By Ebireri Henry
As the session draws to a close, the battle of who emerges as the next Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly has begun.
In pursuant of the principles of equity, justice and fairness, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State is expected to follow the policy of rotation and zoning of elective offices.
Deltans at home and abroad expect the next speaker to come from Delta Central in an effort to balance the political equation in the state. The governor elect is from Delta North while the deputy governor elect is from Delta South.
Current Delta State House of Assembly Majority Leader, Hon. Monday Igbuya is likely to slug it out with Mr. Efe Ofobruku, the daughter of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori , Erhiatake Ibori, Mr Sam Mariere, Mr Eric Oharisi and Sheriff Obovworhowrhi.
Who does the cap fit? Who should be the presiding officer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominated House of Assembly in June? Predictions are already streaming in about the possible outcome, leading analysts to tip the former chairman of Sapele Local Government Area as the next speaker.
Igbuya contested the Sapele Constituency seat on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeating Chief Felix Anirah, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Lucky Ayomanor, candidate of the Labour Party (LP).
Well equipped for this position, many analysts say Igbuya has the requisite qualification, aptitude and experience to hold the post of Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.
“I appreciate Igbuya’s civility. He has a clear, exciting idea of where he is going and knows the feelings and difficulties of the people” Dr. Mike Ofuokwue, a political strategist and analyst said,
“Hon Monday Igbuya has demonstrated leadership and integrity. He will use the position to quicken the delivery of “democracy dividends” by ensuring a smooth relationship between the House and other organs of government” Chief Magnus Ogbechi, leader of Anioma Forum, said.
The voicing of support for Hon Igbuya did not start today. In December, top Okpe leaders described the Majority Leader as a blessing to the state.
Chairman of Okpe Political Leaders Forum (OPLF), Mr. Darlington Ebireri in a statement issued in Sapele said the leaders praised Hon. Igbuya for protecting the people’s rights through quality representation, job creation and poverty alleviation.
“You have done us proud. All we can do is to acknowledge and thank you in our modest way by asking you to continue in Delta State House of Assembly” the leaders said after a meeting of stakeholders in Okpe kingdom.
The leaders described his performance in the state assembly as wonderful.
“Igbuya is a good ambassador of Sapele Local Government Area and his performance has spoken volume. He has defended the cause of Sapele at the State Assembly and if given another chance, come 2015, Delta State in general and Sapele Local Government Area in particular will be great” the statement said.
“He will do a lot for the people in terms of legislation that would further unite Delta State and laws that will attract the desired investment into this state, laws that would create employment opportunities and encourage private sector participation in the economy”.
In February, Urhobo leaders under the auspices of the Urhobo Political, Businessmen and Professional Forum berated those blackmailing the Delta State Majority Leader, describing the lawmaker as an embodiment of respect, loyalty, honesty, progress, peace and prosperity in Delta Central.
“In the Delta State House of Assembly, Igbuya distinguished himself as a leader on a variety of issues important to Deltans, particularly Sapele people. He has earned a reputation as an articulate and powerful voice for economic and political development of the people. He is committed to boosting access to more affordable health care, improving educational opportunities for all, strengthening the state’s economy, expanding job opportunities, keeping taxes low and reducing spending” the leaders said.
Spokesperson of the forum, Mr. Darlington Ebireri in a statement issued after an emergency meeting of the leaders in Sapele praised the lawmaker for meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
“A clinical appraisal of Igbuya’s footprints for the past seven years reveals that he has worked so hard to make life meaningful to the good people of Urhobo. He has gained respect around the state and among his peers. He is a brilliant achiever” the leaders said.
Obviously, Deltans want him to lead the House come June 2015
“We need leadership that is going to represent the people of the state because this is their House. I hope to see the Sapele representative elected as speaker of the Delta House. He will represent the interests and the desires of the people. ” Abell Minna, a financial consultant said.
“Picking up the speaker’s seat is a lot. We have a great candidate.” Victor Oki, an industrial relations expert said.
” Igbuya has been doing a great job as majority leader,” Julius Odita, a social commentator said, “and I can’t wait to see him in the speaker’s position. He knows how to lead”
“As an exemplary figure, I think he could do a very good job as speaker,” said Raymond Akpomughe, director of the Center for Strategic Studies, Asaba. “He has a lot of experience in leadership. He has been in leadership for years and has the vision to do the job.
“PDP is the party with the largest tent, and it has a lot of strengths. I think it’s about putting the right person with the right strengths at the right time. Igbuya is a proven leader, having served as chairman of committee and majority leader, a role that is usually a stepping stone for the top job in the chamber ” Okpako Abeke said
Born 17th August, 1956, Igbuya, a graduate of Delta State University, Abraka has an outstanding record in the House ,a good standing in the PDP and good understanding of the House rules.
“The role of speaker is critical. Igbuya has the ability to unite members and move the institution forward. He is certain to be the next speaker” Dr. Donald Okpunor, a political science teacher said.
“As speaker, Igbuya will work hard to build consensus, and create opportunity for all”.