By Dafe Rukevwe
The National Executive Committee, NEC, of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, Worldwide, has berated Urhobo traditional rulers who complained about alleged poor attention given to them by President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), when he visited Delta State recently.
Recall, that on Thursday, 17th January, 2019, the APC presidential campaign team visited Warri, Delta State, while the Urhobo Traditional Rulers expected to have a robust conversation with the President when Urhobo traditional rulers converged at the palace of the Ovie of Uvwie where they had gathered to welcome the president.
Oasis Magazine (OM) gathered that after the presentation of kola nuts, PMB allegedly retired into an inner chamber with the Ovie of Uvwie for consultation, a situation that infuriated other Ivie.
Our source disclosed that the monarchs were angry that the Ovie of Uvwie is neither the chairman nor deputy chairman of Urhobo traditional rulers, and therefore cannot corner the president.
It was alleged that efforts by the Ohworode of Olomu and chairman of Urhobo traditional rulers to join PMB and the Ovie of Uvwie in the inner chamber was rebuffed.
We also learnt that shortly after, PMB emerged from the inner chamber and walked past the other Urhobo traditional rulers without further discussion. This made many of them to complain openly over the perceived bias of the president towards them.
However, the UPU NEC in a statement issued and signed by its President General, Chief Joe Omene and National Secretary, Barr Martins Ahweyevu Mukoro carpeted the Urhobo traditional rulers for expecting exceptional treatment from President Buhari when they have allegedly endorsed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of the PDP against an Urhobo son running for governor on the same political platform with the president.
According to the statement which read in part: “The NEC of UPU, is not at all surprised at the encounter between the Urhobo traditional rulers and PMB. It is the product of bias and incredulous misadventure and political partisanship on the part of some Urhobo traditional rulers.
“We recall that before INEC released a timetable for the election, some Urhobo traditional rulers who ought to remain politically neutral and above board gathered themselves and adopted Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa as their candidate and endorsed him for re-election.
“How then could they reasonably expect proper audience from PMB who had come on a campaign visit to solicit support for APC candidates? Why was it necessary for Urhobo traditional rulers to prematurely adopt Gov. Okowa as if every Urhobo person is a member of the PDP?
So, as it turned out on that day, if PMB did not have time for Urhobo traditional rulers, it is because Urhobo traditional rulers were politically biased and they had no time for Mr. President.
“For whatever reason they so behaved, Urhobo traditional rulers should learn from the embarrassment of that day that it pays for traditional rulers to be politically neutral. For traditional rulers whose son Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru is a governorship candidate of the president’s party and chief host to PMB, the Urhobo traditional rulers grievously miscalculated, ridiculed themselves and should blame no one but themselves. They cannot eat their cake and have it back,” the statement added.