There is an urgent need for the apex Urhobo Cultural body, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) to endorse one candidate among the two governorship candidates, Great Ovedje Ogboru and O’Tega Emerhor in order to prevent confusion on the minds of the Urhobos and their neighbours. This is necessary because as things are at the moment, the Urhobos and their neighbours are confused as to who among the two candidates they will cast their votes for in the forthcoming governorship election. The UPU should heed this advice in order to repeat the feat it achieved prior to the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s primaries that led to the endorsement of Olorugun David Edvebie as the sole candidate of the Urhobo Nation at the primaries.The committee set up by the UPU conducted an in-house election for five candidates: Chief David Edevbie, Chief Ovie Omo-Agege, Prof. Amos Agbe Utuama, Chief Kenneth Gbagi and Dr. John Akwara. At the end of that mini election, Chief David Edevbie, who scored 40 points, emerged the preferred candidate for the Urhobo Nation in the primaries.
But the UPU made a fundamental mistake for not conducting the in-house election on time thereby coming out too late with its choice candidate for the primaries. It will be recalled that UPU endorsed Chief David Edevbie the very day (December 8, 2014) which the primaries were held. That was not good enough as there was no time for the endorsed candidate (Chief David Edevbie) to consult the people in order to get their supports. Also, UPU had no time to sensitize and persuade the Urhobos and their neighbours on the dare need to support Edevbie during the primaries. Additionally, UPU and Chief David Edevbie did not have enough time to calm frayed nerves owing to the outcome of the committee’s election. Some Urhobo aspirants under the PDP were indeed angered by the result of the committee’s election. They felt all Urhobo aspirants for the PDP’s primaries should have been allowed to participate in the primaries without the UPU setting up a committee to endorse a candidate. This acrimony caused Chief Kenneth to participate in the PDP’s primaries despite the fact that UPU had endorsed Chief David Edevbie as the sole candidate for the Urhobo Nation.
The aforementioned mistakes should not be allowed to repeat themselves hence the need for UPU to endorse a candidate between Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and Olorugun O’Tega Emerhor now. The reasons being that if the two Urhobo illustrious sons are allowed to contest the governorship election come February, the votes of the Urhobo people will be split between the two candidates; this will negate the quest for an Urhobo Governor in 2015. Again, the neighbours to the Urhobos-Ijaws, Itsekiris, Isokos, Ndokwas, Ukwuanis, Aniomas and other people of Delta State who may also want an Urhobo as the next governor will also have their votes split; this will not be in the best interest of the Urhobos and their supporters. Meanwhile, an early endorsement of one of the Urhobo candidates will give the endorsed candidate apple time to engage in consultations across the state. It will also afford the endorsed candidate the opportunity to pacify and woo the candidate that lost out in the political endorsement game and his followers to his side. This will help boost his followership and eventual winning of the election.
However, considering the various contests Chief Great Ovedj Ogboru had participated in and the recent revelation by Chief Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege that Ogboru won in all past elections but rigged out by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), he should be given another chance to prove himself once again. Omo-Agege, now flying the flag of the LP for the Delta Central Senatorial District, said: “I have made my own judgment that Ogboru is the best material at this time to lead this fight for change and I can tell you this because I know in the past the man has won elections, but he’s been deprived. I can tell you that because I’ve been in PDP. All the elections the man has contested from the rerun early 2011 and later in 2011, the man has won all those elections but he’s been deprived.”
Undoubtedly, Ogboru has massive followership. Reports reaching this writer reveal that Ogboru is still the most popular candidate among the three contestants in the Delta State Governorship race! The All Progressives Congress candidate, Olorugun O’Tega Emerhor is a man of integrity but the APC under which he is contesting the governorship is not an alternative as the Presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is not the best for the country. Gen. Buhari truncated democracy in Nigeria on December 31, 1983 when dethroned President Shehu Shagari. The APC has no integrity because it had condemned the PDP often times for bad governance and corruption yet it admitted members that defected from the PDP! How does one reconcile this anomaly?
Though, the UPU in its popular “Uwaimuge Declaration” said it would support a candidate of either the PDP or APC that is of an Urhobo extraction. Considering the dynamism in politics and since there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics but permanent interest, no law bids the UPU to abide by that declaration since Chief Great Ogboru is the best alternative.
Thus, from the above mentioned reasons, since Chief Great Ogboru is the man to beat in the February 28 governorship election, Urhobo Progress Union should endorse him for the next election so that the block of the Urhobo votes and those of their neighbours will not be split between two contestants.