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Published On: Fri, May 31st, 2013

Ogboru, His First 11 and His Judas

Chief Great Ovadje Ogboru, the dugged fighter

By Brisibe Perez
To the average Deltan, the name Ogboru reverberates lost elections against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Right from the administration of Chief James Ibori, former governor of Delta State to his cousin and current Governor of the State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Chief Great Ovadje Ogboru, born on the 10th day of April 1958 in Port Harcourt into the famous Ogboru Dynasty of Abraka and the Okolocha family of Umukuata both of Delta State has been out on the polls, doing battle to govern the State but consistently has failed to achieve his aim, yet, like former President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, he remains resolute in his resolve to govern the State, owing to his support and popularity amongst the people as a result of which he was nick-named, “The People’s General.”
A businessman and an entrepreneur, Chief Ogboru went on self-exile to the United Kingdom on 23rd April, 1990 following an allegation of sponsoring the Orkar revolutionary putsch (This allegation was later dropped in 1999 by the government of General Abdulsalam Abubakar). On 30th June, 2000, he came back with a bang and was welcomed by the then Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori in a “lost son” carnival-like celebration.
In his resolve towards bolstering the living condition of his people as an unapologetically democrat, he decided to contest for the State number one position against the then incumbent Governor James Ibori on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and subsequently, the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) of which he was a founding member. Unfortunately, he failed in spite of his popularity, he lost to a higher political manoeuvring though he claims that he won the elections.
Despite several defeats at the poll, the 2011 general election was a turning point for Chief Ogboru and the DPP, as the party proved a point in the political scheme of things in Delta State against all odds. The party won seats in the State House of Assembly, the House of Representative, the Senate and almost edged the ruling PDP led government in the State, out of power, no thanks to the “Ogboru” factor which literarily all the successful candidates (Apostles) used in becoming victorious at the polls.
The first Apostle to kiss him on the cheek in betrayal was Hon. Efe Ofobruku of the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA) representing Uvwie Constituency. Ofobruku was elected to represent his constituency at the House against his main opponent, Chief Solomon Ighrakpata of the PDP. Though Ighrakpata while addressing newsmen in 2011, had gone to the election petition tribunal to seek redress on what he termed as an “inconclusive election”, nothing was heard of the case. No thanks to Ofobruku’s defecting to the PDP, were he referred to as his “Political Home of Birth”.
Like his dual-tongued politicians, he (Ofobruku) has since started singing the praise of the State Governor, his new found love against the symbol of the party (Ogboru) on whose platform he contested which he now refers to as an “opposition”. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger would say in his movie roles, “I would be back” and that was what the DPP told Ofobruku in reaction to his defecting saying, “DPP remains focused like a laser beam on Uvwie LGA, where Hon. Ofobruku jumped ship. Every turncoat will be made to understand that the DPP as a party will carefully study and activate dormant laws in defense of its basic principles.”
Not far from Uvwie, Hon Julius Okpoko, member representing Okpe Constituency at the State House of Assembly is the Minority Leader of the House. Though, he still pledges his firm resolve on the person of Chief Ogboru, his silence as well as controversy in the media in recent times could be said to have boomeranged on his reserved personality.
A couple of months ago, he was in the midst of a controversy when an NGO indicted him of thwarting their efforts in building a school at Okuijorogu Community in Okpe LGA, owing to the fact that the community didn’t vote for him during the election that brought him into office. An allegation he denied saying, “Such comments are cheap political blackmail.”
Recently, his representation came under scrutiny when constituents under his constituency questioned him on the poor learning condition of students learning in pitiable conditions at the Adeje Grammer School, a supposedly center of learning accommodating students from over twelve communities around Adeje, “I am working out something on that,” he had said.
The member representing Udu Constituency in the DTHA, Hon. Keston Okoro has been much on the news lately. He was recently criticized following a protest by students from his constituency for issuing a dud cheque to beneficiaries of his scholarship programme and empowerment scheme which he initiated.
According to the students, Hon. Keston had made a publication on Page 6 of the Vol. 16 edition of the Urhobo Voice with the caption, “Keston Okoro Releases Two Million Naira for Scholarship, Empowerment”.
“The disbursement of cash to the beneficiaries would commence from last week of January (2013) to the first week of February (2013), adding that beneficiaries will get between N20, 000 and N50, 000 depending on the course of study, cost of tuition and institutions of individual beneficiaries,” the media aide to Hon. Keston, Mr. Justice Iyasere had said in the publication.
Hon. Keston who styles himself as an entertainer, is still one of the devotees of Chief Ogboru, pending the outcome of the political scenario in the State;
Ughelli constituency politically and in the DTHA is one of the strong holds of the DPP, but the legal tussle between the member representing Ughelli Constituency II, Hon. Rufus Edoja Akpodiete and another aspirant of the party, Mr. Jerkins Gwede as to who was the true candidate to fly the party’s flag in the 2011 general election, stirred lots of controversy.
This was followed by utterances by counsel to Hon. Akpodiete that, “Chief Ogboru is the architect of the legal upheavals staring his client in the face.” An allegation Akpodiete refused refuting, when contacted to comment on the matter.
However, the Court of Appeal, Benin Division on Wed, 23rd May 2013 dismissed the Appeal brought by Jenkins Gwede against Hon Akpodiete Edoja.
On his representation in the House, Akpodiete was suspended for a month during the February 5, 2013 sitting of the House, for violating Section 24 of the Legislative Privileges Act and House Rule 68, Paragraph 8. Though, he has been judged as the most vibrant of all the DPP members in the DTHA, the utterances by his counsel, Bar. Peter Wanogho that, “Chief Ogboru is the architect of the legal upheavals staring his client in the face”, an allegation Akpodiete refused refuting when contacted to comment on the matter, may have stirred the hornet’s nest on his future aspirations with the party, as well as membership of the DPP.
In Delta North, this member of the DTHA gave the DPP what seems to be a double betrayal kiss on both cheeks, following his defecting to the PDP, after winning his election. Dr. Ojo Alphonsus representing Ukwuani Constituency like a new bride, packed his belongings and pitched his tent with his new found love, the PDP in a quest for juicy political positions, as reflected in his Chairmanship position of the Committee on Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC).
He was the first of the “DPP runaway decampees” to pay for his act. As a result of his ‘extramarital’ affairs with his new found love, his old flame (DPP) came calling for its pound of flesh; hence, in March this year, he was sacked by a Federal High Court in Asaba for dumping the DPP for the PDP, after winning his election on the platform of the DPP.
According to the presiding judge, Justice Olatoregun Isiola, he held that it was surprising on the part of the third defendant (Hon. Ojo) who claimed that there was serious crisis at the party (DPP), a situation he could not help, rather than to dump it for the PDP.
For Hon Azuka Azaka, member of the DTHA representing Ndokwa West constituency and Minority Leader of the House, much is not heard from him apart from his once in a blue-moon “Empowerment Programme” for his constituents. Early this year, he donated 100 seats and desks to Ugiliamai Development Initiative (UDI), to be used by pupils of Asamala Primary School, Ugiliamai in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of the State. As against his DPP colleagues, he is more or less an unheard voice in the House.
In a self styled publicity of his achievements, especially on his social media pages, Hon. Benjamin Essien Okiemute representing Isoko South I is the Chairman House Committee on Security, Peace, Ethics and Privileges. In a recent publication of The Isoko Mirror, a constituent had questioned his representation stating that, despite his presence at the House, Isoko South I has nothing to show in terms of development.
Hon. Essien born on 1962, contested against former member of the DTHA representing Isoko South constituency I, Mr. Benjamin Efekodho of the PDP.
Another member of the DTHA that got elected on the benevolence of the Chief Ogboru factor is Hon. Joseph Oshevire, representing Ethiope East who, though is either sleepy or active, have extended his munificence to his constituents through his definition of empowerment in terms of giving out of cars and the likes.
Like the rest of his DPP colleagues, he believes in doling out cars to his constituents as a way of what he terms as “Empowerment”.
In the Federal House of Representative, Hon. Austin Ogbaburhon popular referred to as “High Tension”, is the member representing Ughelli North/South and Udu, has not been more on Ogboru’s side in the crisis rocking the DPP. This has come along with criticisms by his constituents for allegedly failing to make good his campaign promises of delivering the dividends of democracy to the people.
Ogbaburhon contested against his major challenger, the then incumbent Hon. Solomon Awhinawhi of the PDP who had been a close friend and confidant of Chief Ogboru from the AD days. In terms of Ogbaburhon’s legislative representation positively or negatively, nothing much has been heard of this Udu born politician.
Senator Akpo Pius Ewherido, Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, is the highest office holder of the DPP. He is rumoured to be interested in contesting the Delta State 2015 governorship position, a decision which was said to have caused a crack in the party.
Prior to the crack in the party, there had been a cold war between Chief Ogboru and Sen. Ewherido in what is termed in the Warri parlance in some quarters as, “Ewherido no loyal”.
In previous times, Ewherido had debunked insinuations in some quarters that he rode on the back of Chief Ogboru to winning his election, he had stated categorically that he worked hard to win his election and didn’t use the publicity of anyone to do so.
In the April 2011 election, he won 102,313 votes, ahead of his close rival, Ighoyota Amori of the PDP who got 85,365 votes.
Ewherido who is currently on suspension from the party for “gross misconduct and anti-party activities” as stated by the party’s Delta State chairman, Chief Tony Ezeagwu, had led a rival faction of the party against the Ezeagwu-led faction, who is the Delta State chairman of the party.
It was gathered that Ewherido is said to be in the 2015 Governorship race and have allegedly been handed over the structures of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State in order to pave way for his ambition in 2015, beating Chief Great Ogboru, who also struggled for the structure of APC.
Like the Judas among the twelve disciples, the development was said to have infuriated Ogboru, who still controls the structures of DPP in the state, a platform Senator Ewherido used to get to the Senate.
With the countdown to the 2015 general election, the die is cast as Deltans are eagerly waiting on the outcome of the DPP crisis in reference to the 2015 election. Who would be the contenders, the losers, the winners and those who would seek solace in the arms of other parties? Only time will tell!
Brisibe Perez is an Ughelli based Journalist

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