By Daniel Dafe
The President General (PG), Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Worldwide, Chief (Engr.) Joe Omene, has said that “the programme organized by Chief Moses Taiga at Urhobo House (Uvwiamughe), recently was Ika/Ijaw Day,” saying that calling it Urhobo Day was unfair.
Omene spoke to journalists recently at his residence in Mosogar.
The outspoken PG who wondered how a gathering where the highest Urhobo elected politician, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Senate President was absent, added: “Who were the people that were there? Ika and Ijaw; Taiga’s Ijaw and Okowa’s Ika. So, that is the celebration they did. I believe Ibori and others were absent because they want peace in Urhobo land.
“Taiga cannot celebrate Urhobo day when the highest office holder in Urhobo land who is number 5 in the country and even bigger than Okowa was not there. No member of the House of Representatives from Urhobo land attended. The Honourable Minister for Labour (State), Festus Keyamo SAN and Great Ovedje Ogboru were not also there. No prominent Urhobo attended except those who are appendages of Okowa’s government and have no say of their own. Some of the prominent Urhobos that use to dance around with Okowa are no longer doing so because they have seen the need for a unified Urhobo and have realized that Taiga is an Ijaw man that Okowa wants to use to destabilize Urhobo.
“Some traditional rulers because of threats attended the event just like previous times. Some of them have told me that though they are not happy with what is going on, their staff of office and salary is at stake if they do otherwise.”
He continued: “Urhobo day was not celebrated because there is nothing to celebrate for now. It was postponed. “I won’t behave like Taiga that can sell his conscience for N50 Million Naira gift from Okowa to build Urhobo House and betray Urhobo people. Well, he is Ijaw. If not my love for Urhobo, I can mobilize boys to that place to prevent the programme from holding. But, I know what they want is for that to happen so that they can shed innocent blood and look for how to blame me for the death of our youths.
“From the outset, I decided that I will not plunge Urhobo Nation into chaos.
“Okowa for a long time has nursed the ambition of making sure that Urhobo Nation is divided. I remembered how he dealt with Urhobo indigenes even when he was the Delta SSG.
He continued: “I will keep on waiting for the courts to rule on the matter before it to determine who the constitutionally elected PG between Taiga and I is.
“Recently, I accepted to step down and even agreed to the suggestion of Urhobo leaders under the platforms of Uhobo Renaissance Movement (URM) and other groups headed by Professor Onokerhoraye, former VC, UNIBEN and Professor Temi Akporhonor to allow a unified exco. I did that because I want peace in Urhobo land. Taiga shunned these groups. I am pained that Urhobo Nation is going though all of these and that is why we decided not to hold any Urhobo Day celebration this year.
“The same Taiga that gave a fake promise to Urhobo Nation three years ago to build a university and bank which he used to deceive them is parading himself as the PG of Utrhobo?”
On if he expects Agege to meddle in UPU affair and restore peace, he noted: “He is a politician. I don’t rely on any politician to come and fight this fight for me. I have not requested any dime from Omo-Agege and he has not given me one kobo because it is said that “he who pays the piper dictates the tone. If you want the UPU to be purely independent of any institution, manage the UPU as you see it.”
He condemned those that consider his UPU exco to be pro-APC, and that of Taiga, pro-PDP, saying “I am not anti-PDP, neither pro-APC.”
His words: “Endorsing Buhari was because we were sure that he will win and also endorsing Agege over Evelyn Oboroh was because of the role she played during PDP primaries where she betrayed Urhobo Nation and voted against Edevbie. If I was anti-PDP would I have attended Edevbie’s late father’s burial? He is the Chief of Staff to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.”
On the matter of who becomes Governor in 2023 since according to PDP’s zoning arrangement it is Urhobo’s turn, he said: “If both APC and PDP chooses to produce an Urhobo candidate, we will stand aloof and be mute publicly and allow every Urhobo decide who to support. But, we will support PDP if they give us an Urhobo candidate and APC doesn’t and vice versa.”