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Published On: Thu, Jul 10th, 2014

‘Delta 2015: Why Deltans, Urhobos Should Support Omo-Agege’

(L-R) Obarisi (Barr) 0vie Omo-Agege and Monarch of Emu Kingdom HRM Ezewu Johnson Okpetiemuno

As Deltans and Nigerians in general prepare for2015 general election, United Kingdom based Urhobo legal luminary, Barr. Aruviere Martin Egharhavwa bares his mind on the political and economic backwardness of the Urhobo nation, the likely postulations of the 2015 General Elections and most important the need for the people of Delta State in general and Urhobo people particular to throw their weight behind the successful election of Delta State Governorship aspirant in 2015 election, Obarisi (Barr) Ovie Omo=Agege
Ahead of the next General Election in Delta State, how would you juxtapose the just concluded Ekiti election with previous elections in Delta?
Unlike in the past in Delta State when election results are written well ahead before the elections and court litigation’s running for years, the Ekiti election appears to have opened a new chapter in the Nigerian political sphere. Defeat is bitter but accepting it for the collective good of a State is honourable.
Fayose won the governorship election in Ekiti with a wide margin and beat other contestants in all the 16 local councils of the state. The election has been adjudged as free and fair and in a rare show of sportsmanship, Governor Kayode Fayemi congratulated the Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, following the declaration of his victory by INEC. Governor Fayemi even went further to invite him to the Governor’s office for a meeting to prepare for the transition as Fayemi bows out of office in three months’ time. These are all laudable gestures never seen in Nigerian politics. I believe this is the right way to go.
For too long, elections in Nigeria were considered as a do-or-die affair with losers rejecting the results and heating up the polity. Their utterances often led to post-election violence and loss of life and properties. This happened in parts of northern Nigeria after the 2011 general elections as is still being reflected till date.
But with Governor Fayemi of the APC, conceding defeat just hours after the results were announced; a new chapter seems to have been opened in the Nigerian political sphere and I hope Delta State will take a cue from this so that the next governor will not be distracted from the business of governing.
Do you think INEC would deliver in ensuring credible, free and fair elections in Delta State?
Yes, it is possible. However, with the support of every well meaning Deltan especially the politicians as Prof. Jega’s led INEC cannot do it alone.
We can’t talk of Delta 2015 guber race without the issue of “zoning” as being peddled in some quarters, what’s your take on this viz-a-viz the ethics of democracy?
There was never a time the Governorship was conceded to any Senatorial District in Delta State. Using zoning as a yardstick for campaigning is like speaking in tongues. Let our political aspirants look upon the whole, not the part, let us remember the past and look forward hopefully to the future, let us march forward in solidarity and unity of purpose and together build a Delta State and a Nigeria ever more united, greater and stronger.
The concept of power shift will die natural death if our leaders decide today to be committed to the tenets of good leadership. If we find a good leader we will not ask for power shift. After all Plato said, “Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, dispensing a kind of quality to equals and unequals alike”.
Various ethnic groups including the UPU have been making calls for their subjects emerging as the next Governor of the State; do you see this as them being tribal or ethically bias?
Not at all! We are all Deltans and as such have the right to lay claim to the Governorship position, at the right time, Deltans will elect their Governor.
However, in Delta State today, if we go by Roussea’s postulation that “Democracy without justice is tyranny in civil guise”, then one can only conclude that Urhobo is presently under the yoke of punitive tyranny in Delta State in particular and Nigeria at large.
In the multi-ethnic democracy of Delta State, the geo-political pre-eminence of the Urhobo nation has always been clearly beyond debate. In fact, with an overwhelming landmass and population size spread across the three senatorial districts, the nationality constitutes about half the entire population of Delta State.
In terms of contribution to the common wealth of the state, Urhobo is not only a major producer of oil, but also, by far the greatest gas producer. In fact, during the years of militancy in the riverine areas, petroleum production in Urhobo land was about the sole basis of the state’s derivation revenue. This is in addition to the fact that the pipelines through which crude oil and petroleum products are channeled from the riverine areas to other parts of the country passes through Urhobo land which has resulted in physical deprivation of our people of vast agricultural lands upon which their livelihood depend.
Even the factor of environmental degradation which some riverine ethnic minorities in the state have relied upon to attract compensatory allocation of political concessions and economic resources are far worse in Urhobo land, this is because land pollution is of worse consequences than water pollution which has a shorter span due to oceanic circulation. In addition to this, we have the NNPC refinery and other gas-emitting installations which pollute the air by the day; all located in Urhobo land.
It is against this background of unassailable political and economic credentials, that the Urhobo nation has been reduced to a mere appendage in the commonwealth of Delta State as evidenced by our complete lack of significant representation in the government of the state and at the Federal level. It was former Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Beghin who declared at the height of the six-day Middle East war, that “It is either this war is finished or we are”. For the Urhobo nation in Delta State therefore, either this tyranny is brought to an end or equity has ended in the state.
In the last election, DPP clinched most of the seats in the DTHA and almost ousted the current State Governor. In 2015, do you see the party repeating same or even doing more?
If you call yourself a politician from Delta State, you are either in PDP or APC or the fractured DPP. However, it’s only a blind man that would remain in the present opposition because, they have outlived their usefulness.
To be fair to everybody, DPP was not the party we wanted. But we wanted a strong and vibrant opposition in Delta State for the struggles. Urhobo has been decapitated presently. Ogboru is the luckiest Urhobo man ever whom Urhobo fought for in a period of 13 years without cash.
Today, he is a victim of supporters’ fatigue whilst O’tega Emerhor of the APC lacks the political charisma to pull the opposition forces together. As it is now, the PDP appears to be the most formidable party on ground in Delta State.
One of the aspirants for the Delta State Governorship election on the platform of the PDP is Obarisi (Barr.) Ovie Omo-Agege who is an Urhobo man, how would you appraise his chances of clinching the PDP ticket ahead of 2015?
By the special grace of God, Obarisi (Barr) Ovie Omo-Agege will not only clinch the PDP ticket ahead of the 2015 Gubernatorial election but will be elected as Governor by Deltans and will take over the mantle of leadership from the outgoing administration on the 29th day of May 2015.
Still talking about Omo-Agege, some people in Urhobo have the conception that he is a “Political Betrayal” of Urhobo, owing to his past political stands, as a political spectator, how do you react to this?
When Urhobo voted to go with Great Ovedje Ogboru in 2011, Omo-Agege went into the trenches fighting so terribly to be voted for contrary to the prevailing mood at the time. As a result, many people in the opposition considered him as an agent of destabilisation and as result not useful to the Urhobo cause. I beg to disagree even though I once thought so.
I have now realised how wrong I was. Omo-Agege meant well for the Urhobo nation all along. I came to this conclusion after witnessing firsthand the roles he played in the Senatorial by-election and UPU executive election.
Since then I have come to understand better why he acted the way he did in the past. It is important that Urhobos realise too that right now we have no one else like him to lead us to the battleground of 2015. He is a smart and dogged fighter, with the infrastructural capacity and extensive contacts needed to prosecute our battle plan.
More importantly he has the experience of having contested in a general election before and not just in primaries. No one among those who have indicated interest in the race so far has this invaluable experience in PDP and APC, the two parties which UPU has chosen. Urhobo cannot afford to throw its heavy weight behind a neophyte. We need a candidate who understands the nitty-gritty of winning elections in Nigeria with particular reference to Delta State. Urhobo should therefore do all it can to support Obarisi (Barr) Ovie Omo-Agege as he journeys to the Dennis Osadebey House Asaba.
What is your message for Deltans especially, Deltans from Delta North and South ahead of the next general elections?
Delta State belongs to us all as we are all equal stakeholders. We should shun the politics of ”It’s our turn” to rule and support a credible candidate that can move the State forward in terms of development. Obarisi (Barr.) Ovie Omo-Agege has vowed to create jobs and business opportunities for all Deltans irrespective of where we come from or the language we speak. I urge all Deltans to support him because he is a man of his words who is tested and proven.

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