By John Tega
The President General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Worldwide, Chief (Engr.) Joe Omene, has distanced himself and the parent body from the call by some members of the youth wing that want the nominated Chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Board, Hon. Michael Diden replaced with an Urhobo man.
You will recall that in an earlier publication by Oasis Magazine (OM) some members of the youth wing threatened to go to court to seek redress if the governor fails to implement the law guiding DESOPADEC by appointing an Urhobo person to chair the board since it is their turn to produce the Chairman.
In a phone conversation with OM, Chief Omene stressed that when some members of the youth wing visited him in Mosogar yesterday to intimate him on the planned move to press on the governor to replace Diden, he (Omene) advised against this, adding that apart from the fact that it was too late to tow this line, Governor Okowa has so far shown that he is not anti-Urhobo and thus advised that they let him have his way on this appointment.
He added: “I wonder why only Diden was mentioned to me and I am shocked that a publication was made by some online media platforms stating the call to replace the Chairman of the board even after I advised those that visited me not to go ahead with this demand.
“Diden is also partly from Urhobo and I am aware of the cordial relationship that he has with Senator Omo-Agege who represents Delta Central in the Red Chambers and other noble and patriotic Urhobo politicians. I don’t have anything against Diden and the parent body will definitely discipline all those involved in going ahead with this annoying publication.”
He called on the Delta State governor and the nominated Chairman of DESOPADEC to disregard the said publication, as he wished Diden well as he mounts the saddle of leadership of DESOPADEC after his swearing-in ceremony today.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the youth body, Comrade Efemena Umukoro, has condemned the call by some youths hiding under the canopy of UPU Youth Wing to demand the replacement of the nominated Chairman with an Urhobo son, saying that this is an attempt to drag the name of the noble association to the mud.
Speaking to OM in a phone conversation, he said, “as the Secretary of UPU Youth Wing, I am the only one authorized to issue press statements and other official material for public consumption. That said open letter was not signed by me and so cannot be said to be from UPU Youth Wing.”
He called on all those affected by the publication to disregard the content and rather focus on the swearing-in ceremony today, stressing that Urhobo youths are solidly behind Diden and will give him the needed support while his tenure lasts.