Ogboru goes for Delta liberation
By Zik Zulu Okafor
His mantra is Delta Liberation 2019. Within the belly of this mantra is a well enunciated manifesto that will give birth to his ultimate vision – A New Delta!
Olorogun Great Ovedje Ogboru is a familiar face. His name a formidable, if not an intimidating sound. His politics, a mixed bag, a combo of the good and the ugly. Good, because he has proved himself a political titan with the spunk to turn small political parties into big issues in the Delta bloc.
Not a few still believe that he convincingly won Delta state governorship election at least twice. But the ugly side is that, twice, he was allegedly denied his victory, what many observers tagged a popular people’s mandate, by men of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, that chose to walk the ugly and tainted aisle of history and politics.
Indeed, the political wheel of Delta State’s serpentine politics was halted on Tuesday, November 9, 2010.
On that historic date, still joyfully fresh in one’s memory, an Appeal Court Panel sitting in Benin city, Edo state capital, a panel made up of judges with conscience, men who could not sell their soul for American dollar, or brazenly defraud their calling, these noble characters annulled the April 14, 2007 Delta State governorship election purportedly won by Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan of the People Democratic Party, PDP. It was an election reported to have been violently rigged by the PDP in the face of an imminent crushing and embarrassing, defeat by Ogboru through a hope-inspiring Pineapple Revolution he championed under his little known party, Democratic People’s Party, DPP, with the selfless mantra, Delta First.
Driven by his faith in the acuteness and unsurpassed power of justice and confidence in the Nigerian judiciary, Ogboru challenged the incumbent governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s victory. The scion of Abraka expected the Appeal court not only to sack Uduaghan but to make a Consequential Order that would pronounce him victorious to send him straight to the seat of power in Asaba. The court indeed gave him victory by annulling the election but called for another election to be held within three months.
The annulment was however enough to draw an unquenchable celebration and jubilation in every nook and cranny of Delta state. The people were sure that Ogboru would cruise to an unprecedented victory in the re-run election. The incumbent governor’s performance index had been a ludicrous disaster, and Deltans longed for change. The Re-Run Election happened. It was on Thursday, January 6, 2011. Deltans held their breath as the results started cascading. Ogboru was coasting to victory. Results of elections in 12 Local Government Areas had been officially announced and Ogboru had won nine. Results from other LGAs were turning in as Ogboru’s men and DPP agents were reporting from the collation centres. Clearly the Urhobo born fishery mogul was expected to win 16 LGAs from the results collated. Calls rained in his campaign office, all congratulating him, calls from abroad and Nigeria including from those close to Governor Uduaghan’s cabinet members. They had lost hope. Ogboru had routed the PDP monstrous machine.
But, at about 9.47 pm, INEC suspended the announcement of the result, promising to continue the next day. Ogboru at this point needed victory in just four LGAs to win the election. Udughan was in desperate need of 10 LGAs to win 13 of the 25 LGAs to emerge victorious in the election. Despite the final results practically in the hands of everyone through collation centres, inspite of drums of celebration of Ogboru’s victory with Ogboru expected to win 16 LGAs, INEC, at 8.35 am announced a strange result. Uduaghan was ‘allocated’ 13 LGAs and Ogboru, 12. For a PDP with its mindless rigging machine of the time to allocate 12 out of 25 LGAs to a candidate of little DPP, told a captivating story of Ogboru’s popularity and the vile desperation of PDP to cling on to power in Delta state. Single- minded, strong-willed and determined to end this crucible of fraud-laden politics in Delta state, Ogboru again challenged this reported voodoo result. But not even the Supreme Court, sadly, could retrieve his mandate given by the good people of Delta State.
It is therefore not surprising that, The People’s General as Ogboru is widely and fondly called is returning in 2019 this time on a Liberation mission under a massive platform, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
So if you wanted to know why Ogboru is running again, here then, is what may be a first answer- ‘there is a stolen mandate to be recovered; for justice must not be buried in the purgatory. And as Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr put it, “Every step toward the goal of justice required sacrifice, suffering and a long struggle”. But more importantly, there is hardly any political analyst, commentator or close observer that can sincerely speak of any meaningful development in Delta state in the last 19 years of democratic governance. For Deltans, it has been a grim story of giddy corruption and harebrained economic exploitation.
These people seemingly trapped in the Big Heart therefore desperately need someone that enjoys massive followership, a man with the strength of character to retrieve power from the fatal grip of PDP. This man must also have a lucid and indepth knowledge of Delta state’s problems and possible solutions. Therefore he is expected to be a mascot of Deltan’s regeneration and political rebirth.
Today, perhaps one of the very few men that can dare to wear the garb of this expected political emancipator, without any iota of sentiment, is Great Ovedje Ogboru. And that’s why he couched his manifesto with such tonal goals that illuminate his clear understanding of Delta’s problems and the needed solutions.
His focus on value re-orientation towards restoring Delta state’s values of justice, integrity and hard work, honesty and dignity is to begin the reconstruction of the soul of a withering giant. He is at the same time dealing with the issues of law, and order and the justice system to strengthen public governance, regulatory agencies and the processes of justice to ensure efficiency and efficacy.
With a solid foundation assured he goes into the critical issues of economic and human capital and infrastructural development with cardinal attention to Agriculture, manufacturing, IT and a comprehensive and strategic overhaul of Education, Healthcare, Housing and Transportation. He looks to create massive investment opportunities in oil and gas and maritime sub-sectors of the economy while stressing zero tolerance for corruption and ethnic discrimination. Ogboru recognizes the importance of women in government and stresses the necessity of gender equality and special need for the protection of women in his government.
For many followers of the People’s General, he is now fully equipped for triumph over his past vicissitudes, to march straight to the Osadebe House as governor after the elections. For these die-hard fans, their ‘General’ had been deprived for a long while because the PDP used the instrument of state power to perpetually scuttle his reported victories. But now, under the platform of the APC, a formidable party, the party in power, nobody is going to oppress him because he has the power of the state on his palms.
These near- fanatical followers will however be a bit disappointed because Ogboru, a man of iron-cast integrity, given the opportunity, will not illegally deploy the instrument of state power to aid his victory. For him, President Mohammadu Buhari is a glowing symbol of how politics should be played. “With all the power at his disposal, he did not interfere for a second with the APC primaries, not even in the state his own Brother-in-Law was involved in a governorship contest. He did exactly the same thing at the National Assembly. Never interfered with their elections to choose their leaders. That’s integrity; that’s the way to go”. Like a parting shot, he confesses, rather tersely with a steely resolve, “I’ll rather lose with honour than win by fraud.
But he is sure he has a delightful date to keep with providence, come 2019.