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Published On: Thu, Apr 24th, 2014

Towards 2015: Giving Ovie Omo-Agege Chance

Obarisi (Barr) Ovie Omo-Agege

By Annabel Ogheneganre
Since the first week of January when I declared Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege as my Man of the Year for 2013 because of his impressive outing on the political turf, opinion has been divided on the propriety or otherwise of my choice. While some may disagree with me, I stand by my position which was driven by my concern for the greater interest of Urhobo in the politics of 2015. If Urhobo is to be successful in achieving its goals in the next general election all hands must be on deck irrespective of the the roles we all had played in the past so long there is now unity of purpose.
It is true that in politics especially in our clime, nothing looks as it appears. Those you consider to be political enemies could be best of friends at night. And those considered to be enemies of the people could well be their best advocate. A good and intelligent politician must learn to study and read the unseen codes in the actions, inactions and utterances of political leaders before taking a position. There are so many unexpressed intentions, goals and innuendoes in political relations. A politician can even arrange to be insulted, derided or arrested just to achieve an end.
Do not be surprise that among those G-5 or G-7 Governors, a couple of them could be Jonathan’s best friends. Let it be understood that not all those who have expressed opposition to Jonathan and have moved to APC are Jonathan’s enemies. Some of Jonathan’s best supporters may have moved into APC, fighting each other on who is Jonathan’s biggest antagonist. But such elements are only playing games that could sway the tide in favour of their benefactor and leader, the President. A Jonathan’s man could even emerge as the APC flag-bearer for the 2015 presidential polls. These are all possibilities because sometimes the more you look the less you see in Nigerian politics.
For Ovie Omo-Agege however it has been a case of misconception about who he really is. Contrary to the general belief, Omo-Agege has been consistent in his commitment to the good of his people. But the same people failed to even realise how much he has sacrificed for them. For too long we have been made to believe by those who are afraid of his political sagacity that he is an enemy within, whom we must reject. As a result we turned our back on him, thereby denying Urhobo a huge political asset that we could have used to our advantage. This must change as I have come to understand lately that Omo-Agege is an Urhobo patriot who genuinely fought for the governorship position in the past. We were misled to believe that he mearnt no good for Urhobo so we denied him support which made him to lose at the polls in 2011. Let’s not make the same mistake in 2015. With our support I believe that he would be a formidable force, capable of puting together a winning coaltion. It is for this reason that I am urging Urhobo nation to give him a chance to play the leading role in our quest to reclaim our leadership role in our state in 2015.
Politics is all about interests which could be regional, ethnic or personal. And for Urhobo ethnic group we must protect our interest and get the best deal for our people in 2015. In some quarters in
Urhobo Omo-Agege is considered as an agent of destabilisation of Urhobo political vision because 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 believe, he is not useful to the Urhobo cause. I beg to disagree even thought I once thought so. I have now realised how wrong I was. Omo-Agege mearnt well for Urhobo all along. I came to this conclusion after witnessing first hand the roles he played in the senatorial bye 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 Urhobo 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 it’s heavy weight behind a neophite. We need a candidate who understand the nitty gritty of winning elections in Nigeria. Urhobo should therefore do all it can to draft Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege into the race.
My position is that in the battle of 2015, Urhobo needs all her human assets, including his very best regardless of what we may think of their past if we are to successfully wrestle Urhobo into political reckoning. We can’t afford to continue to duel in the past and bear grudges with one another when we have a major battle ahead. We cannot afford to toil with the good in any of us in the coming battle. We must go into battle with our elite squad and Omo Aggege Agege is definitely high up there among the elites of Nigerian politics.
To me, I would rather have Omo-Agege, who has demonstrated openly his deep love for Urhobo people and commitment to Urhobo interest, for Governor instead of a lackey of Governor Uduaghan whose commitment we cannot be sure of given the disdain and disregard for Urhobo by the Uduaghan administration. We can’t afford to trust anyone so cheaply again. It is on this note that I have reached the conclusion that we certainly need an Ovie Omo-Agege in the coming push. I believe the man should be given a chance to prove himself.
However, I am not agitating that we give him blind support. Thanks to enhanced application of technology, we all are now very alert politically and we will watch him very closely. Any misstep or false step by Ovie can easily be discerned by our very articulate political wizards. The prime focus is Urhobo for Governor in 2015 and anyone with a different gospel should be treated as an outcast in Urhobo. If Omo-Agege turns around to preach another message different from what UPU has mandated, we shall be here to tell him that he is on his own. One thing that gives me confidence that Omo-Agege will not disappoint is that in all his political outings, he has never pushed for the outsourcing of the Governorship outside Urhobo. His position has always been that he be considered for Governor and there is nothing wrong with that because he has all it takes to be a good governor.
When I started the campaigns in June 2012, a lot of people were of the view that power-shift, the lazy man concept and easy route to power by opportunists was going to be deployed to determine where the next Governor will come from. I disagreed. And today I feel vindicated as the likes of Elder Godsday Orubebe from the same Delta south with Governor Uduaghan has taken the political scene by the storm, making a mess of power-shift and creating sensational headlines in the media designed to impress it on the people that the Ijaws will not let go of their hold on government house even though they have their kinsman, Jonathan fighting the battle of his life to retain the key to Aso Rock. There is also an Itsekiri chap that has also indicated interest to run. These men are eligible, and well qualified to contest and it would have been unfair to exclude them from the race just because it is the turn of another senatorial zone. Sadly however, our holier than thou apostles of political doom in Urhobo land are preaching a strange gospel of power shift to a particular section of the State, while Orubebe is waxing stronger, threatening to alter political arithmetic in the State that will make it possible for Delta south to govern the State for a straight 16 years. Those who appropriate the title of political prophet of doom to themselves do not see the need for Urhobo to be governor after 8 years in the wilderness. Let me say this loud and clear, a time will come when these dubious political characters in Urhobo, who lack the political vision and will power to fight for honour, always seeking for an easy route to oil their selfish political ego for the spoil of politics without sacrifice yet preaching to gullible followers the virtue of resilience and consistent struggle as exemplified by Nelson Mandela, to be stoned about town until they end up ignobly in a political grave of shame.
The point being made here is that we need all the Ovie Omo-Ageges across Urhobo who would be ready to enter the trenches on the side of Urhobo in the politics of 2015. We need Amori just as we need Great Ogboru; we need Olori Magege just as we need Otega Emerhor; we need Terry Noah just as we need Prof Utuama provided they sign up for the Urhobo project. Those who are against Urhobo will however be shoved aside. If for instance, Omo-Agege decides to preach the satanic gospel being championed by some people to weaken Urhobo resolve to fight for what is right, this writer will not spare him. There is nothing heroic in supporting a Delta north or south candidate in 2015. That should be the last alterative which I maintain requires no battle. Adams Oshiomole fought to wrestle power from the jaws of political lions like Tony Anenih and his likes in Edo state. That is what makes a man. In Ogun State, President Obasanjo candidates were completely rejected in 2011, the heavens did not fall. That is what makes a man. If for instance, Urhobo is taken for granted by the PDP and we decide to vote en-mass for the opposition, making our position known with major stakeholders in Delta central united in the fight to work out Urhobo political destiny and identity through a party other than the PDP for instance, the message will go out that Urhobo is truly an elephant. That way, all legislators from Urhobo will come from a political party of choice. Even if Urhobo lost out in the fight to re-capture government house, nobody in Nigeria will take Urhobo for granted. That is the path of honour for Urhobo and a demonstration of manliness.
Therefore, Urhobo should assemble all the political war lords for 2015. We need Ovie Omo-Agege’s experience, connections, expertise and dexterity. While a couple of persons may have issues with him, I maintain that this man has demonstrated enough political clout needed for the battle of 2015. He has stealthily risen to stamp his authority as the leader of the number one political pressure group in Urhobo land. The Urhobo Political Congress, UPC which he heads, is no doubt the bomb in Delta central. No manner of political decoration can equate UPA or UPF with Omo-Agege’s UPC. While Amori is still important to the coming struggle, Omo-Agege has skilfully taken over from Amori as the leader of the political owenewene in Delta central. One problem I have with Amori is that he does not want to be led yet he always wants to lead others.
Prof Amos Agbe Utuama, the Deputy Governor is the number one political office holder from Delta central and leader of the party in the area, but Omo-Agege has successfully position himself as the de-facto political maestro of Delta central.
During the leadership crisis in UPU he stood on the side of rule of law to ensure a free, fair and credible process in the election of the current Executive. This was a commendable act that all Urhobos must recognise and appreciate. Also in the Senatorial poll, Omo-Agege fought as if the election were his own. His selfless role in that election just to ensure that Urhobo is well positioned in the ruling party was legendary. The fact that the UPC remains steadfast and committed to UPU position on Urhobo for governor makes him a reliable partner in the Urhobo 2015 project. From what I see in this man, wherever UPU leads, he would follow. I am therefore of the opinion that he be given a chance to prove himself. If he dares lead Urhobo to nowhere as in the hay days of UPF under Amori, Omo-Agege will have himself to blame. But in the meantime, let us give him a chance to prove that he carries the pains, struggles, interests and vision of Urhobo for 2015 on his shoulder. Urhobo will not take any shit from anybody. We must get it right in 2015. We can, because it is possible!

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