EMMANUEL UDUAGHAN, FORGIVE HIM FOR HE KNOWS NOT WHAT HE IS DOING

Fejiro Oliver

Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.

Marianne Williamson

Everyone needs help irrespective of the position they occupy, if not from man, it must be God. Divinely enough, we all need the help of man but the one who needs bigger help is the one who forgets his root to his ascension and deliberately scorn the source when there was no cause to do so. Such help cannot come from man but solely of God, after asking for forgiveness from the one who has been wronged; your divine helper.

This is where we should come together as a state, in fasting and prayer, supplication and years for one of our own king, who has missed his step and told the world that on a day that was meant to honor the rulers and past ruler of the land, his own benefactor who singlehandedly installed him as King, was not remembered to be honored even when he as a beneficiary was a member of the committee that planned the whole affairs for over three months.

I still remember the day, so fresh in my memory in August 2012 when against all odds, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan damned every consequences and drove down to Oghara amidst tight security to give the staff of office to Chief Noble Oyibo Eshemitan, a chartered accountant and Managing Director of Hotel Charles David Lot, Effurun, instead of Chief Christopher Ejeyabu, who was 53 years old then and founding principal of Orefe Secondary School, Oghara.

Let me refresh our memories with an investigative report I carried out then on the issue surrounding the installation of Eshemitan as king, for you to understand why this cut on Emmanuel Uduaghan missing out of the awards given by the traditional ruler is the deepest of all and to make it worse, the same person who benefited most publicly made a statement that they forgot. This is the Brutus era… Et Tu Eshemitan?

Let’s go down the memory lane.

“Following the report that Andrew Ibori, another James Ibori brother was dead, Uduaghan was reportedly gone to condole the family, where he was allegedly pushed down. This media report, our search light has found to be untrue. Rather he had gone to meet with the elders to discuss the possibility of installing his candidate, a move the youths rejected. An argument ensued where he kept shouting on top of his voice that he was the Governor, and thus he should be allowed to decide.

This statement infuriated the youths, prompting them to call him an ingrate, who had drank the water of Oghara soil from childhood, schooled in Oghara and now turn round to stab Ibori, who he could not help to get out of jail. Visibly angered by the youth statement, he made to lock the door, where he slipped and fell. His aides noticing his fall began to shoot sporadically in the air, an act which made one of the youth who feared that they may be shot to grab the Governor, insisting that he be killed with his Excellency. Sensing the danger, Uduaghan told his aides, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot”. Left off the hook by the youth, he was bundled into his vehicle and driven off. A message was reportedly sent to Uduaghan that the Oghara youths have banned him from coming to their community again. Chief James Ibori birthday which was due to be celebrated few days after the incident happened was called off by the Governor, since he was the Chief host.

This embarrassing incident the Governor, swore would make him impose his choice of king on the people. Speaking to selected crew of journalists in Peemos Hotel, Warri, he quipped that Oghara does not have a King yet and when they have, he would know. With the war drum beaten, the battle for Kingship begun, with the indigenes firing the first shot. After a careful scrutiny of the two candidates, the anointed choice fell on Chief Christopher Ejeyabu Erijitomah. According to the Urhobo custom the Unugbrodo of Oghara kingdom, who is the head of the traditional council of Chiefs is the only one permitted to pronounce a new king. A report by Delta voice newspaper on their March 21-April 01, 2011 Edition, page 5, with the title, ‘OGHARA POLY MGT CONDOLES COMMUNITY OVER MONARCH’S DEMISE’ and we quote “…the visitors were received in accordance with Urhobo custom by Traditional council of Chiefs led by Chief Samuel Erubami, the Unugbrodo of Oghara kingdom. Also speaking, the Secretary to Oghara traditional council, Chief Duncan Ewhere said, ‘God giveth, God taketh. I thank the Rector and his management crew for the visit”

This position of Chief Erubami has not been contested, until the Governor threw his hat in the ring, prompting late Williams Ibori to rise up and began parading himself as the Unugbrodo of Oghara Kingdom. Knowing the Governor plan to use the state security apparatus to disrupt the crowning of Chief Christopher as the people choice, the Oghara traditional council led by the Unugbrodo of Oghara kingdom and Chief Duncan Ewhere, Chief Christopher was crowned the new Ovie of Oghara kingdom as early as 5am, with the traditional title of HRM Orefe III Uku Oghara – Na ovo. A trace of his genealogy revealed that they had no migration history as both parents till their 6th generations were from Oghara.

In a brutal show of executive might, soldiers were packed to Oghara some days after the first coronation was done, but this time, it was to crown the choice of the Governor, Chief Noble Oyibo Eshemitan.”

And since then, Eshemitan has remained the king of Oghara, benefited from the generosity of Uduaghan while he presided over the state and still benefitting from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa because the former governor gave him the staff of office. He could have given it to anyone else he chose and heaven will not fall but the same man he broke protocols from and never benefitted anything from him was the one who went ahead like John the Baptist after the award was given to now say “It escaped me as well, but the intention was not to take him (Uduaghan) out as someone who did not perform, he was a good man to us and the state and it was not a deliberate thing to exempt him.”

He went further to say that nobody in the planning committee and general meeting of traditional rulers’ council which he was a member dropped another name to be honored. Wow, what an excuse, what a statement, what a way to forget.

If anybody should forget, Eshemitan should not and never forget that his glory today was the architect of Uduaghan. I do not hold brief for the former governor but I have come to realize that he’s a good man with a very good heart whose only mistake was surrounding himself with criminal minded people and sycophants.

It’s a public fact that I never benefited anything from his eight years in government and after his tenure but my relationship and conversation with him over the years has opened my eyes to some things I never knew and built a strong relationship between us. I owe my friends loyalty and truth, to defend them when they cannot defend themselves because of office they occupied or they have occupied.

Eshemitan should know that as a King in Urhoboland and Delta State, he betrayed Uduaghan and stabbed the very heart that pumped eternal royal blood to his generation. The Oghara monarch needs help from God but before he get the help, he owes Uduaghan an apology for sitting in the midst of Kings and when matters of State came up for discussion, he kept quiet when Uduaghan name should be the only song on his lips. That is honor and keeping to the creed of nobility.

Uduaghan may have govern the state and left but whoever he has helped and still helping owe him eternal gratitude like Reuben Izeze has always displayed. The very day I sit in the midst of men and be opportune to chose who to be honored and Hilary Ibegbulem name and DSP Ovie Omo-Agege (through Godwin Anaughe) names does not come out from my mouth, I may have inherited a curse from heaven, for lack of gratitude for the two men who took me up in 2014 that catapulted me to my present level.

Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, forgive the King for he knows not what he has done. Pray to God on his behalf for heaven to forgive him for biting the finger that fed him. Uphold him to your creator to give Eshemitan a heart that chases after posterity and not just prosperity of the moment. They may forget but as long as this pen lives, we will use it to correct them and set the records straight that the future generation will not be misled.

These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver, an investigative journalist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY). He tweets with @fejirooliver86 and IG Handle @elahuva

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