Delta 2023; Between Calculated Risks and Political Suicide


Delta 2023; Between Calculated Risks and Political Suicide

By Jerome-Mario Chijioke Utomi                         

Spaced out from prevailing indices/situations in Nigeria which reflects the fact that things are not as good as we might wish them to be, let me underline that this piece was inspired by two separate but related occurrences. The first was a recently held focused group discussion in Asaba by some concerned deltans to among other critical issues shop as Okowa’s successor a development-minded deltan who understands that when ‘public sector achievements pick up speed, the increased pace extends to the activities in other sectors’.


The second has to do with a proposition by a well informed deltan, who while reacting to one of my recent interventions titled; ‘Delta 2023; why Justice and Equity Must Prevail Over Sentiment’, noted thus; it may pay more if the position of the governor is placed on merit than unnecessary sentiment in Delta state’.


For clarity sake, the referenced piece above was inspired by, and dwelt primarily on the agitation by Ijaw leaders of Delta State, that their ethnic nationality must produce the next governor of the state in 2023, as they have made huge sacrifices, contributing to the socio-economic sustenance of state and supported other ethnic nationalities over the years emerge governors in the state. Heightening the imperatives of the piece as it were, was that the declaration came at a time when another ethnic nationality in the state, the Urhobos of Delta Central Senatorial zone is also of the views that the year 2023 is their turn to produce the governor. Their position was predicated on the ‘alleged political power rotation arrangement in the state between the three senatorial zones’.

However, despite the validity of this claims/counter claims, mountains of superior evidence presently abound, if only sought for, that argument constructed around natural resources ownership/contribution or zoning arrangement as a justification for demanding leadership positions can only translate to political suicide and a move devoid of calculated risks. In fact, it can no longer hold water when faced with embarrassing facts.

Certainly, if we are to survive as a state, deltans must depart mundane and parochial senatorial/tribal considerations and seek as a governor some that can serve and save the people as well as engineer economic prosperity of the state via effective management of these much-admired resources.

More particularly, in order to throw up a creative governor to sustain Governor Okowa’s developmental tempo in the state, the state needs a more liberal and sophisticated leadership recruitment approach anchored on merit and international best practice, that will not only but place the state in the hands of a vibrant technocrat.

Going by the above and looking at the caliber of Deltans angling to succeed Okowa, their credentials and achievements, this piece proposes that deltans look at the direction of Afiesere, Ughelli North local government area of Delta state born David Edevbie.

The choice of Edevbie by this piece is anchored on two broad critical reasons. The first has to do with public leadership experience that is delta state-specific. The second focuses on education and professional expertise.

Being with delta state public leadership, the state in material terms, qualifies as a location that has left behind third world challenges of illiteracy and poverty, to become a successful centre for the dissemination and distribution of best human capital resources across the nation. And blessed with people that have through hard work, planning, established themselves in all sectors-finance, science/technology, sports and education among others. In view of this fact, governing the state will call for personalities capped with global mindset and exposure. This claim is evident in its profile that will be made available in subsequent paragraphs

Secondly, the state, to use the words of Governor Okowa, is a microcosm of Nigeria because she is populated by different ethnic nationalities. She has had inter-ethnic conflicts/clashes, fatal boundary disputes, especially over oil-bearing land, and political tensions’. It will therefore, in my view be highly rewarding to bring in as a governor, a personality that have been with the government of the state since 1999. He not only understands the story, rather he is conversant with such challenges and has been part of the solution in the past two decades. We must not fail to remember that leadership is but nature and nurture.

Concerning his work credentials, it presents something alluring.

Edevbie going by information at the public domain joined Barclays Bank Plc, UK as a trainee and 1988 and 1992, rose to the position of Manager’s Assistant, Corporate Lending while in late 1992, joined Hill Samuel, a U.K. Merchant Bank, as an Investment Banking Executive. In 1995, David, joined the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), UK (CDC Group) as an Investment Officer responsible for Asia & Pacific Regions. And was in 1996, promoted to Deputy Country Head, and was responsible for establishing the CDC Philippines Office. Again, in March 1998, the Edevbie returned to the London Office and was promoted to Investment Manager. This time around capped with significant project finance expertise having participated in several high profile project-financing transactions.

In June 1999, he was appointed Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Delta State. Where he transformed work attitudes and computerized the operations of the Ministry. And at the end of Chief James Ibori’s first tenure in office in 2003, took a break to attend the prestigious Harvard Business School Advanced Management Programme to prepare himself for higher responsibilities.

He was invited in late 2006, by one of the PDP Presidential Aspirants, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to join his small campaign team as Director of Finance and Strategy and Yar’Adua was elected President in April 2007. In recognition of the significant role played in the Presidential Campaign Organization, President Yar’Adua, in 2008, appointed him as Principal Secretary to the President (PSP) to take over the responsibilities of the out-going Chief of Staff. And performed prominently well in the Presidency until shortly after President Yar’Adua’s death in April 2010.

Finally,, this piece will again underline without fail that if accelerated economy is our goal, if social and cultural development is our dreams, if promoting peace, support our industries and improve our energy sector forms our objectives, then, we must look beyond ill-will, socioeconomic contribution and ethnic specificity, and go for a vibrant technocrat like Edevbie with a capacious mind to build on Governor Okowa’s achievements. If elected, he will likely preach and practice development principles.

But for us to offer merit on the altar of ethnic consideration could only but amounts to a political suicide.

Utomi Jerome-Mario is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via; 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *