Recent political development in Delta Central Senatorial District prompted this piece, and I will be truthful in addressing the political toga “The Urhobo or Delta Central Interest.”
Let’s agree from the outset that “Urhobo Interest is Universal” and to that extent it encompasses the interests of the heterogeneous tongues and peoples captured in the eight local governments areas of Urhobo Nation, namely; Ethiope East, Ethiope West, Okpe, Sapele, Uvwie, Udu, Ughelli North and Ughelli South, respectively.
In the above local governments they differ slightly in local dialect as can be seen in Okpe, Udu, Evwreni, Agbon, Uvwie, Abraka, et al, and our culture and traditions also varies slightly but with a common understanding of each other’s cultural heritage and tradition.
The Urhobo Interest, therefore, must be viewed broadly to capture the yearnings and aspirations of each segment that constitutes the entire Urhobo Interest, such that one particular local government is not seen as the only unit holding on to the totality of powers allocated to Urhobo nation. What do I mean? In power allocation, special preference or undue recognition must not be one sided, it must be on a balanced scale to guarantee peace, equity and good conscience.
As a people, due respect and recognition must be given to our political leaders; North, South and Central, for their huge intellectual, financial and time invested to stabilize our democracy and unity in diversity. The founding father’s of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, must also be respected, appreciated and commended for their various contributions in this dispensation; 1999 till date and still counting.
In Urhobo nation, we recognise and appreciate our political fathers and leaders especially the enviable contributions and political emancipation spearheaded by our former amiable governor and foremost political leader, Chief James Onanefe Ibori. He raised Urhobo nation’s stake in both state and national politics and also fought doggedly for socioeconomic empowerment and interests, more particularly from 1999 to 2007, and 2017 to the present day.
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We must appreciate the contributions of leaders like; Prof Sam Oyovbaire, DSP Ovie Omo-Agege, Chief Ighoyota Amori, Chief Michael Adiotomre, Chief Judith Enamuotor, Chief Kenneth Gbägi, Chief Steve Oru, Late Olorogun Felix Ibru, Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, and others too numerous to mention. They all played various roles in ensuring promotion and attainment of Urhobo Interests.
Therefore, the generality of Urhobo Interest must never be centered or viewed as the interest of a particular individual or few individuals no matter how highly placed they may be. The interest must be universal for the vast majority of the Urhobo people, home and abroad.
And if the Urhobo Interest is about an individual ambition or political investment, then the Urhobo interest becomes the worship of a demigod or a human political Principality. This should not be, which is why we must agree on issues that truly reflects the general good and not those political decisions or projects that will at the end of the day benefit just a few individuals and their associates.
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What is ideal? The ideal thing to do is to ensure the political liberty of every Urhobo politician, the entire process must of a necessity guarantee the dignity of persons and respect for freedom of political association, of speech and of opinions.
It is wrong and very timid to blacklist any Urhobo son or daughter politically, simply because he or she does not belong to a particular political family, or for not supporting a particular governorship aspirant perceived to be the anointed one of a sub unit or a particular political family.
The political milieu is heterogeneous in scope with diverse political entities and interests, and must be allowed to flourish via liberty of choices and of association. Democratic politics can only blossom and mature where fundamental rights of choices, of association is sacrosanct, and flexible politically.
The idea of Urhobo interest centered around a particular individual or tiny groups of persons is the reason why Urhobo nation is lagging behind in the political scheme of things. There is therefore, the need for political cross fertilization of ideas, freedom to navigate loyalty whenever the need arises for the common good of Urhobo nation.
Let’s use the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, as a good example. At a time when his ambition became blurred politically, he fought hard to liberate himself from the shackles of a unified political family, extended his political tentacles via new political association as guaranteed by the constitution. He left and fought his way doggedly to become the nation’s DSP, even though the process has been heavily criticized. This can also be classified as Urhobo Interest because his new status is reflecting on Urhobo nation generally.
Though Agege was called all sorts of names when he took his political destiny in his own hands, his success story today is also the success of not only Urhobo nation but that of Delta State, even though he was selfish and self centered to have influenced the Federal Polytechnic and Law School to Orogun, his home town of Ughelli North LGA. I will deal with that issue as we make progress in this dispensation.
The DSP Agege’s political maneuvers attest to the need for flexible pursuit of Urhobo Interests from a broad based perspective, not the perspective of few individuals political and economic interests. We must begin to separate few individuals interests from the general or universal Urhobo Nation’s interests, either political or economic interest.
Let every Urhobo son or daughter be free to belong to any political family; North, South or Central at diverse times and seasons. The bottom line is socioeconomic and infrastructure development of Urhobo Nation, Delta State and the Country in general.
The time is now to free Urhobo people of Delta Central block from the political mental slavery that held our people in captivity in almost three decades now. We must not be seen to worship men, but respecters of political leaders and worshippers of the Supreme God, Almighty.
When all your hope is in man, God will definitely stay away and watch you manage your destiny all by yourself. Emphasis should be on the supremacy of God and loyalty to political leaders perceived to have genuinely represented or will truly represent our political or economic interest, going forward.
Let every Urhobo son or daughter determine their political pathways and associate with whoever they deem fit; North, South or Central, in this political dispensation. This idea of Urhobo Interest centered around individuals and their political associates should be discarded. We should be free to pitch our political tents wherever and whenever.
Our true Urhobo identity must not be tied to the political family one belong but in our freedom to associate with the universal Urhobo nation interest that guarantees the common gains, either economically or politically.
No Urhobo son or daughter should be coerced to associate or support a particular governorship aspirant.
Our fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, must be allowed to prevail against any interest that is centered around individual or few individuals, either political gains or other benefits, going forward.
We were born free into this world and we must be allowed to live freely. After all, the wealth of any political demigod is for himself and members of his family, not distributed to every Urhobo man or Woman.
Finally, Urhobo interest must favour majority of the people, not centered around individuals interests and gains. The interest must profit majority, not a few.
This is why we must commence a process of gradual freedom from political and mental slavery as we collectively pursue the Urhobo interest that is beneficial to Urhobo nation, Delta and by extension, Nigeria.
The 2023 governorship deal must be viewed and seen as the universal interest of the Urhobo people and the state in general, which is why we must all work towards achieving it through the right choice of 2023 PDP candidate. And the Urhobo candidate must be accepted by PDP political structures; North, Central and South senatorial districts, not by imposition or illegitimate screening process. To that extent the incumbent governor have major roles to play as the leader of the party, in consultation with other leaders across board.
Deltans want to see an Urhobo governorship candidate that will improve on the monumental achievements of Okowa administration, a Pan Delta individual, easily accessible with open door policy, prudent in the management of State resources, a good listener to the yearnings and aspirations of Deltans, a governor that will improve on job and wealth creation, et al, and not the opposite of these attributes.
Deltans does not deserve a governor that will collaborate with political associates and family members to drain our state treasury and personalise our Commonwealth.
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