By Simon Mozea
Politics, especially its democratic variant that is anchored on a multi-party system, is essentially about choices among competing forces. The electorates who constitute the voters are expected to evaluate the choices available and make sound judgment in voting or electing the party or candidate that best serves their collective interest or approximates the ideal they feel can propel their societies or states in the right direction which is development or progress or good life for all. In Africa, as a result of prolonged military rule, this ideal which rests on choices or alternatives was denied the citizenry as a result of decades of military rule after independence in the 1960s. It was only in the last two decades with the dawn of the magical year 2000 that Africa began to embrace the democratic ideal. In spite of this, there have been recent ruptures manifesting in military coups in about three or so countries on the continent. Nevertheless, it is taken that democracy has come to stay in Africa and that the trend will evolve to become a culture where representative government will be the order of the day on the continent. It must be admitted that Nigeria, despite the many hiccups confronting her has in the last two decades demonstrated that the polity can be an example of an evolving if not sustainable democracy.
Nigerians are going to the polls again next year to elect leaders at various tiers of government. The nation is gripped by fever-pitch anxiety and the political gladiators are out there canvassing for supports, endorsements and votes.
Before the month of May runs out, the committed political parties would be conducting their primaries to determine who and who will fly their flags in next year’s general elections. Many political commentators see the primaries as the election before the real election. The delegates who are the key stakeholders will determine who wins the ticket of their respective parties. Right now, the delegates are viewed as the umpires or judges who must evaluate the aspirants and make informed choices from the horde scheming to be president, governors, senators and more. The delegates also know their place as the determiners of who gets the ticket to run as party candidates in the next few days.
Delegates must realize their delicate roles as that which can make or mar the system in this case the state or country depending on the choice they make. The case of our dear Delta State remains tenuous as governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling party in the State, have dug in to slug it out at the primaries in a few days from now. The delegates must think hard and clearly and make an informed choice.
In doing this, they must be guided by antecedents and the prospects of a greater and prosperous Delta State and vote for the aspirant who can take Delta to newer and greater heights in development terms. The delegates should do well to cast their votes for an aspirant that can harness the State’s vast economic potentials and turn it into an oasis of abundance comparable to the narratives of Singapore, Taiwan, Dubai and other such development havens of the world.
The delegates must look back and rethink the fortunes of the State from when it was part of the old Midwest Region, later Midwest State and then Bendel State. The region and later state(s) became Nigeria’s most advanced in every development yardstick and thus earned the sobriquet Bendel Number One! The Region/State called Midwest or Bendel excelled in every sphere and became a reference point. Good, focused, deliberate and enlightened leadership was responsible for that feat. All of that came to naught as a result of many years of military rule. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, successive governments have tried to leverage on a number of factors to take Delta State to greater heights. The task has been daunting as a result of the hiatus created by military interregnum. All the same, the governments since 1999 deserve thumbs up.
Twenty years is a long time enough to experiment and consolidate. This is what the delegates should look out for among the candidates as they cast their votes. Who among them can deliver on the development ideals that will sustain and secure the future of Deltans for generations to come? One character, tested and trusted, Olorogun David Edevbie is just the man to lead the charge to the Delta State of our dreams. The delegates need look no further. Edevbie among all the aspirants alone did his homework on what Delta needs and the way the State should go. A technocrat turned politician, Edevbie is a development expert who superintended over development programmes in Asia and the Pacific region before answering the call to serve Delta State and later Nigeria. The present Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa gave an eloquent testimonial to Edevbie when he said, “Olorogun David Edevbie has continued to blaze the trail by providing and offering leadership at various levels of governance. You have provided sound and relevant professional advice for the government at different times and we thank you for always being there for us. Over the years, you have carved a niche for yourself, maintaining a charismatic and unblemished leadership style that has endeared you to many Deltas and Nigerians. You have exhibited absolute leadership traits of a man committed to doing things differently as it is in developed and organized climes”.
True to Governor Okowa’s testimonial, Edevbie has crafted a development agenda for Delta State which he codenamed MODERNIZE DELTA. Those who have read the document and listened to him talk about it usually rise in applause to say “here is the next Governor of Delta State”. The choice before the PDP delegates should be to affirm that David Edevbie is the next Governor of Delta State. They should vote wisely and vote David Edevbie who in turn would pilot the State to greater heights.
Simon Mozea wrote from Asaba, Delta State