Crisis Rocks Urhobo Progress Union as Faction Picks Ogboru as Candidate
LAGOS FEBRYARY 3RD (URHOBOTODAY)-The Urhobo umbrella body in Delta State, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), has adopted Labour Party (LP) govenorship candidate Chief Great Ogboru for the February 28 election.
The endorsement, according to UPU’s President General Joe Omene, followed series of consultations with the 24 kingdoms’ leaders of Urhobo nation, their womenfolk (Eghweya), the traditional rulers, the leaders and elders and the youth wing.
Omene said of the 14 members of the executive, who voted at the meeting, 10 supported Ogboru and four voted for All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Chief O’tega Emerhor.
But another faction, led by First Vice President-General Chief Tuesday Onoge, faulted the decision.
The Onoge-led faction noted that the decision of the Omene-led faction negated the controversial Uvwiamughe Declaration, a resolution of the Urhobo Assembly, which sought the election of an Urhobo politician as governor.
The declaration, which was made last February, stated that the Urhobo would vote en bloc for either the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the All Progressives Congress (APC), depending on which of them gave its governorship ticket to an Urhobo candidate.
The disagreement among UPU’s leaders reached a crescendo on Sunday evening when the Onoge-led faction refused to follow Omene’s declaration of Ogboru.
A member of the Onoge faction, who spoke in confidence, said the Omene group had been planning to force the UPU to adopt President Goodluck Jonathan, although the PDP did not give its ticket to Urhobo’s adopted candidate.
He also alleged that Omene flouted the declaration by placing Ogboru, whose party was never part of the declaration, against the choice of the APC candidate.
Sunday’s closed-door meeting at Omene’s Mosogar home was deadlocked. Onoge’s faction walked out.
A few minutes later, Omene announced that those who stayed back with him had chosen Ogboru.
But the Onoge faction accused him of imposing his will on the Urhobo, adding that he had been removed as UPU’s president-general.
Onoge was appointed by members of his faction as the acting UPU’s president-general.
A statement by Onoge in Warri, which was read yesterday by his faction’s Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mumakai Unagha, reads: “…Chief Omene seems determined to make a mockery of the Urhobo by dumping the sacred and collective will of the people as expressed in the Uvwiamuge Declaration.
“In spite of the directives by the forum of Ivies (kings) and Urhobo clergy to the contrary, he is determined to coerce and rush the Urhobo into a fatal decision to support the PDP/Jonathan, Labour/Ogboru tickets, which are alien to the Uvwiamuge Declaration, when PDP failed to give its governorship ticket to an Urhobo and LP is not a national party.”
The statement also accused Omene’s camp of endangering Urhobo’s collective interest in the rush to push Urhobo endorsement of the PDP/Jonathan ticket before the outcome of the presidential election against the advice and position of well-meaning Urhobo.
It added: “Not knowing which party will win the presidential election, the imminent danger is that in the event of a miscalculation, the Urhobo will be in the opposition and elongated suffering.
“UPU will stand firm and uphold the honour and integrity of Urhobo people by not abandoning the Uvwiamuge Declaration and to accord its beneficiaries full recognition.
“Accordingly, the qualifying ticket of APC/Gen. Muhammadu Buhari/Emerhor is hereby endorsed by the UPU.”