that age is no longer on our side; that if the likes of late Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, Chief James Ibori, were in positions of leadership in this country at a very early age, then there is no reason they cannot support us”.
Meanwhile, the UUYA/ML has condoled with the Itsekiris on the loss of their monarch, HRM Ogiame Ikenwoli. They also congratulated them on the forthcoming installation of the Olu-designate, Omoba Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko as the 21st Olu.
Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria