Omene’s Urhobo Progress Union ‘Kangaroo Election’ and Matters Arising
By Roland Ejakpovwo
LAGOS DECEMBER 4TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Urhobos have been watching with dismay the display of show of shame that has been exhibited by the Chief Joe Omene led Urhobo Progress Union EXCO. The most shameful one is the reported conduction of UPU general election in his residence at Mosogar, Delta State.
It would be recalled that after the demise of the former UPU President-General, General Aziza (Rtd), it has been one crisis after the other. It is either the EXCO is accused of imposition of political candidate on the people or they were suspected of having collected billion of Naira from political top notch so as to sway Urhobo nation in his favour.
There is internal crisis among the members of the EXCO where members are accusing Joe Omene of having defrauded UPU. They indicted him of having collected Billion Naira from powers that be then, which he did not account for. He was equally accused of using UPU money to enrich himself by purchasing fleet of luxurious cars and live expensive life style.
There was ones Urhobo traditional rulers became fed up of his antics at which he is running the affairs of UPU and decided on their own to remove him from office. But Omene who called the kings’ action a bluff went to court where he won his case and consequently reinstated into office until the end of his term in December 2016. The believe of the majority of the people was that Omene will honourably leave office when his tenure ends
There is an adage that says no one will want to remove honey from his mouth. So is the case of Omene. The man has tasted power and the honey in it and he will want to continue licking the honey. Thus, to achieve his objective in staying in power so as to continue licking the honey, few months to the end of his administration, Omene started hatching his evil plan against Urhobos.
He went about opeingn new UPU branches both at home and Diaspora giving each of the branches four delegates. He also appealed to them to be loyal to him. He increased the delegates in UPU Lagos branch to twelve instead of eight. This, he did by equally giving members of UPU Lagos traditional council in Lagos four delegates slots.
Showing how power hungry he is, Omene went to the extent of telling other aspirants during his visit to Lagos that they should not bother to contest the election because there is no vacancy at the UPU secretariat. He said as an incumbent there is no way he will give out power easily in the platform of gold hence is not Goodluck Jonathan who midwived his own election and lost.
Few days to the election, there was a court injunction which did not only called for the suspension of the election, it also order Omene not to parade himself as the President-General of UPU until the determination of the case brought to the judge for hearing.
It was as a result of the court injunction that security agents sealed the UPU Headquarters at Uvwiamuge and its secretariat at Okere road.
Thus, in disobedience of the court order, Omene in dear need of power took selected delegates to his residence at Mosogar where they sat down and wrote a result which declared him the winner. What shame to Omene. Why did he think he is greater than the whole Urhobo nation.
Meanwhile, Urhobo traditional rulers across the 24 Urhobo kingdoms, led by the Owhorode of Olomu Kingdom, HRM R. N. Ogbon condemned the action of Omene alleging that he violated a court order restraining him from conducting UPU congress.
Reacting to the action of Omene, a Lagos based lawyer and public commentator, Dr Fred Oghenesivwe said Omene’s leadership in UPU brought substantial shame and disgrace to Urhobo Nation by dragging the union into full time partisan politics.
According to him, the battle for the soul of Delta Central politics just began, adding that the episode will open doors for more law suits which may again divide Urhobo Nation.
“I am pained that Urhobo Nation has become a laughing stock as the most disorganised cultural association in Delta State. Joe Omene must realise that the interest of Urhobo Nation is uppermost and that his selfish personal ambition has become a monumental embarrassment to Urhobo people the world over. Omene is truly the tyrant plaguing Urhobo Nation. It is time for Urhobo sons and daughters to unite against this arrogant demigod, Chief Joe Omene,” Oghenesivwe must have spoken the minds of majority of the Urhobo people. It is no doubt that Omene has become a bone hanging in the throat of Urhobo people. They cannot vomit him or swallow him. But something must be done to put him under control.
Another Urhobo son, Omonire Ovwigho Isaac who is heavily pained by the recent happening in UPU described those sending congratulation messages to Omene as exhibiting “the continuity of ignorance”.
He argued that if Urhobos cannot organise and conduct ordinary UPU election, why would they always cry foul once PDP rigged state elections?
“Pa Joe Omene has been a comprised UPU president and a comprised man for far too long. How can someone who endorsed PDP at the National level be kicking against PDP at the state level and yet the ones born with ignorance are rejoicing? And yet many fail to realize that he was using the destinies of Urhobo to pave way for himself. He and his crew made away with over N2 billion given to UPU for a comprised job well done.
“Pa Joe Omene the election you conducted in your house and people sending a congratulatory messages to you is unacceptable. And those sending congratulatory messages, once the next state elections are rigged don’t let me hear or see you complaining. Because it would tell on you,” Ovwigho warned.
It is however disappointing that a self acclaimed prominent Urhobo youth leader, Mr. Rex Anighoro is in support of this errant nonsense.
While speaking to Sunday Vanguard, he said: “The royal fathers do not dictate what happens in UPU, they are not in the position to do what they are doing and Omene has not done anything wrong as far as UPU constitution is concerned.”
Leaders like Ekiugbo are surely misleading Urhobo youth with their unguarded statement on important issues like this.
Why must Anighoro spoke of Urhobo Royal fathers in that man. He is indirectly telling Urhobos that he did not have respect for elders. This man is polluting our youths.
All said and done Urhobos should realize that the fight has started. This is an insult from Omene and his cohorts. Urhobos should bring their act together and ensure that Omene is removed either legally or forcefully. We are waiting for that glorious day.
Roland Ejakpovwo is an Abuja based journalist