Towards 2015: Where does Urhobo stand? (2)

Posted on 25th Jul 2012 under FEATURES.

In our earlier treatise on the preparation of Urhobo for the politics of 2015, we were able to identify three options as action plans which the Urhobo Progress Union should adopt in marshalling the political class in Delta Central for the battle ahead.


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Author: By Annabel Ogheneganre

In our earlier treatise on the preparation of Urhobo for the politics of 2015, we were able to identify three options as action plans which the Urhobo Progress Union should adopt in marshalling the political class in Delta Central for the battle ahead. I still maintain that the UPU remains the best platform for synergising the efforts and interest of the political class for the coming political war because UPU remains the only organ in Urhobo that commands respect across board. The ruling party (the PDP) and the opposition cannot run away from UPU. The Urhobo Political Congress and Delta Central Political Movement are interest groups within the PDP and cannot be divorced from the partisan interest of members. There are many other political groupings within the PDP and the opposition but these can only foster the interests of their members. The larger interest of the Urhobo nation cannot be located in the activities of these groups. UPU therefore remains the best platform for this tortuous engagement. 

As stated earlier, option A plan which the UPU should harness in mobilising the Urhobo nation for 2015 should be in locating a viable candidate from within the PDP from Delta Central which Urhobo will sell on the basis of merit. The argument being promoted by Delta North is power shift which they feel should naturally make them the next to produce the Governor in 2015. But Governorship elections in Delta State had never for once been zoned to any senatorial district. There had never been a time that Delta State had zoned the office of Governor to Delta Central. Even in the emergence of Uduaghan in 2011, it was a matter of the then incumbent imposing his brother on the state by flying the cart of power shift when he saw that was the only convenient weapon he could muster to have his way. He sold the idea to the party leadership in Abuja and scored a cheap political goal when he succeeded in promoting himself as a detribalised political actor. But it was just a dummy he sold because it suit perfectly into his hidden agenda. 

The choice of the PDP as first port of call in the search for an Urhobo candidate for 2015 is predicated on the fact that the PDP, despite public perception concerning its performance records and democratic credentials still remains the strongest party in Nigeria and Delta State. The party provides the most viable election-winning platform in the state. Half of the goodwill and patronage that Great Ogboru commands can make him the President of Nigeria if he were to be in the PDP. The party controls all the institutions and machineries that would be deployed in the conduct of elections in Nigeria. The Police, INEC, the Army etc are all under the control of the PDP. Our democracy still has a long way to go. We cannot make all the changes required for faultless elections in Nigeria in a hurry. No strongman would fold his arm and allow a stronger force take shine off his sail without pulling strings available to him to maintain the lead. The energy and resources invested in the Ogboru/Urhobo project so far could be saved if the PDP is adopted as the party platform for the struggles. The opposition party should be adopted in an extreme case of the event that the ruling party could not provide the needed platform for a pan-Delta cum pan Urhobo interest in the politics of the state as it has happened in recent past. To this writer, UPU deserves all the accolades for the role it played in 2011. The outcome notwithstanding, UPU did all proud because a man had got to live or die for something. Urhobo fought for what they believed in and that is what mattered. 

The 2015 project is a serious one and should be handled with all the seriousness it deserves by UPU as in the 2011 project. The coming political battle is a make or mars one. Urhobo has suffered enough and the project must be taken seriously by all stakeholders. First, UPU should give PDP leaders in each local government area in Delta Central, the opportunity and assignment of identifying at least, three viable persons suitable for the office of Governor in 2015. Age, qualifications and political experience as well as connection in both high and low places should be among the criteria. Those who are interested should be considered first. For instance, in Ughelli South, names like Prof. Amos Agbe Utuama SAN, Sir Emmanuel Edesiri Aguariavwodo, Dr Chris Oghenechovwen and Dr Patrick Fovie should be considered. In Ughelli North, the likes of Obarisi Ovie Omo Agege, Olorogun Ominimini Chris Obiuwevbi and Mr Sunny Unuesoke could be considered. In Udu, names like Elegbete Moses Odibo, Chief Andrew Orugbo and Evelyn Oputu of the Bank of Industry are possible materials. Uvwie has the amazon- Hon. Evelyn Oboro of the Federal House of Representatives; Sapele has the likes of Chief Paulinus Akpeki, Chief Ufuoma Obule, Bar Ejaife Odebala; Ethiope West may throw up the likes of Dele Otubu, Chief William Makinde, and Chief Ighoyota Amori while in Ethiope East, names like Hon. Chief Akpodiogaga-a Emeyese, Chief Love Ojakovo, Chief Efe Akpobi,  and Chief Anthony Oboro comes to mind. Okpe has Chief Tom Amioku, Prof Sam Oyovbaire and many others as resource materials for 2015. The list is by no means exhaustive as the assignment from UPU will help each local government area to locate the very best to be presented to UPU for screening or examination. 

This stage will task the patriotic attributes of all the contenders and stakeholders. A commitment should be secured from the interested parties to the effect that the choice of UPU would be respected in the larger interest of Urhobo. The criteria for selection should be well laid out and transparently pursued so as not to betray the confidence of the aspirants. UPU should ensure those initially forwarded by the local government areas are further reduced to one per local government area through an internal mechanism to be employed by leaders from each LGA. The first list is essential so as not to disenfranchise those who are willing to contest. The final screening of the last 8, one from each LGA in Delta Central should entail intensive interviews and consideration of aspirants’ age, qualifications, experience, vision and agenda for Urhobo and Delta State as well as several other factors. At the end, only three aspirants should be adopted until such a time when it would be necessary for the final choice of candidate to be unveiled. The people should be adequately briefed and carried along in the selection process so that when eventually some spoilers decide to jeopardise the efforts of UPU, they could easily be identified and made to face the fruit of betrayal through public rejection.

When a candidate eventually emerge the task of selling that person to the rest senatorial districts will be a task for all. UPU will impress it on the opposition to see reason with the popular choice within the PDP. As stated in my earlier submission, PDP as a party is not the problem. The operators are the problem. The DPP which the Urhobo nation supported in 2011 is not a better party than the PDP. The DPP so far has even demonstrated worst anti-democratic attributes in recent times particularly as it concerns preparation for the yet to be conducted local government polls. The idea of a Chairmanship aspirant and his proposed deputy buying nomination forms is a novel and one of the worst anti-democratic fraud ever perpetrated in the political history of Delta State. For an aspirant and his proposed deputy to cough out about 1million naira to purchase nomination forms suggest negative democratic values which negate the message of change that the masses fought for in 2011. An average of N10 million was raised from every local government area as cash from all the aspirants who where stampeded into besieging the DPP state headquarters for the forms. The judicial summersault from the Supreme Court as regards the Great Ogboru case has however dampened the spirit of many of these aspirants. The point being made here is that DPP as a party is not a better platform in terms of mere party consideration. What is important is the spirit and ideology being pursued in the struggle. In 2011, Great Ogboru was the party and rallying point. He was the content while DPP was the container. DPP as container is not better than PDP as container. But where the content of one is better than that of the other, it is generally presumed that the container with the better content is the best. That was the fate of PDP in 2011. All these can change if a viable and popular candidate emerges from the PDP in 2015.  

It must be borne in mind from the onset that the battle is not going to be easy. Delta North is spoilt for war and it must be war for war if Urhobo will not be made a laughingstock again in the politics of Delta State. In a normal situation, people could easily concede to the north district. But we have a situation at hand which makes every true blooded Urhobo man and woman to curse the day Delta State was created. Delta north was not originally in the picture during agitations for the creation of the state. It was basically an Urhobo idea and affair for the state to be created from the defunct Bendel state. Urhobo fought hard for it, with even the Itsekiri nation posing as enemy to the project. But when the state was eventually created, IBB, under whom that history was made ceded the capital to Asaba which was not part of the old Delta province. It was a gift from IBB to his in-laws, the Anioma people. That development is an open wound which has refuse to heal. Even time has not been able to heal this wound of dalight robbery of Peter to pay Paul. He who must come to equity must come with a clean hand. Delta North has a soiled claim to the office of Governor because the State Capital was forcefully taken by them and Urhobo will do themselves a great deal of disservice to blindly support an Anioma candidate in the name of power shift. It will not work. 

This option or plan A is predicated on the need to promote the Urhobo agenda in a more aggressive and fashionable platform. A cohesive and united approach to the elections will give less room for divided votes or votes splitting which undermine the voting strength of Delta central in 2011. Votes from the central district if united could produce the winning result with a little in-road into south and north. Political energy should not be dissipated unnecessarily until we are justifiably aggrieved to so do. At that stage, there would be added fillip to go to war with the ruling party. Urhobo people are highly republican and independent minded. They will fight for what they believe in when it is necessary to so do. But every available avenue to be in the mainstream party should be explored before looking the other way. Those who would take Urhobo for granted in 2015 should be prepared for the consequences. Our preparations would determine how Delta Central would be rated and approached in 2015. That is the reason I continue to advocate for early preparation and sensitization of our people for the task ahead. I still maintain, It is possible for an Urhobo Governor to emerge in 2015. 

Comments are moderated. Please Keep them clean and brief

Comments [ 3 ]
Oghene . 16 Apr, 2013 at 12:48
Tony udu u have made one of the most foolish comments of 2013. U r a real tribalist without sense of reason. In 2007, 2011 d people thart contested were they only from central. If the other ethnic groups wanted turn by turn, why did they still contest. We are all deltans. Shun ethnicity. Stop talking rubbish and become civilized. I cant believe someone still thinks the way u do. Ignorance
Tony Udu . 26 Jul, 2012 at 06:21
If our conscience is clean we as urhobos will not want the Governorship position now, God will never be on our side. Iburu, ibori are all from Delta Central who were all former Governors of Delta State. Let other etinic groups have a chance. If we insist on having our way, we have no moral right to blame the northerners for their perpetual ambition of leading this nation for ever. We speak of 2015 being warfare politically, is it a do or die affair?
Tony Udu . 26 Jul, 2012 at 06:17
If our conscience is clean we as urhobos will not want the Governorship position now, God will never be on our side. Iburu, ibori are all from Delta Central who were all former Governors of Delta State. Let other etinic groups have a chance. If we insist on having our way, we have no moral right to blame the northerners for their perpetual ambition of leading this nation for ever. We speak of 2015 being warfare politically, is a do or die affair?
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