By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste and no city or house divided against itself will stand. Mark 3:24 and Matthew 12:25.
If there is any factor/actor that has kept the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the dominant party in Delta State in the well over two decades of the democratic experiment in the country, it is the existence of one robust, indivisible and united political family.
Again, if there is any reason that presently works in favour of the party in the state as the nation braces up for the 2023 general elections, it is the superlative performance of the incumbent Governor of the state, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Many believe that the administration’s performance, particularly in the areas of infrastructural development and promotion of technical education in the state, dwarfed that of his predecessors. These efforts on the part of the Governor contributed appreciably to why Delta State was ranked the Best State in Human Capital Development in the 2017 States Peer Review by the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, and also in 2020.
It is also responsible for why Delta as a state was adjudged to be the Second Least Poor State, coming only after Lagos, Nigeria’s business hub, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Despite the validity of the above claim, there are troubling developments within the party and painful signs that currently, there exist visible cracks, a gully of division and deep-seated animosity among members now to different actions. All are visibly not well with the party in the present circumstance.
Aside from the recently held mega rally in Ozoro, Isoko North local government area of the state to receive decampees from the opposition political parties, which was boycotted by prominent party leaders such as former Governors James Ibori, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator James Manager, representing Delta South, Barr Kingsley Otuaro, Deputy Governor, Chief David Edevbie, governorship aspirant and others, coupled with the fact that there was no official unveiling of the Delta PDP governorship candidate as was the tradition, so many other events in recent past supports this assertion. A random sampling of events in recent months shows that all may not be well for the party in the present circumstance.
Without going into specifics, some believe that the whole gamut of ‘restiveness’ within the party stems from the PDP governorship primary held on May 25 which the current Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, had won but his closest rival and former Commissioner for Finance in the state, David Edevbie asked an Abuja High Court for Oborevwori’s disqualification on grounds of discrepancies in the certificates he presented and the same prayer answered, others are of the view that current waves of division within the party stemmed from mindless exclusion, injustice political deprivation that recently characterized the party in the state.
While those of us who believe in the unity of a party may not agree with campaign or campaign of any group or ethnic nationality to dismember the party in the state, a random sampling of the opinion of these groups and their supporters indicates that they have a template to, and rock-solid belief in their cause and are even prepared to give their lives to actualize it. They believe that in no distant future, it will be realized.
The current administration, in my opinion, will continue to find itself faced with difficulty accelerating the economic and political fortunes of the party in the state until they contemplate uniting all warring factions within the party in the state.
Notably, not doing any of this or continuing on this order will amplify the painful consequence of strategic mistakes made by the PDP-led federal government in the 2015 general elections, a mistake which led to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan losing to President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In fact, there are so many documented accounts as to why the current fears expressed by the author cannot be described as unfounded.
First, a few months ago, Delta State-based GbaramatuVoice, an important and well-respected media platform that connects Niger Delta communities and the world in communication, and has to its credit tens of thousands of followership, conducted an opinion poll about the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state. The outcome of that process should be a reality for all lovers of the party in the state to worry about as it gave victory to the major opposition party in the state, APC.
Indeed, one may conveniently argue that such an outcome should not be trusted as public opinion does not always provide clear-cut policy guidance, and even when it is clearly in favour of a certain course, may be decided otherwise, particularly when they realize how uninformed, superficial, and changeable most opinions really are.
Yet, looking at the calibre of people that voted in that process, their comments, and the recent endorsement of the gubernatorial candidate of the major opposition party in the state, the outcome of that exercise should not be allowed to go with political winds. The Governor’s handlers should monitor, analyse and predict the consequences of the present situation if allowed to thrive.
Yes, I join my faith with Governor Okowa, who at the Ozoro mega rally among other things, declared that ‘the people will come out to vote for PDP in all the local government areas in the state, that whatever is going on is a normal democratic process, that we should be Atikulated, that Atiku chose one of our own as a running mate, he has done well for the South, particularly South-South.’
That faith or comment notwithstanding, I am equally of the view that as a general rule, the first step to solving a problem is to recognize that one exists.
Like every other fair-minded individual in the state, I will continue to characterise Okowa’s performance in the state as historic, but there is an urgent imperative also to feel concerned about the recent declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the PDP in Delta State was yet to have a candidate for next year’s governorship election.
INEC, according to news reports, released the names of candidates and running mates of various participating political parties to state offices with that of the Delta PDP candidates missing. Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Delta State, Monday Udoh-Tom, told newsmen in Asaba that there were presently no particulars of any candidate for PDP.
“We have no particulars of any candidate for PDP as far as the governorship is concerned because they are in court. It is when the matter is determined that we will now have the particulars of one of them.
“You will recall that there was a court judgement that disqualified one of them, and he filed for a stay of execution and also appealed the judgement. “As a result, we cannot act on the case of the PDP for now until the Appeal Court delivers judgement,” Udoh-Tom said.
Looking at these endless negative occurrences in the state that daily depletes the party politically and in numerical strength, this piece draws the attention of the Governor to a research result carried out to unravel why leaders make bad decisions.
In that report, Sydney Finkelstein, a Steven Roth Professor of management at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, United States of America, underlined; the presence of inappropriate self-interest, distorting attachments and the presence of misleading memories as factors/red flags that fuel deformed decisions. Flawed decisions start with errors of judgment from individuals.
In line with the above facts coming from these great scholars, I hold the opinion that the hour has come for the Governor to seek real victory via dialogue and not through conquest, a victory that will render further rift and aggression unnecessary. He should work out ways to help the party enjoy durable peace anchored on justice, fairness and equity!
To the warring/aggrieved members, it is time also to understand that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at the time of challenge and controversy. It is my humble submission that this time is auspicious for all in the interest of the party to allow sanity to prevail over emotion and personal interests.
To avoid a fall, the party must not go to that electoral contest as a divided house!!!
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via email@example.com/08032725374
Itsekiri And Ijaws’ Creation of Hyper-Modern Path to Peace Via Football Tournament
By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi
Benikrukru Community field, Gbaramtu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, the kickoff venue of the Ijaw/Itsekiri peace and unity football competition initiated by Chief Sheriff Mulade, Ibe-sorimawei of Gbaramatu kingdom and National Coordinator/CEO, Centre for Peace & Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), was on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, filled to capacity and moderately dotted with imposing banner conspicuously positioned with screaming but familiar inscriptions that emphasise on the importance of peace and unity to humanity.
The ambience at the venue was refreshing as merrily dressed guests strolled in. Community members of Ijaw and Itsekiri origins were relaxed in their sitting positions. They were entertained to the rhythms from the stable of Ijaw and Itsekiri traditional dancing maestros.
Their humble and friendly dispositions complimented each other and made it very easy for non-indigenes to be at ease in their presence, even as that was the maiden visit to the community.
Aside from having in attendance former Super Eagles players, Christian Obodo and Sam Sodje, among others, the event was also graced by courageous Niger Deltans, who have met resistance from their own government in the past but refused to give up in their quest to build a better Niger Delta region and Nigeria by extension.
But of all that I observed, the gathering acknowledged what has been on the mind of Nigerians.
Fundamentally, it frontally demonstrated a strong conviction that non-discrimination, justice and fairness are the foundation for peace, unity, stability and economic prosperity of any nation. From the love that existed among the two ethnic groups on that day, at that time and in that place, it was obvious that building a nation where all citizens of the country shall not be discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, birth or other status is possible.
Essentially also, from the way the two teams entered the field with a stride of confidence and fair play, the competition provided Ijaw/Itsekiri with an opportunity for introspection by the two ethnic groups on the journey so far. Some gave the ‘union’ kudos for the tremendous progress it has made in forging unity and peace and riding the area of hatred and hostility, while others felt that the new challenge before the two ethnic nationalities is to transform into a strong economic bloc in order to position for the challenges of the 21st century as it patterns Niger Delta region.
To assist readers in appreciating this current journey to sustainable peace by the two ethnic groups via football tournament, it is important to underline that the district of Warri in Delta State, going by reports, has been the scene of ethnic and territorial conflicts between the Itsekeri and the Ijaws since March 1997, when ethnic violence broke out between the Ijaws and the Itsekeris following a government decision to relocate the headquarters of the Warri south local government council from an Ijaw community to a community belonging to the Itsekeris.
Though the hostility was overtly arrested and brought under control, covertly, it has remained a zone where fierce war has been raging between ethnic and social forces in Nigeria over the ownership and control of oil resources. And as a direct result, a long dark shadow has been cast on efforts to improve the well-being and economic development of the region’s individuals, peoples, and communities.
Without a doubt, the Ijaw/Itsekiri hostility is not only telling evidence of the numerous problems facing the people of the Niger Delta region, but largely an expose of unwillingness by the government over the years to address problems which possess the potent capability to affect the stability of Niger Delta as a region.
The above claim, in my view, becomes more telling after listening to Mulade, who spoke on the sidelines in the kick-off match, where he stated that ‘’The essence of this tournament is to try and reduce the hostility among us. Some years ago, we had some misunderstandings. That led to what is known as the Warri crisis. So, what we are doing is building the relationship. So, for you to join us is to support this celebration of peaceful co-existence.”
Certainly, there are grains of truth in the above position. The tournament has not only brought out something different and fundamentally new that will help shape the relationship between the two ethnic groups. Rather, it has assisted in providing health and vitality of peaceful co-existence, rededicating commitment to peace, promoting unity and intensifying harmonious development of the Niger Delta region.
The facts are there and speak for it.
On Monday, November 7, 2022, it was reported that the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III, while playing host to Chief Mulade Sheriff and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) who paid him a courtesy visit in his palace, gave his endorsement and royal blessings to the peace and unity football event. The Olu applauded Chief Comrade Sheriff Mulade for initiating such a laudable programme and promised to liaise with Mr Amaju Pinnick to bring his wealth of experience in football management to support the process.
In a similar style, members of the LOC, on November 11, 2022, were received by Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba of Gbaramatu Kingdom in his palace at Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of the kingdom.
In his response, the monarch appreciated the organizer’s initiative and implored him to continue preaching and spreading the need for peaceful coexistence because peace is not negotiable. He also enlightened the LOC team on the importance of peace to attract development to Delta, particularly Warri and its environs. He encouraged the untiring contribution of the LOC towards uniting Ijaw/Itsekiri, the importance of which is crucial to harnessing the dividend of development and opportunities to our people.
While this piece celebrates the feat, there are, however, accompanying beliefs in my views that the Ijaws are a truly peaceful set of people.
The first such example is a recent statement by an Ogbe Ijoh-based political pressure group, the Independent GrassRoots Liberators (IGL), where the group, among other comments, pleaded with the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s led Delta State Government to immediately settle the communal disputes between Ogbe-Ijoh, Ijaw ethnic nationality of Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta state and Aladja, an Urhobo community in Udu Local Government Area of the state, adding that they want to live in unity as they have been living before. “We don’t want to be killing ourselves anymore,” they said.
The second has to do with the recent comment credited to Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, at his palace in Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom while he played host to Mr Ali Muhammad Zarah, Managing Director, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
The first-class monarch, according to media reports, said; “This is Gbaramatu Kingdom, and we are very peaceful people. If you come closer to the people, you will know the kind of people we have here. Some people can castigate our names or tarnish our image, but we are not like that. We know who we are.”
Waxing philosophically, the Monarch said, “We want to say, if the children are happy, definitely the father is happy too. Recently, I told some senators that instead of staying in Abuja and speculating about what is happening in the Niger Delta region, they should take a trip to the region for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. If they come, they will know how the people are, but staying far from them, you cannot know how they really are. So I am very happy for people like you visiting our Kingdom.”
As the author of this piece, while I commend the efforts of the tournament organisers, the piece, on its part, thinks that there is a lesson government must draw from the above words of the revered traditional monarch.
Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy) at Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374
Makeup Through the Years
From a very young age, girls are taught that makeup is a way to enhance their natural beauty. There are endless tutorials and tips on how to apply makeup. The reality is that most women don’t wear makeup for the sake of looking good. In fact, many women wear makeup as a form of self-expression or as a way to boost their confidence. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there are certain makeup essentials that every woman should have in her beauty arsenal. These include a good foundation, concealer, powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick.
With these products, you can create various looks, from a natural daytime look to a glamorous evening look. While some women are content with a minimal makeup routine, others enjoy experimenting with different products and looks. If you’re someone who loves experimenting with makeup, then you’ll need a wider range of products, including eyeshadow, eyeliner, and bronzer. No matter what your reasons for wearing makeup are, there’s no denying that it can be a lot of fun. So go ahead and experiment with different products and looks to find what makes you feel your best. When you figure it out, it’s a 22Bet bonus!
As the years go by, makeup changes with the trends. In the early 1900s, makeup was used to accentuate the features of the face and was seen as a way to enhance beauty. Women would use rouge on their cheeks, kohl around their eyes, and lipstick to accentuate their lips. This was seen as a way to attract a husband and was seen as being very important for a woman’s social status.
However, in the 1920s, makeup became more about individuality and self-expression. Women would experiment with different colors and looks, and it was seen as a way to be creative. Women were also starting to wear more makeup in public, and it was seen as a way of empowering women.
The start of the “glamorous” look that was popular in Hollywood was in the 1930s. In the 1940s, makeup was used to create a more natural look. Women would use foundation to even out their skin tone, and they would use powder to set their makeup. They would also use rouge on their cheeks and lipstick to accentuate their lips. This was seen as a more sophisticated look, and it was also seen as being more appropriate for work and other public places.
In the 1980s, makeup was used to create a more polished look. Women would use foundation to even out their skin tone, and they would use powder to set their makeup. They would also use eyeliner and mascara to define their eyes. Today, makeup is used to create a variety of different looks. It is up to the individual to decide how they want to use makeup to express themselves.
Does Nigeria Have a Problem or a Situation?
By Prince Charles Dickson PhD
In 1845, Karl Marx jotted down some notes for The German Ideology, a book that he wrote with his close friend Friedrich Engels. Engels found these notes in 1888, five years after Marx’s death, and published them under the title Theses on Feuerbach. The eleventh thesis is the most famous: ‘philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it’.
The most widely accepted interpretation of this thesis is that, in it, Marx urges people not only to interpret the world but also to try and change it. However, we do not believe that this captures the meaning of the sentence. What we believe that Marx is saying is that it is those who try to change the world that has a better sense of its constraints and possibilities, for they come upon what Frantz Fanon calls the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice.
Nigeria is a very strange place. In Nigeria, we debate what is real, and imagined, what is fantasy and what is reality.
In Nigeria, we are problem-focused. We always have problems, our politicians, our leaders, the systems, our structure, our past, our present and future, our people, our democracy, and our elections. Everything has a problem. Everything and everyone is a problem.
You leave Plateau state to Bauchi to do an MRI scan because there is a problem with the problem. The prestigious and renowned University College Hospital Ibadan where it was said the Saudi royalty once upon a time came for their healthcare, currently has barely a twenty-bed ICU. See problem!
The governor of Abia has done a lot, including getting an eatery to establish an outlet in the state, the same Abia boasts of Aba, considered one of the dirtiest cities around and also one of the most industrious and neglected by the government. Solution and problem joined together!
Tell me the state and I will show where the people are drinking multidimensional pove-tea from all strata of government. Daura in Katsina hasn’t produced an exceptional student in any exam, even as the president’s homestead and the state continue to be plagued by insecurity.
Fake teachers from Abeokuta, the cradle of knowledge, to Jos, the land of natives and non-natives.
What are we committed to, what are we sacrificing for and to, what does Nigeria mean to us? Let’s break it if that’s a solution, so pedestrian and easy, I will remind us when the arm dealers are sealing and dealing with The Nupe Warlords, Anaguta freedom fighters, Fulani Miyetti and Hausa Aggrieved Warriors or Rare Igbo Union, it won’t be funny.
Welcome to Nigeria, in Nigeria, we don’t have problems because we are the problems, no. We don’t have problems; we have situations. If your wife catches you with a neighbour’s wife, you don’t have a problem, you have a situation. Problems are had to solve; situations can be solved. If your girlfriend is spending more time with another guy, if you don’t have money, all these are situations. Change your girlfriend or change your mindset, your work or something.
Nigeria as a whole, as a country, or nation, as a people have a situation we have gotten to that point on several occasions, we were there, and the civil war broke out, our several ethnographic-ethno religious conflicts have taken us there, the menace of herdsmen and farmers, bandits and politicians keep taking us closer to the precipice.
The powerful not only control social wealth; they also control the public policy discussion — and what counts as intellectually correct. Good ideas are never sufficient. They are not believed or enacted simply because they are right. They become the ideas of our time only when those who come to believe in their own power, which use this power to struggle through institutions and advance their ideas, wield them.
Nigeria is in a situation, will men of a good conscience and patriots stand up to be counted? There’s no structure or system to build upon. Yet we must sit and talk about who we are and how we want to live, our current situation provides yet another opportunity for us to look forward, and understand where we are coming from, and take a leap with understanding what needs to be done according to each peculiarity.
I end with this story.
So, I went to a mental institution and wanted to send one person home. So I am going to ask a simple question. I asked the first person 3×3, and the fellow scratched his head, and he answered 164, I said to him, go back. Then I asked the second person the same question, and he smiled, looked up and then responded after a while Tuesday. Sorry. Wrong answer. Go back to your room
I almost gave up, until I went to the last person and asked the same question, if you can answer this question, I will let you go. He looked back at the other two who had left and smiled and said doctor, it’s 9. Right, and I gave him the release papers, and he started running to the door. But before he ran away, I said I need you to tell me something; your two friends did not come up with the right answer. How did you manage it? He said it’s so simple. I multiplied 164 by Tuesday, and I got 9.
Nigeria may get the right answer, but is the thinking correct? Nigeria finds answers often at the last minute, but truth be told, ‘the country has been interpreted in various ways that only capture problems, without a change in thinking, we won’t solve it, we must see our present circumstances as situations that can change with a different interpretation, and better thinking.
We must, as a people, want to try and change our situation despite the sense of the constraints and possibilities of the ‘granite block’ of power, property, and privilege that prevents an easy transition from injustice to justice. We must want to try, we must want to change, we must want to solve, and must want a new narrative. Are we in trouble or in a situation where there are solutions? Only time will tell.
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