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UHS Drift Into Partisan Silence In The Face Of Betrayal Of Urhobo: I Weep For The Soul Of Prof Peter Ekeh



Zik Gbemre

Since 1999 governance dispensation when Chief James Ibori led the imposition of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) hegemony of greedy, insensitive, and clannish political leaders over the governance of Delta State, Urhobo has suffered untold humiliation and betrayal through shameful representation in successive state governments.

It is unfortunate that strictly for the self-interest of the PDP hegemony over Delta when the election comes, Urhobo’s preference for mediocre representation, recycling of the same failed leaders, among the nonentities and thugs, is gaining momentum every election year.

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But far more shocking and disappointing the realization that rather than reprimand the greedy and undeserving Urhobos representatives in government for bringing our collective pride and conscience into disrepute, the respected Urhobo Historical Society (UHS), driven with a great reputation under Prof Peter Ekeh, has drifted into encouraging our shameless political leaders to sustain the depravity.

In the guise of guiding against Urhobos washing our dirty linens in public, the UHS, apparently infiltrated by partisan volunteer leaders, now promote a campaign against reprimanding Urhobo political officeholders. I weep for the soul of Prof Ekeh. So sad, that with the demise of this founding hero, UHS has lost its spark, hijacked by selfish politicians who are gradually turning it into a tool for propaganda and praise-singing.

These infiltrators of a noble cause initiated by Prof Ekeh, most of them are PDP card-carrying members suddenly woke up to say UHS has some fabricated unwritten rules that Urhobo political officeholders in shameful misconducts tarnishing of Urhobo image must not be told the truth.

In a UHS social media platform, particularly WhatsApp, the Admin had concocted that, “To accommodate all without discrimination, we (UHS) are cautious of posts that express sensitive individual preferences, biases, and opinions. To ensure adequate concentration on UHS goals, the following rules are hereby stated for the benefit of all.

1. UHS mission is serving Urhobo History and Culture

2. The group seeks to foster and advance our history and culture.

We encourage posts that:

(a) promote and preserve our language

(b) encourage the young generation to take interest in our history

(c) seek to strengthen the membership base of UHS

(d) help to locate and preserve historical sites

(e) remember and celebrate Urhobo’s iconic figures.

“On the other hand, we discourage posts that express support for, or against political parties and individuals.

“Importantly, we also discourage name-calling especially of fellow Urhobo men and women, and the use of foul language on anyone.”

And all these fabrications were provoked by my factual, objective audacity to carpet James Ibori and other Urhobo allies for the shame they continue to bring upon Urhobo people in the desperation to sustain their hegemony of thieving leadership that benefits only their pockets and mock the majority alienated Urhobo populace.

By simple interpretation, the conspiracy to derail the UHS from its set ideals is to say, justified or not, one Urhobo person must not point out the misconduct of another Urhobo person. I bet this is not the UHS, Prof Ekeh labored to establish.

Ironically, this conspiracy to protect shameless Urhobos in leadership contradicts even the said rules listed by the Admin for the UHS social media group. Those promoting these malicious rules recognize that UHS strives to encourage the young generation to take interest in our history just as it remembers and celebrates Urhobo iconic figures.

Contradictorily, by the cooked-up rules of engagements in the UHS platforms, it discourages posts that express support for, or against political parties and individuals.

Bearing in mind that the UHS is not an individual, but an institution, how does it celebrate excellence among Urhobos and maintain silence on disgraceful Urhobo personalities?

If UHS encourages young Urhobos to take interest in Urhobo history and culture, what kind of history and the older generation documenting for them if the UHS keeps silent on the fact that James Ibori is a chronic thief and self-important son who brought shame upon Urhobo people?

How does the UHS not tell the younger generation that Ibori, an unholy alliance with the clan of Andrew Desi, Adiotomre, Oyovbaire, Edevbie, John Oguma, Omene Sobotie, Eddy Ono-Sorhue, G.G. Darah, Pa Sefia, Pa Obofukoro, A.P. Fovie, Ighoyota Amori, Terry Noah, Judith Enamuotor, Lizzy Obukeme, Margaret Unukegwu, Major Egole, Grace Odili, and most of our Urhobo traditional rulers for personal interest sold and demeaned the pride of Urhobo as Delta ethnic majority, betrayed and sold us out to the extent where the most minorities of Delta minorities now stand up to us and display grandstanding over power-sharing in Delta politics?

How do we not tell the young generation that Urhobo’s pride of place didn’t start with the creation of Delta state? From Mid-West to Bendel, where were the Ijaws and other ethnic minorities when we were the unassailable power broker, rubbing shoulders with the Binis/Esans of modern-day Edo state?

Before our very own eyes, Ibori, desperate to be an overlord over Delta state, encouraged using Delta waterways hamlets to fabricate bogus, miracle votes from the Warri Federal Constituencies where thumbprint votes sparsely populated Gbaramatu alone can surpass almost entire Delta Central votes in an election.

Our UPU leadership was/are comfortable when all of these were going on and still going on. Ibori whose mother is Itsekiri downplayed Urhobo with his hidden agenda. UPU, induced by Ibori’s indefensible wealth, saw all of these and they clog around him like bees.

Today Urhobo politicians are begging those they engage to do magic votes to support the Urhobo governorship. In the Western Region era, down to Midwest Region through Bendel state, you couldn’t win the election if Urhobos were against that candidate at both Federal and State levels.

It was non-negotiable that Urhobo must be accorded governorship or at least deputy governorship if a party meant serious business of winning elections. Urhobo is a large tribe, an edge that cannot be taken for granted.

How we got relegated to begging and appeasing minorities to do us a favor of a governorship rotation that has revolved to us is one oddity I won’t stop talking and questioning key actors selling Urhobos out, whether a partisan UHS likes it or not.

It takes a great deal to speak truth to power. If the UHS, Prof Ekeh left behind has become averse to truth and justice, in the guise of not allowing one Urhobo person to speak ill of another, the UHS Admin is at liberty to remove Zik Gbemre.

One thing is sure, whether removed or kept on, I will not stop seeing Ibori as who he truly is. It is not names dropping or name-calling to call spade a spade. I did not accuse Ibori of being a thief. He’s a confirmed thief, convicted and jailed, a betrayer, a disgrace to Urhobo and the young generation must be told not to live his kind of life or cheer him.

If the UHS, Prof Ekeh left behind has become so partisan to promote excellence, credibility, and justice in Urhobo, Zik Gbemre won’t stop praising good deeds and reprimanding misconducts among Urhobo people.

There are limitless platforms to share my thoughts.

Zik Gbemre
February 11, 2022

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