By Goodluck Edafe
SHORTLY after the March 28, 2015 Senatorial election, I wrote the title, “Omo-Agege: A taste of defeat”. In that particular outing, I pointed to Omo-Agege of the need to experience the pain – emotional trauma that injustice and election rigging could bring to the oppressed. I held in that piece that what happened to Omo-Agege at the Senatorial election, it is simply reaping from what was sown. I accused him of teaming up with some notorious fellows in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to repeatedly rob Chief Great Ogboru of victory at the governorship elections in the state. I further accused him of helping to erect in the state a political system that undermined credibility and strives only in process manipulation, election rigging and promotion of mediocrity and quackery. In the end, I commended his courage for dumping the PDP to work towards the actualization of the Urhobo governorship aspiration. It was a hard truth mixed with commendation. Few days after the publication, I got a call from a strange number who introduced himself as Mr. Godwin Anaughe, Senior Assistant to Chief Ovie Omo-Agege. What is it I asked him? With a humble, cool, friendly and persuasive tone, he tried to educate me on the reasons behind some of the ‘perceived negative’ actions his boss had taken in the past. For almost an hour, Anaughe tried hard to persuade me to accept that Omo-Agege is a good man, well meaning and has good intentions for Urhobo. Instead of antagonism, enmity and meaningless rambling, Mr. Anaughe asked for peace, friendship, understanding, love, unity. We ended the conversation on a brotherly note. Thank God for Omo-Agege to have had such a polished, humble and understandable young man of this dispensation as SA. For sure, Anaughe understands my concerns. He understands that society has certain minimum expectations of leaders and that my intentions were not with hatred to diminish the political fortune of his boss but driven by a failure of expectation. They want to do better and they embraced my criticism.
Few months later, the Appeal Court in Benin dropped the sledged hammer. The first was the case between the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Hon Halims Agoda and Chief Ighoyota Amori of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Amori won but before anyone could say jack, a church thanksgiving service perhaps to damn the loser was hurriedly put in place. But that was not the end of the road. It was just round one if it were to be a boxing game. But they failed to know that a winner in round one could be a loser in round two. For sure, if I was SA to Amori, I would strongly advise against any hurried thanksgiving service except where it became necessary for our victory in the next round or for our effective performance in the floor of the Senate. Apparently, for wont of quality advisers or perhaps a rejection of it, the church thanksgiving held sway, and only for the Appeal Court to terminate the joy a week later. The first winner suddenly becomes the second loser. The new development made wonderful news headlines in the papers. In that regard, I wrote another piece, “Amori’s thanksgiving and Omo-Agege recovery of mandate”. Whether I accept it or not, till this moment, people call Amori my brother. At the UPU, they call him my brother; on the streets they call him my brother. They are not far from the truth. Even when Jesus tried to educate us about our neighbor, the location of birth determines brothers and sisters in our country. It is our orientation. Some that hate President Buhari inspite of his good works call former president Jonathan our brother. All the bad news and embarrassment that his administration has caused our region does not matter to them. Undeniably, Amori is my brother and I just feel I should tell my brother some hard truth, after all, they say ‘He who loves you tells you that your mouth smells’. I told Amori that his hurried thanksgiving service was thoughtless, unwarranted and in bad faith. I told him that every man who rejoices at injustice when another man is involved is bound to have its own fair share of injustice someday in the future. More importantly, I told him that the time has come for him to have a moment of reflection and self-examination – a moment to align with the aspiration and wishes of his Urhobo people. Alhaji Mu’azu was PDP national Chairman yet he aligned with the aspiration of the North to eject President Jonathan from Aso Rock in the 2015 presidential election. The PDP lost at the election to the APC in Bauchi his home state. Asked by the press to comment and he simply said, “We tried our best”. It is patriotism and love for home. Also, Vice President Namadi Sambo does not live in the mentality of the Urhobo politicians’ in destroying the home advantage to please an outsider. He was Vice-President to President Jonathan yet his heart and spirit lie with the wishes of his people – the North. The PDP was humiliated in his Kaduna state. Evidently, he wouldn’t please Jonathan over his people. For sure, they do not think the way the Urhobo politicians in the PDP think. I told Amori that politics in our state cannot continue to ride endlessly on the wheel of desires for fleeting material vanities for which the Urhobo political advantage has become jeopardized and greatly devalued. And that no civilized politician in our kind of political arrangement will continue to work against the interest of its people and nation without being hurt in the inside. I simply asked him to rebrand his politics and reposition his public image.
As it is, is there anything significantly different in what I told Omo-Agege in the first article and what I told Amori in the second? But, unlike the Omo-Agege’s civil team of advisers, one loquacious Mr. Johnson Idjahboro who claimed to be Amori’s aide and who appeared to be wearing a shoe that is far bigger than his leg took the path of ignominy. With a real or pseudo name, he went virile on Facebook with insults and boasts. Idjahboro as he styled himself does not deserve my reply. He got a basket full of responses from both Urhobos and non-Urhobos who understand the duties of a Personal Assistant. Unarguably, he does not have the grace and civility of an aide. He thought that insults and his pedestrian display of anger is what his boss needs to win public acceptance and trust. Idjahboro by his posts on Facebook represents the kinds of aides who taint the image of their boss or push them into unnecessary acrimony with people and guilt of bloodshed. But I know his pain was not because Amori lost but because he lost a source of survival. He boasted that Omo-Agege will not be given a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and would never be sworn-in at the Senate. He boasted about reclaiming the mandate from Omo-Agege at the same Appeal Court. Where is Omo-Agege today? Was he given a certificate of return by the INEC? Was he sworn-in at the Senate? That is the naivety and folly of cheap opportunists. But, if I were a mumu as he posted, evidently, he is a bigger mumu. It is only a mumu who wouldn’t know that the courts do not act in the way he wanted. A mumu who runs his mouth not based on the position of law but on the pain of losing the job of an aide. An aide with a mentality of area boys. But where was Idjahboro in 2006 when Amori was faced with the stigma of betraying Urhobo. I mean when Amori needed supporters who would believe his story and tell the people he was innocent. Obviously, only those who seek after Amori for pecuniary gain could advertize a paper love for him. I know that once Amori is able to genuinely change his style of politics, he would directly and indirectly recruit for himself a multitude of true lovers; not lovers like Idjahboro who lacks the temperament, moral content and intellectual requirements to win even enemies to favour his boss.
The difference in the Omo-Agege’s team of advisers and Amori’s team is orientation and background training. It is a disparity occasioned by levels of civilization. One is rich in exposure; the other is naive and queer. One is productive, civil and conventional; the other is incompetent, petulant and counter-productive. There is need for Urhobo politicians to avoid the burden of mediocre aides. Aides who create problems for leaders rather than help them solve the problems of society and promote the common good. Amori, in my view, deserves more than the likes of Idjahboro as aides. But, I congratulate Omo-Agege. As I noted in my last edition, your thanksgiving should be in the form of quality representation. The expectations are high. Urhobo must return back to its rightful place in the comity of ethnic nations in Nigeria and Delta State.