The Urhobo Youth Leaders Association (UYLA) has warned stakeholders and opinion leaders to desist from political wrangling that could worsen the apparently growing tension in Delta State arising over who becomes the state's governor in 2023.
The association, in a statement signed by its President, Mr. Tony Ofoni, Deputy President, Mr. Vincent Oyibode, Vice-President, Mr. Austin Atiti and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Oghotomo Samuel, expressed worry at the unsavoury comments credited to individuals and groups in the state concerning the politics of 2023, particularly the next governorship election.
The UYLA observed that wrangling, which is fast becoming a free-for-all media brawl, seemed to have been emanated from various reactions to the decision by the Delta State Governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa, about two weeks ago, to dissolve his cabinet and relieve many of his political aides of their appointments.
The association also expressed dismay that a political programme on national television inflamed the political wrangling by alleging that Okowa attempted to dismantle the over two decades old governorship succession structure that was put in place by former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori.
It said that it smelt a rat as there seemed to be a calculated attempt to pitch Okowa against the people of Delta Central Senatorial District, which is peopled predominantly by the Urhobo ethnic nationality all in the name of 2023 gubernatorial election in Delta State.
The UYLA said: "Recently, we have read with grave concern some publications, public statements and comments by members of the public in both print and electronic media, on the question of 2023 gubernatorial election. There have been claims and counter-claims over which part of the state should produce the next governor of Delta State.
"What troubled our minds the most is a programme on Channels Television and NTA tagged "Inside the Niger Delta," anchored by Mamode Felix Akugha, alleging that the incumbent Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa was working hard to dismantle the 21 years old political structure of Mr. James Onanefe Ibori, former Governor of Delta state.
"We are constrained to react because the statutory right of the governor to take steps to reinvent his cabinet through dissolution of the State Executive Council is generating such degree of bad-blood and negative comments from a section of the populace.
"The UYLA has resolved not to keep mute while the well-considered actions and activities of Governor Okowa are being discredited through a well-oiled campaign of calumny designed to pitch the governor against the interest of Delta Central in the politics of 2023.
"The association, therefore, reminded all Deltans and Nigerians in general that the right of the executive governor to dissolve the state executive council or reshuffle his cabinet for better performance was a statutory right and based on the country's constitution."