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DELTA DECIDES: Now That Okpe Has Settled For Senate



DELTA DECIDES : Now That Okpe Has Settled For Senate

By Annabel Ogheneganre

In the build up to the 2023 general elections, we canvassed for a balance of political power in Delta Central. We argued over time that the old Eastern and Western Urhobo should be considered on the issue of the senatorial and gubernatorial candidates of the party. While PDP brought their two candidates from Western Urhobo, APC gave their senatorial ticket to Western Urhobo while the gubernatorial picket came from Eastern Urhobo. Today, the senator-elect is Chief Ede Dafinone, an Okpe man from Sapele. Since his election and eventual declaration on Tuesday as winner of the polls, tongues have been wagging that Okpe people have settled for senate and cannot retain the governorship seat anymore.

Besides the issue of Eastern and Western Urhobo Divisions, there are 24 Kingdoms in Urhoboland and Okpe Kingdom is one of the 24. In the politics of 2023, with the governorship seat coming to Delta Central, it became clear that two very important positions were available for grab by Urhobo people. These are Urhobo seat in the senate and the office of governor of Delta State. The Okpe nation fielded candidates for both positions. Ede Dafinone of the APC is an Okpe man whose father, late Chief David Omueya Dafinone midwifed the building of the palace of the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom. Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP is another Okpe man who is running for governor. The question is, will the rest of Urhobo allow Okpe to grab both positions while the rest 23 Kingdoms go home with nothing? The answer certainly is no!
In the March 11 gubernatorial contest, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege of the APC is from Orogun, Chief Kenneth Gbagi of the SDP is from Ughievwen, Ken Pela of Labour Party is also from Ughievwen all from Eastern Urhobo, while Chief Great Ogboru of APGA is from Abraka, also from Western Urhobo. A few other candidates are there most of who are not from Okpe nation of Urhoboland. The argument being promoted now is what will be the stake of the rest of Urhobo if Okpe should be allowed to be governor and senator at the same time? This argument has technically knocked out Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori from the March 11 race. Equity demands that the other parts of Urhobo be considered and that is what will build inclusiveness in moving Urhobo forward.

The wind of revolution triggered by the Obidient Movement is anchored on credibility, capacity and ability to deliver. It has nothing to do with political party. Urhobo should place all the candidates on the scale of ability to protect Urhobo interests on issues of inter-ethnic harmony. Let us examine the two major contenders for the office of Governor based on their antecedents and achievements as lawmakers.

Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori as Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly established three Universities in the last four years. Governor Okowa took two to his Delta north, one in Agbor and the other in Anwai-Asaba. The other went to Ozoro in Delta South. Oborevwori could not take anything home. His people are saying that the Okpe axis lacks a higher institution yet Sheriff as Speaker could not establish one for his people whereas he approved two for Okowa and another for Ozoro, leaving Delta Central with nothing. Is this the kind of man that can stand his ground to defend Urhobo interest?

For Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Nigerian senate approved four Polytechnics through an Act of Parliament. In a gathering of 109 senators from all over Nigeria, Omo-Agege stood his ground to argue that Urhobo nation must get one. He proved his point and today we have a Federal Polytechnic at Orogun, Delta State. This is the kind of man who can defend Urhobo interest and honour. He dipped his hand in the raging furnace of national politics and came home with a Federal Polytechnic. If Oborevwori could be so naïve to defer to the antics of a greedy and petty godfather like Okowa, he couldn’t have come home with anything where he to be in Omo-Agege’s shoes in Abuja. Omo-Agege stood like the man he is and came home with a glorious trophy of dexterity and astute performance.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that Sheriff is no match to Omo-Agege. Agege lit up almost all Urhobo communities. How many of those solar lights have been provided by former PDP senators? Chief Kingsley Esiso once bad-mouthed Omo-Agege by dismissing his ‘Light Up Delta’ Scheme as frivolous yet his other PDP senators could not come home with a quarter of what Agege gave to his people. Ovie Omo-Agege distinguished himself as a performer and gave a good account of himself. Omo-Agege as governor is a better material for a better Delta State.
In all the campaigns for the 2023 general election, what manner of message has the two front-runners given to the people? Have we gotten anything tangible as electoral promises from Sheriff Oborevwori apart from the general manifesto of the party which is hardly in public domain? In every local government area visited, Omo-Agege has a special message to address the peculiarities of the people in those places. The MORE agenda of the PDP does not capture the peculiarities and intricacies of the various Local Government Areas. It is about taking Sheriff Oborevwori to government house so he could be a puppet for Okowa and his cabal to be manipulated. That is not the kind of governor Delta State want at this time.

As things stand today, the Orodje of Okpe is the Chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, another Okpe man is the senator-elect for Delta Central, it would be the height of greed for Okpe to still dream of being voted for governor on March 11. That day is certainly Ovie Omo-Agege’s day of glory. The man is loved by the people while Oborevwori has inherited Okowa’s enemies. The argument by some PDP elements for the Obidient family to support PDP because APC is the oppressor is a lie from the pit of hell. Where and how did APC oppress Labour Party? But for the transparency and genuineness of purpose of Buhari in managing the electoral process, Labour Party would have been suppressed today.
There are issues no doubt but how can you say APC oppressed the opposition when APC lost to Labour Party in Tinubu’s Lagos State? How would you explain Buhari’s loss of Katsina state to Atiku’s PDP whereas, if they were in power, that would never happen? APC has won in fewer states yet they are being accused of manipulating the process. Why? The Governors of Katsina, Kaduna, Lagos, Yobe, Plateau etc who are of the APC lost their states to the opposition yet, APC is being accused of manipulating the process? Are they being accused of manipulating the election against their own party or what are the allegations about? For me, people are not being fair to the APC at all.
Peter Obi should stand on his own merit and never believe the PDP as a friend because the PDP is losing out in the election. PDP is oppression itself. They are only looking for ally to fight their battles. Obi has awakened a national consciousness and revolution which may not yield the desired result immediately. Obi has won many seats in the National Assembly and that is a whole lot of achievement for a man whom many did not believe when he started. His performance in this election goes beyond expectations. I am proud to be Obidient and part of the movement. I voted Obi on February 25th and I am proud I did. He won in the unit where I voted in Ughelli South LGA. This movement will not end with this election. Irrespective of the outcome, Peter Obi has ‘won’ the election in the streets of Nigeria. My aged mother voted for Obi and I wondered how she got the message without prodding from me.

In the final analysis, I strongly believe that on March 11, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege should be voted for governor. That way, the equation would be balanced and the question of credibility that drove the national revolution by Peter Obi would have been satisfied. Omo-Agege is more credible and presentable. He is loved by the people. People doubted Orogun Polytechnic but today, like Peter Obi,

Omo-Agege has proved the bookmakers wrong. The Institution is standing tall as monument to Omo-Agege’s outstanding representation of Urhobo in the senate. He will do well when voted on March 11. Delta State will be proud to have Omo-Agege a s Governor. Let us do this on March 11.

Annabel Ogheneganre writes from Garki, Abuja. (Please send reaction to [email protected])


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