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Published On: Tue, Aug 5th, 2014

Annabel Ogheneganre: An Opportunistic Urhobo Columnist

By Mudiaga Okagbare
One was confronted by two options after a perusal of ”PDP 2015: The moment of decision” by Annabel Ogheneganre in The Urhobo Voice of August 4, 2014. One of the options was to ignore the contribution and dismiss it as the work of an opportunist who swings whichever way she thinks she could get favour just in case things work out well according to her reckoning. The other option was to respond to put things in correct focus and guide our people for now and the future.
I used to be a reader of Annabel Ogheneganre until I discovered the opportunism inherent in her journalism which is not founded on principles or professionalism. When she began her column two years or so ago some people were carried away thinking she was a patriot driven by principles and the overall interest of the Urhobo people, but halfway into her journalistic adventure many Urhobo people now know that she is not the kind of altruistic columnist and opinion moulder whose views or judgement they can rely upon.
Annabel Ogheneganre caught peoples’ attention by flying on the wings of scathing criticism of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), the incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and some other notable personalities of the PDP in the state. To secure a place in the heart of the people she sang the praises of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru to high heavens as the messiah that Delta State and Urhobo needed. There was no good thing she didn’t say about Ogboru. Later on she added the late Senator Pius Ewherido to her list of those to be adored. When both men fell apart she was confused and did not know what to do. In her dilemma, she veiled her opportunism with a lament calling on the Urhobo political class to reconcile both men. Meanwhile she vilified the Urhobo PDP bigwigs.
After the death of Ewherido and the bye-election was in the offing our columnist didn’t know which way the pendulum will swing. Her writing became confused devoid of the strong submissions she had made earlier. Her oracle told her nothing. After the election she began singing the praises of the winner, but not without denigrating the other contestants. Soon our columnist shifted her paper loyalty to a new darling, somebody she had spent so much energy denigrating and painting as evil. She even went on to crown him the Urhobo political man of the year 2013. What then happened to her stance which made her to castigate her new darling for so long?. It only means that our columnist has a price. In her thinking she thought that Chief Great Ogboru was finished politically and in many of her pieces she made a case frantically for her new darling as the only Urhobo political figure who could become governor. Sadly, what we have seen of Annabel is that our duty to Urhobo should be influenced by what we can get personally or by where we think we can be accommodated as soon as we see signs that something good is coming to that corner no matter how terrible we had abused those manning the corner. This is very unprofessional, unpatriotic and dishonourable. People should live by principles not by what comes to their pockets.
Annabel Ogheneganre has abused her privilege as a columnist and many people no longer take her seriously. A reputable columnist should not succumb to inducement only then can he or she
continue to say the truth and remain a true barometer for the people’s social, economic and political being. When a columnist puts his or her column at the disposal of money or any other material benefit such a columnist makes a mockery of his or her position and views.
In the said publication which provoked this response Annabel Ogheneganre carried out what she thinks is an analysis of six governorship aspirants who are Urhobos. She without caution wrote off five and endorsed one based on certain nebulous criteria that are untenable. She deliberately played up some factors she concocted in her imagination and tried to put down five of the aspirants whom she
feels cannot be governor. One is particularly surprised at her submission on Chief David Edevbie whom she dismissed as being considered ‘elitist’ and having no ”experience in politics of his ward, local government and Delta State”. This is a ridiculous comment. Anyone who has actually met him will attest to the fact that Edevbie’s is far from elitist and his aspiration has been well received with enthusiasm in his ward, local government and indeed the entire state. She also says that Edevbie may not be acceptable to Aso Rock on account of his role ”during the days of Yar’ Adua against the then Vice President Jonathan”.
This sounds like a beer parlour gossip without an iota of fact. The truth is that the presidency as represented by President Jonathan has a lot of regard for Edevbie because of what he contributed to the making of the presidency. Edevbie continues to enjoy a very warm relationship with the President having been an influential member of the campaign team that brought him and Yaradua into office in the first place and having worked closely with him for over three years thereafter. If Annabel Ogheneganre wants to be educated on the Yar’ Adua and Jonathan issue she should read Segun Adeniyi’s book Politics, Power and Death and she will see that Edevbie never did anything bad or untoward while he served in the presidency.
Many states will yearn to have David Edevbie as governor because of his pedigree which involves his integrity, national and international connection which will bring investors to Delta and create employment for our people and accelerate development. His aspiration has been well received among Deltans. His interest in the governorship race has brought hope for greatness. He sure knows how to take Delta State to the league of developed entities.
Mudiaga Okagbare wrote from Warri.

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