By Lugard Izoukumor
Delta State is heading towards primaries at which every political party will select its presidential candidate (the Independent National Electoral Commission – INEC – has decreed that this selection process must be completed by early June).
However, permit me to briefly focus this piece with an American value: “E Pluribus Unum.” “E Pluribus Unum” is Latin, meaning, “Out of many, one.” It was adopted as an American motto shortly after America’s founding in 1776, referring to the thirteen American colonies becoming one nation. Over time, however, most Americans understood the motto to mean one people from many backgrounds.
Now, let’s contextualize “E Pluribus Unum” by talking politics for Delta’s ideal governor in 2023. To juxtapose this, or to drive my point, we can view two fundamental things that have become very prevalent in the gubernatorial contest of Delta State; race and ethnicity.
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Race and ethnicity have defined Delta’s contemporary political landscape. We see this in Deltans and even in some of the political actors in our multicultural state whether on social gatherings, social media platforms, the internet, etc.
Delta State is characterized by intense ethnic polarization and conflict. Some argue that the recent ‘inter-ethnic rivalry for domination’ will be a ‘fatal affliction’ to the political process in Delta State which will result to more economic inequalities and infrastructure deficit.
Others say Delta State is, sadly, at a crossroad, and demands that leadership will listen to the people and act appropriately and the people indeed must act in these critical months of May and June ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial elections.
The ideal Delta’s governor, in my candid opinion should, therefore, be:
A pan-Deltan; a Deltan in spirit and in content; someone who will not play the race and ethnic coloration or ethnic bigot. And of course, he or she must not abate ethnic polarization and conflict. In fact, the bar should be higher for those aspiring for the office of the governor “to improve the ideas that are put forward and the intellectual rigor applied to the discussions that underpin our development that will create ladders of opportunities [job creation].
Two, Delta’s next governor must be able to place emphasis on human development, encouraging learning as a culture and formal education as a necessity, while also promoting values of peace and stability. In other words, the next Delta governor must increase access to education through government-sponsored initiatives that will integrate civic education into school curriculums. Currently, little opportunity exists for young Deltans, particularly those in the underfunded public education systems.
Another thing to note or press in the politricks for the ideal Delta’s governor, is that he or she must participate in national meetings and conferences to shape the future of the state, and the living words of wisdom to be shared at every opportunity on unity and people-focused governance as a tool to a reformist agenda for policy instruments.
Furthermore, whether it is: “Modernization Agenda, The Edge to Build a New Delta slogan, Industrialization Agenda, MORE Agenda, Urban renewal and Rural development,” etc: Delta’s next governor must formulate policies to promote epistocratic governance in Delta State that must demonstrate his or her intellectual pedigree whereby translating knowledge into effective, transparent, and accountable governance that leads to the prosperity of all Deltans, a new model of governance in which political leadership is based on the knowledge and competence of both political leaders and the electorate.
Epistocracy is defined as a system of governance in which the votes of politically informed citizens count more than the less informed, representing a political system in which political power rests exclusively on highly educated citizens because education has been a critical component to development.
As Peter Obi notes: Nigeria must move away from a consumption country to producing country. Deltans must look into that direction in the critical months of May and June 2022 ahead of 2023.
Lugard Izoukumor is a journalist and researcher.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Daily Report Nigeria