TALES OF MARGINALIZATION FROM WARRI NORTH LG
His name may not ring the proverbial bell, but he is not altogether green in politics and he is passionate about developments from his native Koko, the famous port town. And when the talk is about this particular town, Ayowe gets passionate, brimming with enthusiasm for the land of his birth. Hear him…….
Can I meet you?
My name is Honourable Desmond Tosan Oyowe.
You are an Itshekiri and from Koko in Warri, North LG.
Can you please tell us little about the tradition and politics of the place?
Yes, I am from Koko in Warri North L.G. This local government comprises both Itsekiris and Ijaws, its natural inhabitants. Itshekiris constitute about 70% of the population while the Ijaws constitute only 30%. And the local government has been on since 1991 and between that time and 1992 I was fortunate to be a councillor representating Koko Ward which happened to be the headquarters, and during that period I was the majority leader of the house.
Ever since that time have you vied for any other position to represent your people?
Anyway in the last dispensation I contested for the chairmanship of the LG under the platform of PDP but somehow whether it was done well or not, I didn't get the ticket of the party. As a loyal party man I didn't contest the result neither did I deflect to another party. But today we thank God. PDP is still the party to beat in this LG.
Do you observe any kind of zoning as regards the various elective posts, since there are Itshekiris as well as Ijaws?
Yes, I will not say that there have not been such things in the LG, but I will tell you that chance is something that come. Since the existence of this LG, actually not one Koko indigene has aspired and got the nod to be chairman of the council. The council has always been ruled by one set of people which are from Ogheye Ward 1.
Only people from Ogheye Ward have had the privilege of becoming the LG Chairman of Warri North LG since the creation of the LG in 1991, apart from civil servants, administrators and political appointees. Elected appointees have always been coming from Ogheye Ward 1. But for change as a natural thing that must come that is one of the things people are praying and fighting for that the Koko people should have the privilege of knowing what goes on in the council. I think that is what the Government should help, us look into because those places in the riverine areas and the Egbema axis and the Koko axis are all part and parcel of the LG. And we equally own the LG together.
When we put our ideas together that is when the LG will do better. So we really want those that are above us at both state and national level to this direction, to come together and decide how elective positions should go round. It should not be the prerogative of one side. Not only people from Ogheye ward. I think that one will do us better.
Why is it that only people from Ogheye ward that monopolised the elective posts?
Does that mean that the others are not interested?
It's not true that the others are not aspiring. I just told you that in the last LG election I contested on the platform of PDP . There were other contestants from Koko, the headquarters of the LG. Apart from Koko persons we have some other axis in this LG. The Ijaw axis. We have three axis from Warri North. Benin, River axis, Koko axis, and the Egbema axis.
The Egbema axis is inhabited by the Egbema Ijaws. The Koko axis is inhabited by Koko, Abigborodo and Oreju people.' That is Itshekiri the Benin River axis is inhabited by Itsekiri of Oghoye, Jakpa, Kolokolo, Gbokodo, Abigborodo, Oreju Ebroyomi. it is surprising that not the entire people from Benin River are ruling but particularly people from Ogheye Ward 1. And it has become a thing of succession: from father to son, cousin to cousin, brother to brother, etc. And it is not faring well for the LG; maybe that's why the LG is not doing well enough, the LG will do better if all hands are on deck.