UPU Crisis: Omene Threatens to Drag Urhobo Monarchs, Others to Court Over ‘Ostracism’
LAGOS DECEMBER 20TH (URHOBOTODAY)- Crisis plaguing Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) is getting worst daily as controversial President-General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Chief Joe Omene has threatened to drag HRH R. Layeguen Ogbon-Oghoro 1, the Owhorode of Olomu Kingdom and those he described as co-travellers of the Monarch to court over alleged damaging publication bordering on imposition of sanction and ‘ostracism’.
It would be recalled that in view of the election purportedly organized by Chief Joe Omene in his house wherein he and other were reportedly elected as Executive member of UPU, Urhobo traditional councils and Urhobo leaders who felt disappointed over the gross misconduct and multiple violation of Urhobo tradition and value by Omene and his group decided to ostracised them from Urhobo events and activities.
A statement signed by Chief Joe Omene, Ahweyevu and Chief Duncan Eghweree made available to Urhobotoday said, “Considering the very weighty and damaging
nature of the unfounded allegations against the person of Chief Joe Omene,
JP, PG of the UPU and the defamation contained therein and the unilateral
imposition of the unlawful sanction of “ostracism” without any legal
foundation, the imputation and threats of bodily harm and injury in the
enforcement of the said ostracism which can only be criminal, Chief Joe O.
Omene JP and UPU President General and other members of the NEC listed in
the offending publication of the Urhobo Voice do hereby give a seven days
ultimatum to HRH R. Layeguen Ogbon Oghoro 1, Owhorode of Olomu and his
group to publish a conspicuous retraction in the Urhobo Voice and in
default, the affected persons shall take necessary legal action to preserve
their names, their lives and other fundamental Rights.
“In the said publication under review, HRH “Layeguen” Ogbon-Oghoro 1 and his cohorts called Chief Joe O. Omene JP, the PG of UPU and the NEC members unprinted names. They have by those words abused the entire NEC, accused them of unspecified customary wrongdoings without affording them any opportunities of being heard, they were both accusers, prosecutors and judges at the same time and consequently “found them guilty” and purported to impose punishment in breach of the universally accepted right to fair hearing. All these they did in the said publication without telling Urhobo people how Chief Joe O. Omene, JP and his NEC breached the UPU Constitution or offended the Urhobo Nation.”
READ DETAIL OF PRESS STATEMENT BELOW
*A REJOINDER TO THE DEELIBERATE MISINFORMATION AND REGRETABLE INCITMENT OF
URHOBO NATION AGAINST THE NEWLY ELECTED NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE
URHOBO PROGRESS UNION BY H.R.H. “LAYEGUEN” OGBON OGONI-OGHORO 1, THE
OHWORODE OF OLOMU KINGDOM AND OTHERS*
1. *Publication of falsehood. *The attention of Chief Joe O. Omene, JP, President-General of Urhobo Progress Union and the entire National Executive Council has been drawn to a paid advertisement published in the Urhobo Voice of December 19, 2016 at page 9 thereof wherein HRH R. Layeguen
Ogbon-Oghoro 1, the Ohworode of Olomu, Dr. Peter Obakponovwe and five other persons who are not known to be card carrying members of UPU desperately tried to turn the facts and Constitution of the Urhobo Progress Union on their heads and verily purported to exercise a non – existent power to
“ostracize” members of the National Executive Council in breach of the extant Constitution of the UPU 2005 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
2. We wish to state hereunder that all the facts and attempts to twist the Constitutional history of the UPU by the “Layeguen”, Ohworode of Olomu and others who ought to know better, including a fabled professor of history, Professor Peter Ekeh, is most regrettable. To leave such critical
errors unchallenged is to encourage intellectual immorality; hence the need to set the facts aright as the “Layeguen” Ogbon-Oghoro 1, Owhorode cannot feign ignorance of the Constitution of the UPU and advance his messianic agenda as the “Ovie of Urhobo Land” by sponsoring falsehood.
3. *Existing Court Cases. *It is noteworthy and curious that the “Layeguen” Ohworode of Olomu and his first protégée, Dr. Peter Obakponovbe made no reference to Suits No. W/430/2016 and EHC/287/2016 pending at High Court Warri and Effurun in which he is the 3rd and 1st claimant respectively and their failed attempt up to 1-12-2016 to use the courts to scuttle the UPU Annual Congress and Elections slated for 2-12-2016. They said nothing about the curious but well organized armed thugs and hooligans who took over the designated venue of the election at Uvwiamuge, prevented the elections thereat, sealed off the Okere Road office and made the election at Mosogar inevitable. They did not say that Chief Joe O. Omene and those elected at the Annual Congress held on 2-12-2016 at Mosogar breached any of the provisions of the UPU Constitution. They did not condemn the disruption and seizure of the Uvwiamuge and Okere Road offices of the UPU on 2-12-2016 and are not joining us in the search to bring the perpetrators to book; may be, they approve of it or counseled it, but the truth will surface sooner than later.
4. *Venue of Annual Congress: *The Owhorode of Olumu and company hid the fact that the Constitution of the UPU in Article 8 (i) (a) gives the power to fix the venue of the Annual Congress to the NEC and such venue can be changed under the doctrine of necessity at the instance of the NEC. They
suppressed the fact that during the presidency of Late Chief B.O. Okumagba with Chief V.E. Otomewo as secretary, when the P.T.I. Conference Centre which was designated for the Annual Congress was frustrated, the NEC relocated to another venue. On another occasion, elections were held at Idama Hotels which was the home and office of the then President-General, Late Chief B.O. Okumagba JP who later became HRH, the Orosuen of Okere. The elections held then were valid. Where were the Owhorode of Olomu and Dr. Peter Obakponovwe when these happened? Consistent with his disruptive
disposition, Dr. Peter Obakponovwe at a time during the presidency of Late Chief B.O. Okumagba JP, in his shrewd and crude attempt to undercut our revered past President General, Late Olorogun Felix Ibru organized a rebellious election at Orerokpe while the genuine election went on at PTI Conference.
5. In the said publication under review, HRH “Layeguen” Ogbon-Oghoro 1 and his cohorts called Chief Joe O. Omene JP, the PG of UPU and the NEC members unprinted names. They have by those words abused the entire NEC, accused them of unspecified customary wrongdoings without affording them
any opportunities of being heard, they were both accusers, prosecutors and judges at the same time and consequently “found them guilty” and purported to impose punishment in breach of the universally accepted right to fair hearing. All these they did in the said publication without telling Urhobo people how Chief Joe O. Omene, JP and his NEC breached the UPU Constitution or offended the Urhobo Nation.
6. The President General and his NEC consider the entire publication libelous, callous, malicious, an act of intimidation and the threat to the lives and limbs of the President General and NEC of the UPU; and a breach of their fundamental human rights. Given the spate of unresolved murders, muggings, hired assassinations, kidnappers and robberies; we cannot underestimate the capacity of the Owhorode of Olomu and his gang to unleash mayhem and physical injury on NEC members. His threat is being taken seriously and will be legally reacted to in due time. But let the Owhorode of Olomu, his co-travellers and their strike force of enforcement of his unconstitutional sanctions know that should Chief Joe O. Omene, JP, PG of UPU or any member of NEC of UPU as presently constituted after the election of 2-12-2016 come to any harm, injury, arson, assassination, arranged robbery or the like, he and his group are suspects No. 1. The police and other security agencies shall be duly notified of the murderous intention
of the Owhorode of Olomu and his fellow travelers to restrict the movement of the National Executive Council members by means which can only be criminal.
7. Chief Joe Omene JP, is the present President General of the UPU, he is not a former President General as mischievously alluded to in the said publication. Let the Owhorode of Olomu and Dr. Peter Obakponovwe pursue their cases in the High Courts and refrain from preempting their outcome, that is what due process and rule of law require of them. Chief Joe O. Omene validly became acting President-General and later President-General of UPU pursuant to Article 9 (c) and Article 10 (b) of the Constitution of the UPU 2005 as the Ohworode and his cohorts should know that he came in through a lawful front door. Chief Joe O. Omene JP is not in any way the worst President General of the UPU as libelously published, he is in fact a most active President General of the UPU who brought renown and activist glamour to the office of President General of UPU such that it is now sufficiently attractive for those who failed in court to attempt to stop the election of 2 – 12 – 2016 and to be indifferent to the criminal disruption of the Annual Congress on 2 – 12 –2016 hoping to scuttle it. Why now cry to heaven over the lawful relocation of the venue to Mosogar in exercise of the constitutional powers of the
National Executive Council of the UPU?
8. *Alleged N1.2 billion. *The alleged scandal over N1.2 billion was the subject of arbitration before the Owhorode of Olomu and other interest groups in Urhoboland who returned a verdict that the accusation was a rumour as confirmed by one of the accusers Chief Austin Uloho, a former 3rd
President General (who stated inter alia “Eye eta re aphopho”). On the basis of the said admission, those who gathered to settle the matter then directed the NEC to go and work together under Chief Joe O. Omene as President General until the end of their tenure in December 2016. Now that they are raising this same issue afresh, it is their own allegation, they cannot therefore rely on what others alleged in the past which they found to be baseless. This time, they must prove the allegation of who gave N1.2b
to Chief Joe O. Omene or retract it with convincing apologies.
9. *Alleged snubbing of Urhobo monarchs. *Chief Joe O. Omene, JP, the PG of UPU has never snubbed Urhobo monarchs contrary to the assertion in the said publication. It is the Owhorode of Olomu and his group that want to unreasonably lord it over him against the constitution of the UPU, a feat they attempted to do during the presidency of late Chief B. O. Okumagba but failed. It is on record that when Chief B. O. Okumagba was the President General of UPU, all the kings of Urhoboland went to Idama Hotel to hold several meetings, the same thing occurred under late Olorogun Felix Ibru. As recent as the tenure of Late Gen. Patrick Aziza, the Urhobo kings held meetings with him at his house at Adagbrassa. Since Chief Joe Omene became President General, in legendary humility, he always met with the kings of Urhoboland first at the Palace of the Ovie of Ughelli and lately at the palace of the Ohworode of Olomu. He has never for once summoned the traditional rulers of Urhoboland to his house for any meetings as was practice with his predecessors. Has this respectful gesture by Chief Joe O. Omene turned to his albatross? It is wicked, callous and malicious for those concerned to have made this unfounded allegation in the said publication.
10. *On Osu r. Urhobo: *The title is elective but outside the Constitution of the UPU, it is an adopted alias, that is what those Urhobo people in Lagos choose to call their leader. It was not created by Chief Joe O. Omene as President General of UPU. Recently, Urhobo people in Bayelsa State appointed for themselves an OSU of Urhobo, Chief Joe O. Omene was not there. Such adopted titles as Eze Ndi Igbo and Sareki used by the Igbos and Hausas outside their home bases do not derogate from the kings in
their home communities. The word “Osu” in Urhobo means leader, it is not a traditional stool. Urhobo people in diaspora are entitled to a leader with the appellation of Osu r’ Urhobo, which is usually outside Urhoboland. There can never be an Osu r’ Urhobo within any kingdom in Urhoboland.
11. *Ultimatum to HRH R. Layeguen Ogbon-Oghoro 1, the Owhorode of Olomu Kingdom and his co-travellers. *Considering the very weighty and damaging nature of the unfounded allegations against the person of Chief Joe Omene, JP, PG of the UPU and the defamation contained therein and the unilateral
imposition of the unlawful sanction of “ostracism” without any legal foundation, the imputation and threats of bodily harm and injury in the enforcement of the said ostracism which can only be criminal, Chief Joe O. Omene JP and UPU President General and other members of the NEC listed in the offending publication of the Urhobo Voice do hereby give a seven days ultimatum to HRH R. Layeguen Ogbon Oghoro 1, Owhorode of Olomu and his group to publish a conspicuous retraction in the Urhobo Voice and in default, the affected persons shall take necessary legal action to preserve their names, their lives and other fundamental Rights.
Signed on behalf of the National Executive Council of the Urhobo Progress
1. Chief (Egnr.) Joe Orode Omene, JP
2. M. Ahweyevu Mukoro Esq., LL.M.
3. Chief Duncan Eghweree
(National Publicity Secretary UPU)