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Published On: Sat, Dec 17th, 2016

Why Urhobos in America Reject Omene’s ‘Kangaroo’ UPU General Election

upu-america
LAGOS DECEMBER 17TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Urhobos resident in America under the aegis of Urhobo Progress Union America (UPUA) has rejected in strong term the purported Urhobo Progress Uunion (UPU) general election alleged to have been conducted in the resident of Chief James Omene who was one of the contesting candidate for the position of President General.
The group in a statement signed by Mrs. Grace Ophori, Chair BOT of UPUA and President of Urhobo Association (UA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut along with other fourteen members made available to Urhobotoday, condemned the actions of Chief Joseph Omene and totally rejected the election he purportedly conducted on Friday, December 2, 2016 in his home in Mosogar, Delta state.
They argued that the election is illegal, immoral, crude, undemocratic and contravenes organizational norms including those of UPU.
According to the statement, “We reject the purported election for various reasons, including the following: Firstly, by going ahead to organize the sham election, Chief Joseph Omene essentially disobeyed the “status quo” order of the Court because an election is an action that changes the “status quo ante”. For instance, the purported election presumably extended the tenure of Chief Joseph Omene and has resulted in a new National Executive Committee with a new Secretary General, a new National Treasurer, a new National Legal Adviser, etc. In other words, the purported election changed the status quo ante, and it is therefore a violation of a valid court order.
“Secondly, in obedience to the status quocourt order, none of the other candidates was present or participated in the purported election. Yet, Chief Joseph Omene“allocated” votes to some of them.
“Thirdly, an election held in the home of one of the candidates cannot be free and fair, especially when the other candidates are absent. Moreover, Chief Joseph Omene unilaterally decided to hold the purported election on Friday,December 2, 2016, as against the time-honored tradition in UPU to hold the election during the Annual National Congress at the Urhobo Center/House, which should have been on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

“Fourthly, Chief Joseph Omene’s behavior and actions have portrayed the Urhobo nation in a very bad light and has made us a laughing-stock. To paraphrase Shakespeare, people are asking “Is this Urhobo indeed, and room enough”? We deserve a better leader, not a “jaguda”.
“Fifthly, only three of the five members of the Electoral Committee were present during the purported election. These are the three members he single-handedly appointed. There are also issues with the so-called delegates that purportedly voted. If Chief Joseph Omene had any sense of decency, respect for Urhobo people and democratic norms, he should have waited until the status quocourt order was lifted and a legitimate Electoral Committee reconstituted before holding the election.”
In view of the above, members of UPUA said they are in full support of the Notice of Disclaimer of the purported election issued by representatives of the Urhobo Council of Traditional Rulers, Presidents-General of the 24 Urhobo Kingdoms, EwheyaR’Urhobo, IghelleR’Urhobo, Urhobo Historical Society and Urhobo Social Club.
They consequently called on Omene and his followers to disband immediately and spare the Urhobo people the agony of another legal tussle over UPU leadership.
The group advised that an independent body should be appointed by the Council of Traditional Rulers and PGs of the 24 Urhobo Kingdoms should conduct fresh election after the status quo order issued by the Court is lifted.

DETAIL STATEMENT BELOW:

A DISCLAIMER OF THE SHAM UPU ELECTION CONDUCTED BY CHIEF JOSEPH OMENE ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2016 AT HIS HOME IN MOSOGAR
December 16, 2016
Background: The Urhobo Progress Union America (UPUA) is a nonprofit and nonpolitical umbrella organization of Urhobo sons and daughters who reside in the United States of America and Canada. UPUA is a branch of UPU Worldwide, the umbrella organization of Urhobo people in Delta State, Nigeria. On November 24, 2016 we issued a Communiqué in which we expressed our support for the Reconciliation Committee led by Major-General Obada (rtd) and the decision to hold a free and fair election to usher in a new President General(PG) with the desirable qualities of a good and effective leader. We also endorsed Olorogun Moses Taiga as the best candidate for the position of a new President-General based on an evaluation of all the candidates vying for the position and his unique qualities. In addition, we appealed to all Urhobo kings, the Presidents-General of the 24 Urhobo kingdoms, the Presidents of all UPU branches, all the delegates to the UPU Congress, women leaders and youth to unanimously adopt Olorogun Moses Taiga as a consensus candidate for the position of PG of UPU. We also appealed to all stakeholders to refrain from any action that will be inimical to a peaceful election.
However, due to an insulting letter and clandestine actions by Chief Joseph Omene to subvert and “steal” the election, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Major-General Obada (rtd), and the other “independent” member of the Committee were forced to resign on November 30, 2016, a few days to the Annual Congress scheduled for December 3, 2016. Concerned that the election will be rigged and chaotic due to the behavior and actions of Chief Joseph Omenewho has only recently boasted that he is a lion and a “jaguda” (i.e. a crook, a miscreant, trouble-maker, “area boy”), some Urhobo leaders including one of the candidates went to Court to stop Chief Joseph Omene from holding the election he had unilaterally scheduled for Friday, December 2, 2016, a day before the Annual Congress. The Court issued a status quo order to prevent any of the parties involved in the dispute, including Chief Joseph Omene, from taking any action until the matter before the court was resolved. The essence of the order was to prevent harm to any of the disputing parties and/or preserve the existing conditions, so that any of the parties’ position is not prejudiced until a resolution of the case is reached. In effect, a status quoorder is akin to a restraining order. In order to enforce the order, the local police sealed off the UPU Center at Uvwiamughe on Friday, December 2, 2016 to prevent any activity, including the election planned by Chief Joseph Omene, from taking place and to avoid a breach of peace. Rather than respecting the court order and the law enforcement agencies, Chief JosephOmene and a small band of his followers secretly moved tohis home in Mosogar where he purportedly organized a sham election and announced himself the winner.
Resolution: Like the vast majority of UPU stakeholders, we are appalled by the actions and behavior of Chief Joseph Omene. Therefore, we wish to state unequivocally that as a branch of UPU, we condemn the actions of Chief Joseph Omene and totally reject the election he purportedly conducted on Friday, December 2, 2016 in his home in Mosogar. In our view, the election is illegal, immoral, crude, undemocratic and contravenes organizational norms including those of UPU. We reject the purported election for various reasons, including the following:

Firstly, by going ahead to organize the sham election, Chief Joseph Omene essentially disobeyed the “status quo” order of the Court because an election is an action that changes the “status quo ante”. For instance, the purported election presumablyextended the tenure of Chief Joseph Omene and has resulted in a new National Executive Committee with a new Secretary General, a new National Treasurer, a new National Legal Adviser, etc. In other words, the purported election changed the status quo ante, and it is therefore a violation of a valid court order.

Secondly, in obedience to the status quocourt order, none of the other candidates was present or participated in the purported election. Yet, Chief Joseph Omene“allocated” votes to some of them.

Thirdly, an election held in the home of one of the candidates cannot be free and fair, especially when the other candidates are absent. Moreover, Chief Joseph Omene unilaterally decided to hold the purported election on Friday,December 2, 2016, as against the time-honored tradition in UPU to hold the election during the Annual National Congress at the Urhobo Center/House, which should have been on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

Fourthly, Chief Joseph Omene’sbehavior and actions have portrayed the Urhobo nation in a very bad light and has made us a laughing-stock. To paraphrase Shakespeare, people are asking “Is this Urhobo indeed, and room enough”? We deserve a better leader, not a “jaguda”.

Fifthly, only three of the five members of the Electoral Committee were present during the purported election. These are the three members he single-handedly appointed. There are also issues with the so-called delegates that purportedly voted. If Chief Joseph Omene had any sense of decency, respect for Urhobo people and democratic norms, he should have waited until the status quocourt order was lifted and a legitimate Electoral Committee reconstituted before holding the election.
.
In view of the above, we fully support the Notice of Disclaimer of the purported election issued by representatives of the Urhobo Council of Traditional Rulers, Presidents-General of the 24 Urhobo Kingdoms, EwheyaR’Urhobo, IghelleR’Urhobo, Urhobo Historical Society and Urhobo Social Club. We therefore call on Chief Joseph Omene and his followers todisband immediately and spare the Urhobo people the agony of another legal tussle over UPU leadership. Not again!At a minimum, an independent body appointed by the Council of Traditional Rulers and PGs of the 24 Urhobo Kingdoms should conduct fresh election after the status quo order issued by the Court is lifted.

Signed by:
UPUA BOT Members
? Mrs. Grace Ophori, Chair BOT & President, Urhobo Association (UA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
? Dr. Michael Ukwade, President, UPUA, and Head of UPUA’s Executive Committee
? Ms. Fanti Riebelle, President, Urhobo Progress Union, Southern California (UPUSC).
? Mr. Godwin Okoro, President Urhobo Progress Union, Northern California (UPUNC)
? Mr. Cletus Akatugba, President, Urhobo Progressive Association (UPA), Houston
? Mr. Michael Okwata, President, Urhobo Progress Union Chicagoland (UPUC)
? Mr. Morris Egon, President, Waado Progressive Union of Great Kansas City
? Mr. Godwin Adun, President, Urhobo Association of Arizona (UAA)
? Mr. John Asamaigor, President, Urhobo Association of Georgia (UAG)
? Mr. Robinson Ukavwe, President, Urhobo Progress Union, Michigan
? Mrs. Claudia Achoja, President, Urhobo Progress Union Delaware Valley (UPUDV)
? Mr. Sam Ogaga, President, Urhobo Association of Middle Tennessee (UAMT)
? Mr. Felix Eruotor, President, Urhobo Progressive Union of Minnesota
? Dr. Duke Okoro, President, Urhobo Progress Union Calgary
? Mr. OgheneroIrorobeje, Urhobo Progress Union, Las Vegas

UPUA Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) Members
Chris Israel Uvieghara, Esq. (SPC Chairman) Dr. EmmnanuelOjameruaye (SPC Secretary)
Dr. Michael Ukwade (UPUA President) Mrs. Grace Ophori (UPUA BOT Chair)
Mr. Monday Anigboro (SPC Member) Dr. Augustine Atiyota (SPC Member)
Major Cletus Obahor, rtd. (SPC Member) Rev. (Dr.) Raymond Ogbemure (SPC Member)
Dr. Johnson Ojo (SPC Member) Dr. Cameroon Whiteru (SPC Member)
Olorogun/Prof. Duke Ophori (SPC Member)

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  1. The likes of Mariere, Salubi, Urhobo and Mowoe must be spinning in their graves. They must be screaming “No ooo!!! This is not the way it’s done. This is not the UPU we led…” So what went wrong and since when? Has the once vibrant UPU been kidnapped by area boys? How much is the ransom money and who is paying? What are other prominent Urhobos doing about this nightmare? Have they also joined the Area Fatherrr? This is absolute tower of babel…

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