Some youths and women numbering over 500 in the Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State Monday protested and barricaded Emevor-Iyede-Ughelli Asaba expressway, one of the busiest roads in the southern Nigerian state.
The protesters accused the administration of Ifeanyi Okowa of marginalising their area and refusing to construct the Emevor-Orogun Road and other roads in their community.
The mass protest which disrupted economic and official activities caused gridlock for several hours, leaving travellers stranded.
The protesters also condemned their political leaders, Paul Owhe, commissioners representing Isoko ethnic nationality in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, (DESOPADEC) and one Nelson Ejakpovi, who is the board chairman, school of health, Ufoma, describing them as failures.
They alleged that the accused persons have amassed illicit wealth at the expense of the community.
The protesters displayed leaves and placards, with different inscriptions. They said Governor Okowa in April 2021 during the Isoko North House of Assembly bye-election electioneering, promised to build the Emevor-Orogun Road and other projects. They however added that after the bye-election, the governor abandoned them to their fate.
The protesters, led by the community’s youth secretary, John Odhe, lamented the poor execution of projects in the area. They vowed that no election or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections will be allowed to take place in Emevor community until the governor fulfils the promises made to them
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the youth secretary said, “No Emevor-Orogun rRoad, no campaign and no voting in 2023.
“Our protest is to drive home our demand for the completion of the first phase of Emevor–Orogun Road which is in totality a four-phase planned road with each phase spanning across major towns along the Emevor-Orogun Road and the first phase being the construction of a major access road into Emevor then navigating towards the Emevor-Orogun Road axis.
“It should be noted that this contract was first awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over six years ago without any landmark achievement.
“Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, during the Isoko North House of Assembly bye-election campaigns last year promised that as one of the dividends of electing the House of Assembly candidate, the Emevor-Orogun Road phase one would be completed in a matter of months after clinching power.
“However, contrary to the sweet campaign promises, we are yet to see conveyance of any sand to the said road since the House of Assembly member was elected and sworn in. We have resolved that we will not entertain political campaigns in Emevor and there won’t be an election if the promises made during the last bye-election by the governor and his team are not brought into reality.”
A protesting youth who simply identified himself as Oghene, said, no meaningful project had been done in the community.
“For the past 15 years, Paul Owhe and Ejakpovi have been trading with our community, building big houses within and outside Isoko. Go to Oleh and Abuja and see the big house and hospital Owhe built.
“What about Ejakpovi? Go to Benin and see what he did there, amassing illicit wealth to the detriment of Emevor. These two Emevor politicians don’t care about the people apart from their immediate families. Before now, Owhe was not a successful medical doctor but go and see the properties he has amassed.”
As of the time of filing this report, SaharaReporters reliable gathered that an emergency meeting had been called to be held in the palace of the traditional ruler in the community over the protest.