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Published On: Sun, Jun 8th, 2014

Goodbye the People’s General, Welcome Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege

Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege

By Onajie Ese
LAGOS JUNE 8TH (URHOBOTODAY)-It is only a true friend that can tell you the truth straight to your face, while the sycophants tells you what they believe is music to your eyes. It is a known fact that Great Ovedje Ogboru has contested the governorship position in Delta state four consecutive times. On every occasion he has been falsely encouraged to run by the media especially the Urhobo columnists. Had he been told the honest truth that he can’t win, perhaps the Peoples’s General’ would have let go long ago and save the Urhobo nation the pains his ambition to be governor of Delta state has caused.

Chief Great Ogboru

But no, we refused to do what is right because we all suffer from the group think syndrome that in all the elections that he had contested, he won all of them, but was denied by the rigging machinery of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But it seems we have finally come to the end of the road, where we have to be very blunt in telling Ogboru, the man we love, that it is time to quit.
Ogboru has the constitutional right to seek for the number one spot of Delta state again and again. And if he decides to do so in 2015 he will still get the support of many Urhobos and non Urhobos. What is however sure from the crystal ball is no matter what the level of support he gets, he can never close deal to enable him mount the saddle of leadership. Four times he has contested and four times he has failed to enter Osadebey House and yet some people are still saying emotionally and enthusiastically that we should follow to what will surely be a dead end.
Enough of these over whelming emotions. Now is the time to be strategic.
What can be more glaring to us to know that it is time to move on than the recent Supreme Court judgement against Ogboru. Instead of securing the keys to Osadebey House as most of his supporters have hoped for, Ogboru’s lawyer was slammed by a heavy fine of N8 million for what the court termed resurrecting a dead case and wasting it’s precious time?
What it simply means is that Ogboru has been fighting a lost battle all along without knowing it was over. The court judgment is not only a slap on Ogboru’s face, but a huge embarrassment to all his supporters especially to the Urhobo nation because the very garment which Ogboru adorn that made other masquerade scare in dance floor has in the most fearful places been stripped off him and torn to shreds. What a pain and sad turn of events for man the Urhobo people has invested so much on for over a decade. I truly wish we had all seen the handwriting on the wall earlier. But if we still haven’t seen it, I will make it a duty to read it out clearly, just as Daniel did in the days of old. It is all over.
The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), has always thrown their elephant weight behind Ogboru financially and morally. The support gotten by Ogboru from the UPU is what made some section of the media to demonise Ovie Omo-Agege who most people erroneously felt betrayed the Urhobo cause by contesting on another platform instead of supporting the general choice.

For too long the Urhobo media orchestrated a campaign of lies against this patroitic Urhobo son who has done so much quietly for his people in ways that matter most. Sadly while the pen pushers ravaged his credentials and personality, he did nothing to correct the misconceptions, thanks to his uncaring concern towards the power of the media.
Thankfully enough, those of us who were misled by his political enemies to develop ill feelings towards him have now come to realise in the past few months that never has Ovie Omo-Agege betrayed the Urhobo cause.
He is perhaps the only politician who has been consistent in responding to wishes of the Urhobo people as demonstrated in his hitherto strong opposition to Governor Uduaghan in his first term. All these he did at a huge personal cost and sacrifice without any recognition and appreciated by the very people he was fighting for, all because of our unconditional love for Ogboru.
No doubt Ogboru has etched his name in our hearts; he has fought the good fight of faith and carved his name on the ever bright sky where no man can reach to clean, and it is on this note that I on behalf of over millions of Urhobo people who have consistently supported his ambition decided to thank him for his services as captain of the team and tell him today to hang his boot and pass on the armband to another Urhobo son.
We are proud of the history we share with him and the rare privilege that during our lifetime, we saw and dined with a man who dared to fight the system and refused to be compromised. We can boldly beat our chest when we discuss in the comity of tribes that an Urhobo man, Chief Great Ogboru, stood firm on the side of the people and never sold his soul to the devil for money, but what we will never be proud of in years to come is the notion that we knowingly persevere in political failure in our blind support for one man to the detriment of our collective interest.
I do not expect to go home with a straight face without serious bashing from Ogboru’s die hard loyalists, who will always use the Abraham Lincolns story whom they claim lost many elections before he won the presidency of the United States of America. Let’s face facts and realisms; and not allow sentiments becloud our sense of judgment. It is true that Lincoln did fail in many elections, but what we always forget is that he didn’t fail all through the times he contested, as he won elections into the Senate and other political positions, before finally becoming the President. Ogboru has never contested any political position and won and thus equating him with Lincoln will be doing grave injustice to the man who is arguably one of the best American president.
The reality today is that Ogboru has outlived his political usefulness and we cannot afford to be dragged down with him again. That is the bitter truth we have refused to acknowledge all along and for that, the Urhobo nation paid a heavy price.
Accept it or not; crucify me and call for my head; but the truth must be told that the face of Ogboru is the face of Urhobo and while we may love to blame others for our present political woes, Urhobo should remember that we can only reap from where we sow. For too long we have sown on small fields which have yielded little or no harvest. Urhobo is too big a nation to continue to fish in ponds and expect huge catch. How long shall we continue to be in just not an opposition party, but one that has been strangled to death? The process of moving to the mainstream of Nigerian politics which began in last year’s senatorial bye election must continue and I salute UPU for its courage in the Uvwiamuge declaration that all Urhobo candidates for the 2015 gubernatorial election should contest under the two majority parties in Nigeria.
In light of the fatal blow Ogboru got from the Supreme Court it is time for Urhobo to look beyond Ogboru and invest it’s huge political capital on someone else. I therefore appeal to all Ogboru’s supporter to join me in telling the People’s General truthfully that the time has come to hand over the baton of political change to another Urhobo person. We have suffered enough and if the ‘Peoples General’ truly love Urhobo; he should without any hesitation tell his teeming fans that he is not running for governor in 2015.
It is never the end for Ogboru should he brace up to the challenge of joining hands with another UPU backed candidate, as there are other political offices he can seek such as the senate. Should an Urhobo man ascend the Dennis Osadebey throne he can even been appointed to an office of huge responsibility at the federal level. Honestly, Ogboru has nothing to lose by coming to the podium and in his usual charismatic way tell the world how much he loves Delta State and Urhobo, and for the sake of her political future; he’s bidding goodbye to 2015 gubernatorial ambition. This will make him an enduring statesman who will forever be worshipped in Urhoboland and beyond; and become a history reference point in politics.
We hate to see him go, but for the love we all have for our dear ourselves, the Urhobo can no longer mortgage the future of our unborn generations who will ask questions in years to come where we were when Urhobo lost her place in the national space for sixteen years. Every defence has been made for Ogboru both in private and public gatherings on why he has always lost the election, but today, that defence is no more tenable in the light of the Supreme Court ruling. Let’s thank Ogboru for his efforts and move on quickly as time is fast running out for the task ahead. We should be brave enough to tell Ogboru in no uncertain terms how much we would have loved to support him once more, but have to look beyond the dreams of one man for the good of the entire Urhobo people.
I do not remember any written creed in Urhobo history that says Ogboru must be the Alpha and Omega in Urhobo political destiny and even if it were written; a time has come for us to break such and start afresh. But if Urhobo decides to stick with Ogboru again in the 2015 election; you can be sure that the next eight years will be worse that the last ones. Not even my humble self will be proud to identify myself as an Urhobo man, knowing that my people were so un strategic to continue to support a man who can never win the governorship election. I refuse to be fooled again, having supported him all through the years.

As the search a new selfless hero who will take Urhobo back to political relevance begins, we need not search too long because we have Ovie Omo-Agege whom we have always overlooked but has proved to be one who is ready to carry on the mantle of leadership. With him we can beat our chest that 2015 will not pass us by. As a man who wakes up ready for battle; he has heeded the calls made by most of us since the Uvwiamuge declaration that a strong Urhobo candidate should enter the race.
Last week he finally began his open consultation on the Delta State gubernatorial race for 2015. Omo-Agege is ready to do us proud and as we bid goodbye to Great Ovedje Ogboru gubernatorial ambition; I urge Delta State, especially the Urhobos to look towards this North Star of ours. Omo-Agege is a man whom we have always crucified, but have finally realized that while political lepers fed on our common heritage; he chose to fight with the oppressors at the gate.
As one who has followed and wrote on Nigeria and Delta politics for years and has criticized almost all politicians, including him; I make bold to say that he will be best suited to harness the support we have all given Ogboru in the past and deliver success. He is also one man in Urhobo land today who has the capacity to get the job done for the People’s Democratic Party in a way that will gladden the heart of President Goodluck Jonathan by delivering to the PDP in the presidential election the votes that will deny All People’s Congress (APC) the 25 percent they so desperately need in Delta state.
Can we now say goodbye to Great Ovedje Ogboru and welcome to the scene Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege? It is hoped that even the ‘Peoples General” will be ready to partner with him as his chosen one so that Urhobo can finally produce the People’s Governor, for “power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare!” (Fyoder Dostoevsky).

Onajite Ese is an Urhobo Columnist

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