THE PEOPLE’S ‘GENERAL’: NO GIVING IN TO DISTRACTIONS

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I write again but this time in severe pain in response to the article titled 'Why the People's General' Great Ovedje Ogboru Should Support UPU, as published on page 20 of the Urhobo Voice May 5th-12th edition, page 18 of Urhobo Times, May 8th-15th edition and the Vanguard Newspaper with the title, Delta: Time Up for the People's 'General'. The article made me to really have a serious rethink over my previous impression of the Urhobo nation. Upon a thorough analysis of that article, I began to see more clearly the problem of the Urhobo nation.

Just a few days ago I heard an Urhobo man say in pidgin English, 'We the Urhobos we go school but we nor know book'. By interpretation that means, 'The Urhobos are educated, but are not intelligent'. I had wanted to immediately respond to this man, but a verse in the Holy Bible flashed to my mind: 'Be swift to hear, but be slow to speak' James 1:19. Immediately, I chose to give some thought to the man's statement whether I could make a sense from it.

Suffice to say that after a critical analysis, I began to see some sense in the statement. It occurred to me that an Urhobo man occupying a high-ranking office in Abuja, Shell, Chevron, NNPC, AGIP, etc would angrily rebuke a fellow Urhobo if he were greeted in Urhobo dialect. But in the same places, his friends especially the Yorubas, Ibos, and Hausas would gladly respond in their local dialects to greetings from their tribesmen. That is, this generation of Urhobos is not proud of their Urhobo identity. Indeed, only people who went to school but 'nor know book' do such.

It was that man's statement that made me to begin to understand why I and other Urhobo students were coerced to learn Itsekiri language in Warri South LGA of DeltaState, and the so-called leaders of Urhobo especially the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) did nothing and may never do anything to stop such language imposition and cultural brainwashing. Shame! And, I have in fact, decided to lead a crusade to get the UPU leadership to face up to the real issues that trouble us as a people rather than concern itself with promoting any agenda that is not the purpose of the UPU. We cannot allow the UPU to be derailed by self-serving politicians planted from a London prison to undo us permanently. The process of undoing Urhobo started with the imposition of an enemy to usurp the position all Deltans in their wisdom decided to give a great son of Urhobo in the person of Olorogun Great Ovedje Ogboru. We will not allow any rascally tendency to prevail in the UPU and add insult to this unhealed injury. I will come back to this issue.

Yes, Urhobos love education, but to what end? What is the purpose of education that makes a people devalue themselves? Every Urhobo may not belong to this category but it is troubling where the headship of Urhobo i.e. the UPU is seen as championing Urhobo's mediocrity and in the process empowers faceless enemies to cash in on its deviant agenda to pull us behind.

Indeed a lot has been said about the so-called Uvwiamuge Declaration by the UPU. The alleged declaration is that all Urhobos must belong to only two political parties - PDP or APC! It is on record that such a declaration never took place, though it almost happened. All Urhobo kings objected to it. The Royal Fathers in their wisdom reasoned that Urhobo will be setting a very dangerous precedent to adopt such an unconstitutional declaration designed to promote vestedinterests that are bent on destroying our unity. Prominent leaders of Urhobo agreed with their Royal Majesties that the UPU should not be seen promoting narrow partisan interests in a multi-party democracy. It was the right thinking of men who know their worth, that the UPU ought to be more concerned with the fact that Urhobo's electoral strength is not being respected. Many wondered whether it was actually proper to allow the UPU to be remote-controlled from a London prison in order to achieve an individual's desire to control us at all times. It was also considered that the UPU was preparing itself to be hanged in both the courts of public opinion and justice if it were to pursue a tyrannical agenda of preventing Urhobos to associate politically as they desire and allowed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And so, the so-called Uvwiamuge Declaration died in the troubled minds of its promoters.

And we must therefore wonder what Denzel Umukoro and his co-travellers are talking about when they mention UVWIAMUGE, UVWIAMUGE, UVWIAMUGE! Which declaration? Who pronounced it? Who has the authority to do it? Is such an unthinkable aberration possible? Maybe possible with a people who 'nor know book'. And it is even very foolish to begin to mention Chief Ogboru's name everywhere this Uvwiamuge scam is being criminally marketed. While Ogboru is sleeping, they are awake plotting evil against Urhobo thinking they are targeting him. While this iconic Urhobo leader is thinking of how all our people can live the good life, some little minds are plotting to perpetuate governance by deceit and naked criminality. While Ogboru is insisting on the right values and spending his hard earned resources in defence of our common interest, they are conspiring foolishly to hold Urhobo down permanently. But the question is, where have all their plots taken us to? Thank God when you hold Ogboru down, God has given him the grace not to allow you move too. That is why he is our 'General'. And very soon, he shall lead us into total victory of liberation.

I can now see why Pastor Tunde Bakare posited that 'It takes idiots to be ruled by fools'. Without cause for any form of argument, if you have a fool as a leader then the followers must be idiots. This is why the Holy bible says that if the blind leads the blind, they'll both fall into the pit. If the Urhobo nation is in a pit today, it is not because the governor of Delta State is not an Urhobo man, but because some of our leaders sold our rights, place, pride and future for a morsel of meal like Esau. And it seems they are at it again. But we will resist any such misbehavior going forward. Our generation must accept this truth.

Without apology, I dare to say to Denzel Umukoro (even assuming there is anyone by this name) that any Urhobo who claims we voted massively for PDP in the Delta Central Senatorial Bye-Election of 12th October2013 is nothing but a blind, deceived, self-defeated and enslaved hypocrite and fraudster. It would be too disgusting if such exists in our UPU. If it does then I dare say, our UPU may be losing its very soul. Losing the soul of integrity bequeathed to it by the Mowoes and Salubis of blessed memory. For, no ethnic institution of the UPU historical standing should be seen developing its policy framework to suit criminal electoral systems and no person or group of persons should be allowed to use the UPU as a means to perpetuate their ill-conceived agenda. The UPU must be seen standing by what is right at all times.

I will never concur with any assertion that Chief Ogboru had failed in all past elections. How can you fail in an election that did not take place and, or in the ones where results were falsified and manipulated? If Denzel Umukoro claims he voted in 2007, then he is an insincere son of Urhobo. It was on Tuesday the 9th of November, 2010 that the Appeal Court sitting in Benin City Edo State unearthed the lies and electoral fraud that brought Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan into office, and consequently annulled same. It was the same fraudulent electoral practices that returned Uduaghan to the office after the January 6thRe-run and April 26th 2011 governorship elections. If Denzel Umukoro believes that human beings voted massively for Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2011, then he is one of those who are plunging the Urhobo nation, and indeed DeltaState into a bottomless pit. I can boldly state that he did not vote in the said Delta Central Senatorial bye election in 2013, because truth is that there was no election; and therefore his claim that Urhobo voted for the PDP is a scam and a shameful one for that matter.

If you want to know the shamefulness of the activities of those trying to use the UPU as cover-up, just take out some time to analyze the population of DeltaState on Local Government Area basis, voters registration and eventual votes cast in Delta Central in comparison with Burutu, Warri South West and Warri North LGAs in terms of percentage of registered voters against votes cast; also find out the 'result' from Ethiope West, and draw your own conclusion. Do a critical analysis of the fake results declared in the 2003 and 2007 'elections' in terms of the outrageous figures and what it has dropped to today. When you are done with those analyses, you'll know that the coming of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru into the political scene in DeltaState had brought tremendous change in so many respects.

I also want to disagree with the argument by some that after every election, the Peoples General goes to sleep, and comes up again only when elections are drawing near. Such a notion is totally misleading and are products of the kingdom of darkness, and is only publicized by ignorant men. What you do not know is that after every election, Chief Great Ogboru goes back to the drawing board to review and re-strategize, and when he shows up, there is an immediate resurgence of hope, belief, courage, energy and willingness to go all the way. With amazing calm, this great man cares for thousands of Deltans. Scholarships everywhere. House rents every day. Feeding allowances here and there. Medical bills to whoever knocks on his doors. No Deltan dead or alive gives hope to our people like Ogboru. Even those looting government funds do not have the heart to do a little fraction of what Ogboru does for our people. Yet, some will just open their light gem-infected lips so ignorantly to talk about him. They must ask themselves, why do our people still love him so much if indeed he deserts them? Are our people so foolish to love a bad man? The fact is, Ogboru has a good heart and our people know it. As far as this heart is there for them, it is impossible to undo the Ogboru mystic.

On the issue of strategy, I must laugh at Denzel Umukoro. What is strategy? According to Alfred Chandler 'Strategy can be defined as the determination of the basic long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals.' If this definition is an acceptable one, then there is the long-term angle to strategy which people like Denzel are blind to. These are persons who do not understand that Ogboru's struggle is a battle to liberate our people from slavery; and it is not a mean fight. According to Sun Tzu,'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.' Chief Ogboru has used this strategy effectively and even without him fighting yet his war artistry have seen our collective enemy pushed back and almost to the point of the enemy giving up and surrendering; and very soon the enemy's surrender shall be announced. Sun Tzu also positedthat 'To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill'. At the moment, Chief Ogboru is the only man in the political battle field whose presence scares the enemies of our souls; he is the only man whose courage and persistence had consistently become a nightmare to political criminals in Delta State, the only man who has shown total commitment in the fight to rescue Delta State from the claws of political scavengers and vampires, the only one who has shown unwavering faith in getting justice through the right means, who believes in the rule of law despite several disappointments from the custodians of the laws of the land.

He has made his mark, and positioned himself for continuous lifting in the scheme of things. He is being pursued here and there with lobbyings and pleas from various quarters to sheathe his sword of political battle, when he is yet to even draw out his sword to fight. All others have surrendered to monetary inducements and 'settlements', and have lost their pride and place. Many others have sold their rights, relevance and reputation in exchange for mere perishable and mundane things with eternal value. This is what makes Ogboru the pride and jewel of all true lovers of good things in Delta State. This is why the grassroot members of society cannot see them pulling out of the Ogboru train as long as he is alive.

On the issue of those who left the Ogboru train to either the PDP or APC, you cannot blame them too much, because it takes so much to possess and come to terms with the kind of quality courage, might and effrontery of Great Ogboru; in fact, it is a rare gift and grace from God. They have the right to withdraw from the battle. However, they must know that dining with the Devil is cancerous and suicidal. I also know that at the appropriate time the majority of them will return to the fold, as some are already doing. The beautiful thing is that Ogboru is not a man of vengeance.He is very much aware that in every battle there are casualties, and some of these persons are casualties who need rehabilitation; and hes been doing so much the relieve their pains and give them succor. He knows that so many are battle-weary. He knows they love him and believe in change. But he also knows that our people have been so impoverish that survival is a crucial agenda for them.

To join the PDP is not really a difficult thing for Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru and his ardent followers and staunch supporters to do. However, doing so would mean a lot of things. It would amount to self defeat-admitting that the evil monster of election rigging cannot be subdued or dethroned; it is admitting to the corrupt maxim that if you cannot beat them you join them. It would mean that he had not an ideology different from what PDP leaders have to offer and it would mean that the content of his proposed programme and manifesto were never true or genuine in the first place.

To join the APC, is not also a difficult thing to do; in fact. He attempted to do so, but the story of how things eventually went is not strange to followers of political events and trends. Does Denzel Umukoro know that the Ibori/Uduaghan cabal are major stakeholders in Delta State APC? Birds of the same feather they say flock together; the Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru that I know does not have anything common with perpetual electoral fraudsters and treasury looters thayt have held this State to ransom; there is therefore basis for fellowship. As a person, I have seen that Ogboru's decision to withdraw from the APC merger arrangement was one of the wisest things any focused person should do. This is because the way and manner in which the affairs of the APC are been run and managed today clearly show that APC won't last long. We are already beginning to see the signs right from the Ward to the State Congresses; and the final nailing on the coffin will be witnessed by everyone at their Primaries come 2015. I do not see a Party where leadership positions and party tickets are traded for money making meaningful impact in the fighpot to oust the PDP. The call and clamour for cancellation of congresses in some states are just a little of what is ahead for the APC.

For the information of people like Denzel Umukoro, ACN's 'victory' in the South West States of Ogun and Oyo capturing the governorship seat from PDP is a factor of two possible things. One, the PDP does not have grassroot support in the South West, they only succeeded in seizing the governorship seat of the aforementioned states for some time through the Obasanjo rigging machinery, and when the people rose up to take back their right, PDP had no option but to surrender to the will of the people. On the other hand, Tinubu and President Jonathan had their secret deal of 'fall for me, I fall for you'-in other words, allow ACN claim back these South West States and we'll deliver the South West to you in the presidential election. This was not only a trade by batter arrangement, but that involved the exchange of some very heavy and weighty 'ghana must go'. I leave it there!

Back to the issue of strategy, I want to say that it was the implementation of a well thought out strategy that made the outcome of the 2011 January 6th Re-run and April 26th Governorship elections to be far better than previous elections. It was the first time for a good number of eligible voters to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in some parts of the State. Take note that it was not a function of any declaration from the UPU, but a declaration by well meaning and true citizens of Delta State that it was time to stand up for their rights. The little hiccup was simply that our counterparts in the riverine areas of Burutu, Warri South West and Warri North either didn't join in the rescue mission or were overwhelmed. Thus, kleptomaniac politicians used their areas to perpetrate the damaging fraud. And very soon that area would be adequately taken care of.

One thing I must make clear is that, any UPU leader has the right to air opinions. None has the right to impose any selfish and ill-calculated risks on Urhoboland. I repeat, they have no such right. Every Urhobo indigene has the right to vote for the candidate of their choice. There are too many people right now who cannot be brainwashed by such calumnious articles being sponsored by political aspirants who are scared of the Ogboru support base and gold diggers who feel there is not enough 'ghana must go' in the Ogboru camp to satisfy their lust for money and material wealth which are only but perishable things. We will never fall for them.

I wonder what Denzel Umukoro meant by total support for Ogboru by UPU in 2007 and 2011 governorship elections. How many of these stakeholders could stick out their necks to give financial support, testify as witnesses in Courts (election tribunals), or make a unanimous declaration of total rejection of the outcome of the elections. What we rather saw was a situation where people were going to beg Uduaghan for recognition and relevance.

I must let Denzel know that having Chief Aguariavwodo in the Senate is not a function of the UPU's political prowess. Rather it appears more like the result of UPU's political relegation. The UPU has to wake up by growing above traitorship and betrayals arising from financial inducements. If they can stand as honest, sensible and disciplined men, with honour, integrity and dignity, I tell you political parties like the PDP and APC and any other political Party for that matter, will be crawling on their knees begging for their support, as against UPU going about begging for relevance. When we have come to our senses and done away with sell outs, we shall not beg before such appointments.

How many times have you heard of the Oba of Benin or Asagba of Asaba going to Abuja to beg for recognition and relevance? And how many times have you heard that a President visited DeltaState and paid courtesy visit to a Palace in Urhoboland? Whereas we see the president paying homage to others because they do not make their thrones cheap. Rather these revered leaders sit back in their palaces and calls come from Abuja(the seat of power) for them to send their nominations across to Aso Villa. This was the status of past prominent leaders of the Urhobo nation like the Mowoes and Salubis, and this generation of Urhobo leaders must go back to that Old Landmark.

The UPU is a socio-cultural organization or body established with critical aims and objectives, as shown below (curled from the UPU Constitution):

URHOBO PROGRESS UNION (UPU)
MOTTO, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
The Motto of the Urhobo Progress Union (hereinafter referred to as the 'Union') is 'Unity is Strength' Slogan, 'Urhobo Ovuovo'

The aims and objectives are:
To foster the spirit of love, mutual understanding and brotherhood among Urhobo people; good relations with neighbouring people, and Nigerians in general.

To encourage the educational development of Urhobo people.

To promote and foster the development and economic participation of Urhobo people by encouraging the establishment of viable organisations, institutions or projects, to incorporate limited liability companies wherein members, the national body, the branches, clan Union can buy shares.

To acquire by way of grant, purchases, loans or otherwise, concessions, right or property or privileges from any Government for the purpose of achieving the aims and objectives of the union.

To work for mutual understanding and co-operation between Urhobo people and Governments

To project and protect the Urhobo personality at all times and everywhere.

To preserve and promote the culture and tradition of the Urhobo Nation.

To give political, economic and social direction to the Urhobo Nation in National, States and Local matters affecting Urhobo interest.

Any other general purpose ancillary to and or connected with the aims and objectives of this association.

If the above are anything to go by, then Urhobo may be losing her cultural identity. We will be doomed if the UPU established to address this issue is allowed to be hijacked by some unworthy individuals who are in haste to do evil and destroy our unity for their personal benefits. There is a place in Warri where you can learn the Isoko language free of charge-this is a project put in place by people who understand cultural integrity and dignity. People who understand the importance of focus and purpose. Where are the scholarship programmes of the UPU, where are the investments, where are the evidence of things being done to protect the Urhobo culture, what are the signs of implementation of the aims and objectives of the UPU? Why is the Urhobo Cultural Centre edifice not completed yet? Is it by joining the PDP or APC or campaigning for political parties even when the parties themselves are yet to kick off campaigns that will provide answers to these questions? There is something very sick about the UPU and we will correct it, one way or the other. Those who have personal wars to fight must leave the UPU now. The UPU is bigger than little minds; bigger than conspirators; bigger than partisan politics and politicians. The UPU is too big to be controlled from a London prison. Chief 'Ejorohofo' Omene, the first deputy president must ensure the UPU is not desecrated before the President-General returns from his foreign trip. Chief Aziza has done his all to keep Urhobo united with amazing maturity. Chief 'Ejorhofo' Omene has a duty to protect all Urhobos equally. Let it not be said that the UPU splitinto multiple UPUs on his watch and in the absence of our dear President-General. This is a sincere advice. In any case, no one should forget that every Urhobo has a lawful responsible to ensure that the UPU does not make the mistake of moving outside its boundaries. If it does, the people will revolt. They will force it to operate in their interest; not the interestsof criminal politicians.

It was Obafemi Awolowo who posited that 'a country is poor because its people are poor; it is poor because its people are underdeveloped in body and mind; and its people are poor because they suffer from ignorance, undernourishment, calorie deficiency, and disease, and so on and so forth. In the real sense, education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave. The Urhobo nation is where it is today because, our elites have failed in ensuring the compass and hem of our ship is stayed and focused on the right course. What the Urhobo nation needs right now is proper re-orientation, genuine education and deliverance from political and intellectual brainwashing. The right education that will wash off the 'conquered slave' mindset/mentality.

If I want to be very blunt here, I will say that no fakeor non-existent UPU declaration anywhere can lure, convince or even coerce true lovers of democracy to joining the PDP in DeltaState. The battle before us is not one of partisanship, but of total emancipation from mental slavery; an overhauling of the poverty-mentality in our land. It is about coming together to pull down the forces of darkness, irrespective of party affiliations and sentiments. Denzel Umukoro and all detractors must be informed that whether they like it or not, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru shall be the Governor of Delta State. The so-called UPU declaration is a distasteful distraction and fraud against what has been ordained by God. The mere stretching of time and patience of men cannot undo God's will.

What are we really talking about? Let us look at some issues more critically to wrap up this piece of thought. There are serious agitations right now from Delta North in the PDP that it's their turn to produce the governor of Delta State, and this is not unconnected with some gentleman's agreement with which James Ibori brainwashed them in 2007 just to have his way to planting and imposing his cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on the seat. Right now they do not know their fate in terms of the feasibility of that coven arrangement. Secondly, from serious sources, we learnt that President Goodluck Jonathan has anointed his Ijaw brother Godsday Orubebe as his preferred candidate for Governor of Delta State come 2015; an issue that needs further verification and clarifications anyway.

If the above are anything to go by, then the so-called fake Uvwiamuge Declaration may just be a trap waiting to ensnare the Urhobos in unending relegation and slavery. What would be the fate of Urhobo if it happens that Orubebe eventually becomes PDP's governorship candidate for 2015? And on the other hand, if PDP aspirants of Delta North origin fail to secure the PDP ticket as flagbearer of the party for the governorship election, the next most probable option would be to defect to the APC; and if on defecting, they are able to secure the APC ticket whether by hook or by crook, or the reverse even becoming the case,the setting would then be something like this:

PDP- Ijaw (Delta South) and APC- Delta Ibo (Delta North)

or
PDP -Delta Ibo (Delta North) and APC-Ijaw (Delta South)

In the light of the above, therefore, where will Urhobo stand? How will the UPU handle such magnitude of disgrace and humiliation. Where will they bury their heads? Why do these men think they will easily secure the tickets of the PDP or APC in the 2015 governorship race, and what makes them even think they won't be manipulated like they were in 2007 when they have so many sellouts in their midst?

In the final analysis therefore, it has become very clear that some persons somewhere are playing to a tune ringing from a far-away London Prison and in disguise trying to use the UPU as a formidable channel to perpetuate their ill-conceived plans; but this will not work. It cannot stand as Urhobos have come to realize that any attempt to fall into the hands of these political criminals will amount to suicide. We will not fall prey to the evil machinations of these political criminals who want to brainwash unsuspecting DEltans to achieve their own selfish and criminal agenda. We must let these self-seeking politicians know that we have outgrown their deceitful manipulations.

While I am not here to promote politics of ethnicity, Imust say categorically clear that I am responsible to my ethnic foundation and as such have the responsibility as a right thinking, honest and responsible son of Urhobo to help set the records straight and ensure that the Urhobo nation isnot allowed to be plunged into darkness; and that our collective destiny is not traded for a morsel of meal by a few self seeking political criminals who do not have value for their God-given treasure.

It should be noted therefore, that there was no such thing as any UPU declaration for all Urhobos to join either the PDP or APC, and if any declaration was ever made at anytime and anywhere, it was not by the UPU mainstream leadership, but by some criminally minded traitors and betrayers whose aim is to satisfy their personal desires at the expense of the generality of the Urhobos and indeed the entire people of Delta State. This act and agenda of theirs must therefore be subjected to outright condemnation and rejection by all well-meaning Urhobos and Deltans in general.

I also wish to use this medium to call on all well-meaning Urhobos to wake up from every kind of slumber and resist every form of political and otherwise manipulations, from these agents of disaster. This is the time to reclaim and restore all lost treasures of Urhobo.

God bless Urhobo nation
God Bless Delta State.
Omonigho Akpahwe writes from Warri
[email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Omonigho Akpahwe and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Omonigho Akpahwe