By Dr Prosper Ahworregba
“…I feel your pain. Isokos have been undermined for too long in the power equation of Delta State” … Prof. Chuba Keshi
In the thick of my doctoral program in the tri-state area of Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland in 2004, my group had a seminar in the Annapolis area. During break period, some of us took a stroll to the Riverside. There I saw a phenomenon that has remained indelible in my memory.
The Chesapeake Bay is rich in crabs. Crab hunters had the live crabs in uncovered baskets. Every once in a while, a crab makes a dash for freedom. The others would keep their envious eyes fixed and ogles it until it gets close to the edge of the container. Two or three crabs would climb on themselves. The one on top stretches out its big claw and effortlessly brings down the escaping crab. It was a wowing experience.
I reminisced on this experience after the senatorial primary election in which the urbane technocrat, Sir Ayodele Othihiwa, lost out because his own political leaders worked underground against him and in cue, Isoko delegates didn’t cast their votes for him; a classical example of the crab-bucket effect!
The Isoko crab mentality which has permanently consigned her to playing the second fiddle in Delta politics predates the Othihiwa loss. Truth be told, Isoko clans are mutually suspicious, envious and jealous of themselves. They are disunited and the hatred for each other runs deep. Never mind the back-slapping and plastic smiles the elite and political class engage in in social gatherings. They are mere photo-ops. The mutual suspicion, envy and jealousy blinds them to the long-term consequences of their actions. Higher education has not refined the Isoko man to genuinely wish his fellow Isoko man sustainable growth. He is still anachronistic in his thinking and actions.
During the LG creation exercise under the military, 3 LGAs were approved for Isoko like the other two major ethnic groups in Delta South. But the Isoko “crab -bucket effect” fought off the 3rd LGA. Almost every clan wanted the Headquarters. And petitions, some threatening fire and brimstone, flooded the office that was responsible for the exercise. To let peace reign, the approved LGA with Headquarters at Igbide was yanked off the list.
The location of LG Headquarters that Isoko people fought over and eventually lost was the beginning of the descent of Isoko nation into politics of permanent crass vassalage and servitude in Delta State. For instance, while Isoko has just 24 Wards, Ijaw has 40! It is most regrettable that the shameless politicians of Isoko still haven’t learned their lessons. A rare opportunity for Isoko nation to serve on the front row was lost to interest that is immediate gratification.
Like the lost LG, the opportunity may not avail itself again. But the minions and hangers-on of one self-styled Isoko political leader, whose voice is an ensemble of an orchestra of frogs, who are ignorant of the weighty loss, were all over social media jumping up and down with pizzazz, at the loss.
The Isoko nation has just reaffirmed her position as a second fiddler in the comity of ethnic nations in Delta State. Let Isoko nation not relent in reveling, eating herself like “Obiame”.