Comerade Ovie Igho Anthony, President of the UPU Youth Wing
Comerade Ovie Igho Anthony is the President of the UPU Youth Wing, World-wide. In this interview, he bares his mind on the controversial issue of parallel UPU government and the Uvwiamuge declaration .
RECENTLY THERE HAS BEEN SERIES OF RUMOUR AND PUBLICATION TO THE EFFECT THAT UPU HAS BEEN FACTIONISED, HENCE THERE HAS BEEN CONFLICTING SHADOWS ON THE PART OF TH PUBLIC AS TO THE TRUE STATE OF AFFAIRS, SIR AS THE UPU YOUTH WING PRESIDENT, WORLD WIDE, MAY WE KNOW WHAT TRULY HAPPENED AND WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS?
Thank you very much, may I start by making it very clear that the Urhobo Progress Union remains intact. There is nothing like faction or parallel government as Chief Engr Joe Orode Omene remains the one and only recognized President General to Urhobos world wide. What happened recently can only but be described as a failed coup sponsored by a desperate politician through a microscopic few gullible elements( business men) in the UPU who ordinarily should have no business being in the union bearing in mind their antecedence, greed and lost for money. In other words, the alleged Tuesday Onoge led faction of UPU is an unprofessional, poorly articulated and shabbily implemented script prepared by an aggrieved politician as a revenge on the UPU for aligning with the course of a decision not favourable to him ( i.e, the endorsement of Ogboru as Urhobo consensus candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial poll). Be that as it may, even though we do not see the relevance seeking Tuesday Onoge joker as an issue to border about at this critical moment in the history of Urhobo nation, it is imperative to clear the air as to the true state of affairs so as to reconcile the conflicting shadows and misinformation their publication must have caused.
After the PDP guber primary failed to produce an Urhobo as flagbearer, nipping the option ‘A’ of the Uvwiamuge declaration in the bud, the need to chose and project a consensus candidate between the two Urhobo candidates: Great Ovedje Ogboru of the Labour Party and Olorogun Otega Emerhor of the All Progressive Congress became very obvious. This was no doubt, a very challenging task to the UPU considering the contribution of both patriots to the course of Urhobo overtime. However, it was considered that the interest of Urhobo nation is paramount and supersedes any individual interest and as such the UPU President General and his exco, based on consultation with relevant Urhobo authorities, stake holders, elders, etc, evolved a selection procedure which was applauded by all and sundry. By this, they divided Urhobo into various strata viz: Urhobo Elders and stake holders (representing all Urhobo Elders and stake holders), Forum of Kingdom President Generals (representing the 24 kingdoms of Urhobo), Ewaye, i.e, the Women Wing (representing all Urhobo women), the Youth Wing (representing all the youths of Urhobo), Urhobo clergy (representing all Urhobo clergy men and women) and Urhobo professionals and politicians (representing experienced politicians from various political parties) . The leadership of UPU met with these various groups representing the interest of Urhobo nation at different point in time with an outright mandate of polling opinion or votes as to who should go for Urhobo amongst the two candidates in view on the bases of popularity and grassroots effect. At the end, Obgoru emerged as a consensus Urhobo candidate toping the votes with very wide margin in all the sessions. There after, UPU took the result to the kings where it was generally endorsed except for four (4) kings who advocated on the need to build alliances with Okowa. But some of the kings suggested that the pronouncement of the endorsement should be delayed till after the presidential election so as to know the direction of the pendulum.
The disagreement that gave expression to the hidden agenda of Onoge, Alhaji Mumakai (an Aboki masquerading as an Urhobo man), Efeduma and their sponsor, ensued in a meeting of UPU exco conveyed by the President General on the 30th of January, to decide on whether the endorsement should be announced or delayed till after the presidential election. It should be understood here that it is not really the issue of Uvwiamuge declaration or who to endorse as painted by Onoge that was the bone of contention The meeting was necessitated by agitation, insurmountable pressure and criticizen which trailed the delay in announcement of the endorsement. We cannot claim to be Ignorant of volumes of opinion articles and otherwise which went down the drain in this regard. Many of which , accused UPU of being deliberate with delay tactics arguing that the failure of Urhobo in the last PDP Primary was attributable to the delay in the announcement of the Urhobo consensus PDP aspirant. More so, at the point of this meeting, it was discovered that the number of pro Okowa Urhobo kings has increased to eleven(11) as against the initial four(4). The question at that point was, why should our kings be advocating for delay in announcement of Urhobo endorsement while supporting Okowa from behind?
In the course of the 15-man exco meeting, to lay the issue to rest, it was generally agreed that it should be subjected to a democratic procedure through voting which they did and the result tuned out to be 10-5 in favour of Ogboru. It was at that point the five black legs led by Tuesday Onoge walkout out of the meeting. And the next thing we saw on the social media and pages of news papers is a press release endorsed by Tuesday Onoge, the second deputy PG and the assistance publicity secretary, Alhaji Mumakai that there President General of Urhobo Progress Union World wide, Chief Joe Orode Omene has been removed and that Onoge is now the acting PG.
SUPPORTERS OF OTEGA HAVE ARGUED OVERTIME THAT UVWIAMUGE DECLARATION SWONG IN THE DIRECTION OF OTEGA AFTER THE FAILURE OF URHOBO IN GETTING THE PDP FLAG, AND THAT OGBORU IS JUST BEING AN OPPORTUNIST, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THAT?
I think its important we understand what the true Uvwiamuge declaration is all about for clarity sake. On the heels of gross marginalization and neglect suffered by the Urhobo nation despite its demographic, economic and political importance to the economy of the state and federation atlarge coupled with the dire need for paradigm shift in governance, a self deterministic struggle for the survival, liberation and emancipation of the Urhobo nation towards galvanizing Urhobo nation from the balkanization of economic strangulation and backwaters was configured in Uvwiamuge declaration. Beyond the imagination of many, just like the Kayama declaration of the Ogonis, the Urhobo governorship agitation is but a microscopic spectrum of the Uvwiamuge declaration. The Uvwiamuge declaration in a nutshell, is a frame work of collective agenda for the actualization of our collective yearnings and aspirations as a people. That is to say whether Urhobo gets the governorship or not, Uvwiamuge declaration lives on! The Urhobo governorship agenda is just a part of the declaration but being over amplified as a result of the political dispensation.
The Urhobo governorship aspect of the Uvwiamuge declaration as declared at the Uvwiamuge was very clear and explicit that Urhobo would only support a credible candidate with a formidable political structure. Those present at the meeting would recall that Chief Austin Uloho, the then 3rd vice President Genaral, initially mentioned restricted it to only two political parties but there was serious uproar and protest led by Chie Engr Lance who argued that the constitution of the UPU cannot supersede that of the federation and as such everybody should be given e right to exercise their constitutional rights. It was after heated argument that the appendage clause including other political parties came in as part of the declaration. Urhobos are known to be truthful but why are the likes of Onoge and other critics failing to see this appendage. Urhobo is bigger than every individual interest and as such no reason is cogent enough for dividing Urhobo nation.
IN THE MIDST OF THIS TUMBULENCE, YOU’VE BE SO SILENT , AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE YOUTH WING, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THIS URGLY TREND AND HOW IS THE UPU MANAGING THE SITUATION?
In the first instance, it is a disgrace of monumental and gargantuan proportion laced with chronic illiteracy on the part of Onoge and his cohorts to think they could fool Urhobos with such a poorly articulated and ill cessation plan that is riddled with avalanche of ridicule. It shows that Onoge does not qualify to be even a floor member in the UPU talk less of the exotic seat of a 2nd deputy President General of the union as he does not have knowledge of the constitution and its provisions. The constitution of the UPU made it clear that to successfully impeach or remove a PG of the union from office, it requires two third of the exco and subject to ratification by the council of reps which includes the kings, president generals, the Eweya, Ighele etc. Now the question is does 5 represent two third of 15 executive members? Who are the ‘we’ Onoge kept referring to in his press release? Did Onoge’s preconceived coup received the backing of the council of reps? Does Onoge, a secondary school certificate holder with zero good will stemming from a very ugly past have the carriage and charisma to lead Urhobo? The answers without being told is self explanatory. You see why I called it the Onoge joker? Can a man go to a river, having baptized his wife and children, enters into the river and baptizes himself? He disqualified a duly elected and endorsed President General, appointed himself as acting, endorsed Otega Emerhor as consensus candidate, signed and published a press release and congratulated himself on the same edition of Vanguard news paper, the following day Otega aranged for Osinbajo, the running mate to Buhari to go pay him visit after the Principal, Buhari himself had gone to pay homage to the one and only recognized UPU PG, Chief Joe Orode Omene. Haba, Onoge should know that Urhobos are not fools na!
HOW IS UPU MANAGING THE SITUATION SIR
We felt there is no need joining issues with them lest we give them relevance which is principal thing they are after. But so far the relevant organs of council of rep including forum of kingdom president general, Eweya, Ighele, Urhobo elders and stake holders, have met over the issue and have expelled Tuesday Onoge and his four accomplices completely from the UPU. This action was followed by strong disclaimer to that effect on national dailies by relevant organs of the council of reps such as the forum of president general, and elders forum which are the most important of the organs. More so, our team of lawyers have filed a court process restraining him from parading himself as the President General of the union.
BUT WE HEAR SOME POLITICIANS AND EVEN YOUTH GROUPS HAVE BEING PAYING HOMAGE TO HIM, DON’T YOU THINK WOULD HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE UNION?
The truth is that Urhobo people are not fools as they know Onoge and his purported UPU is nothing but a scam which cannot be taking seriously. The Osinbajo visit and Monday Oyeghe led Urhobo National Youth Council visit are all scam as they were arranged and sponsored to create a make believe before their audience. Urhobo people who Onoge is that he cannot be taken serious, bearing in mind his ugly antecedence. He cannot call a congress or organize any function as a President General he claims to be and Urhobos will attend. He does not even have access to the Urhobo house as he cannot use any facility of the Union having being expelled as a black leg. Above all, I really feel there is no need to join issues with this purported faction as it would certainly die a natural death. That is one of the reasons the President General of the union, Chief Engr Joe Orode Omene has not responded to calls ordering for Onoge’s arrest on grounds of impersonation. Why did I say it would did I say it would die a natural death? By the time he calls for congress or invites Urhobos for any function in the name of UPU and nobody responds, he would call himself to order. Besides I don’t think Olorogun Otega Emerhor would be willing to lavish his hard earned money on this illusion after the election. He is facilitating them now probably because he feels he could use them to achieve his aim of dividing Urhobo votes. But on the contrary, he would certainly be disappointed at the end. Onoge and his cohorts would certainly answer their fathers by the time election is over.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE ALEGATION OF CORRUPTION LEVIED AGAINST THE PRESIDENT GENERAL?
The truth of the matter is that Urhobo people know the financial antecedence of the President General and his passion for Urhobo progress and as such cannot be deceived to believing otherwise. That was why the council of representatives reposed confidence in him by making him a substantive President General after the death of the former President General, Late Gen Patrick Aziza. Ordinarily, by the vacuum created, as the 2nd deputy, Tuesday Onoge was supposed to become the 1st deputy President General all things being equal. But the house disagreed! Why? Because of the man’s antecedence. If history is anything to reckon with, you would find out that the actual problem of UPU started when Tuesday Onoge came into the system. Maybe I should seize this medium to unveil certain facts Urhobos need to know. It was Chief Arc O.C. Majoroh who recommended him into the union as a 3rd vice president general on account of his late elder brother’s goodwill, I mean late Professor Onoge who was a strong Urhobo patriot. But as soon as he came into the system, he started manifesting his division and spoiler syndrome. Before long, he became Late Gen. Aziza’s man Friday and he succeeded in spoiling the strong age long bond of relationship that existed between the late President General and his 1st deputy, Chief Arc O.C. Majoroh. He saw Majoroh as a threat to his game plan, hence wiping him off his track became paramount in his agenda. Isn’t it surprising how shortly, a 3rd deputy became the prime minister, chairing all major organizing committees including the 3 Urhobo day celebration organized by the Aziza led UPU even in the midst of 2nd and 1st deputy. From those three events and fleet of other shoddy deals he carried out, he bought lots of landed properties. When Chief Gen. Aziza died, I witnessed how Onoge kept lobbying to be made chairman organizing committee of the funeral ceremony. At the end, Onoge could not account for a lot of money under his custody as the chairman of the committee. What a shame, that is to say, even in the grave, Onoge exploited his master. What about his late brother, the professor? Onoge didn’t wait for the family to finish mourning their deceased before he rented his house along Warri Sapele road to Saliba Mukoro for his governorship campaign. As Uvwie President General for two years, his records of financial impropriety are still there. I could go on and on. As much as I do not wish to expose anybody’s dirty linen, I feel it is important to note that, those who live in glass house shouldn’t throw stones. A thief has no moral justification to call another man a thief. Above all, by principle of collective responsibility, if Onoge is accusing the President General of corruption, then he cannot exonerate himself being part of the team. Onoge should know that there is absolutely nothing wrong in responding to an invitation by the president and there is nothing wrong in accepting kolanut from the presidency if any. For instance, just like Otega Emerhor and Ogboru extended Christmas gestures to us, Okowa also did. Do we now say because of Uvwiamuge declaration, we shouldn’t accept Okowa’s Christmas or we shouldn’t open our door for consultation? Like I said earlier, we should try and understand the implication of Uvwiamuge declaration. I think part of Onoge’s grievances which he failed to include in his press release is the fact that, unlike the Late General Aziza’s regime, he is not given the opportunity to trade under the Chief Engr Joe Omene led UPU. More so, he should tell Urhobos that he is angry because he was not among those that went for the Abuja visit. I am not against pointing accusing fingers, but Onoge and Aboki Mumakai Onagha should put their facts on the table for quantitative analysis just as facts about Onoge’s corrupt practices as enumerated earlier are available in achieve. What so ever a man soweth according to the bible, shall he reap. The same way he tactically skimmed Chief Arc Majoroh, Elder John and other resourceful UPU personalities out, he has skimmed himself out. People who truly know Onoge wouldnt want to have anything to do with him. Urhobos are not ignorant of his greed and lost for money which he has just displayed by availing himself to be used by Otega to scarify the future of Urhobo nation. God would not allow him to succeed in Jesus Name.
WE ALSO HEARD HE IS MAKING MOVES TO INAUGURATE HIS OWN YOUTH WING, HOW TRUE IS THAT?
Smiling, he does not have the capacity to do so! You would observe that the youth wing has been so quiet over the recent development, resisting all press engagements. It is not because we are weak, but we wanted the parent body to give us the approval to swing into action. Though we are intellectuals but we have the capacity to do both the good, bad and the ugly. As leaders, we only chose the path we wish to go. The sponsored group, led by Monday Oyeghe, that paid the said courtesy call to Onoge in the name of Urhobo youths has been sanctioned and blacklisted at the moment. The implication is that no Urhobo patriot or politician would associate or do business with him anymore as he shares the same antecedence and similarity with Tuesday Onoge. Monday Oyeghe , initially was nominated to be part of the UPU Youth Wing, but when we interrogated his antecedence, we found out that he is full of appetite and cannot be trusted on any worthy course. Take for instance, Monday Oyeghe was one of those who went round the twenty four kingdoms condemning and giving kingdom president generals and kings reasons not to vote for Onoge as 2nd deputy PG during the last UPU election. But because of his appetite and lost for money, he is now pledging loyalty to him irrespective of what he knows and has done against Onoge. Monday Oyeghe should know that he is sowing a very dangerous seed that would sure affect his future political career and that of his children as these antecedences would remain indelible in the sands of time. The value of honesty and credibility pays and shouldn’t be sacrificed at the altar of shortsightedness. We heard he took to his alliance with Onoge and Otega on the promise that he would be made President of their version of youth wing. By their choice of Monday Oyeghe, Onoge and Aboki Onaigha failed to understand that we have passed the analog age. In confirmation, we have been receiving calls from some of our boys that Monday Oyeghe is lobbying them to join forces with him to form the Onoge Ighele of which they’v been turning him down wherever he goes. Urhobo youths are not fools. No sane and patriotic Urhobo youth would allow himself to be used at the detriment of his future and that of his children. Their Ighele plan will keep meeting failure as we will not give them a place to stand in Urhobo land. A case in view was what happened on the 14th of February. They sent sms round that they would be inaugurating their youth wing on the 14th of February at Uvwiamuge. Following the information, we deployed boys, military men and Bakasi to the venue in anticipation of their arrival. We waited all day, we couldn’t find any of them. No doubt, the experience would have been memorable for those that would have survived if they had come.
WHAT ABOUT THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND PUBLICATION DONE BY ONE CHIEF AWVEROSUO OKORO WHO CLAIMED TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF UPU YOUTH WING?
Smiling, you see, Avwerosuo Okoro is a senior comrade in the struggle who knows the enormity and repercaution of Onoge’s action. He was the pioneer UPU Youth Wing President during the regime of Late Chief Benjamin Okumagba. It is highly ridiculous and potentially damaging for an elderly man of over 50 years old who left the scene of youth activism and struggle over 10 years ago to still pilot himself as a youth. Avwerosuo has long outgrown the age bracket of youth. We accord him respect as an elder and a very senior comrade. That is why we always invite him for our functions. When the news came, my PRO, Marcus Ekure advised we should call his attention before taking any action against him of which we did. But he declined involvement with the Onoge’s project. He took exception to the purported publication and announcement, claiming some persons are out to tarnish his image. However, he admitted being invited by Ahaji Mumakai, Onoge’s publicity secretary for a meeting but had no knowledge of the agenda until he stumbled on it. He also declined to making those statement that were credited to him in the publication, saying he would explain in details when we meet. You can now see how much desperation and quest for power has blindfolded Onoge and his sponsor that they no longer use their head?
FINALY SIR WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR URHOBO YOUTHS WHO ARE REALY LOOKING UP TO YOUR GOVERNMENT TO PUT THINGS IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE
I want to seize this medium to salute our youths for their relentless support and effort towards the actualization of the Urhobo governorship agenda of the Uvwiamuge declaration. It implies there is a very high level growth in political awareness. You will agree with me, going by the personality make up of the Youth Wing and its strides so far, it is one of the best thing that has happened in the history of Urhobo youth government. My executive members are working tirelessly everyday to put Urhobo youths in their pride of place. As evident in the interview with our PRO, Comrade Marcus Ekure 2 weeks ago, my administration has so much to give to Urhobo youths. Plans are under way, in a week or two we shall inaugurate all the kingdom chapters of the UPU Youth Wing for effective representation, mobilization and information dissemination across the kingdoms. Besides the present political pursuit, we have taken some positive achievements of strategic importance to the Urhobo youths with view to creating employment, skill acquisition and other youth empowerment opportunities. In no time, after the inauguration, these benefits would start speaking across our various kingdoms. All we need continuous support and belief in the UPU. As for the issue of Onoge and his sponsors, we should not allow that to distract our focus on the attraction of our struggle. God bless all Urhobo nation.