The attention of the Urhobo people has been drawn to a report in the Vanguard of Thursday September 4, 2014 credited to the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State, Chief (Barr.) Peter Nwaoboshi, in which he made some unsavoury remarks concerning the position of our revered Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) on the question of Uduaghan’s successor in the 2015. As a proud Urhobo man, I was shocked that the chairman of the PDP could heap such undeserving insults on the Urhobo nation, in his attempt to defend Delta North’s false claim that it is their turn to produce the Governor of Delta State in 2015.
However, as a concerned PDP member, my first reaction was to engage Nwaoboshi privately despite the gravity of the insults contained in the said report against the entire Urhobo nation. But when he wrote to me in a text message that “I am happy we won despite your people opposition. We will continue to win. Watch the margin of defeat in the next election” after initially writing that “I don’t reply people like you” I decided to do this public reply to set the record straight and put the lie to all the claims by Nwaoboshi. By deliberately falsifying history to justify his flawed position, Nwaoboshi has betrayed a seminal crisis of political memory of the worst form that should not be associated with a party chairman. I reckon that if his claim that “Urhobo did not support former Governor James Ibori and Governor Uduaghan and so do not have right of claim under PDP in the race for the party gubernatorial ticket” was not debunked, it could destroy party solidarity and cause irreparable damage to the strategic partnership between the Urhobo nation and the PDP ahead of the 2015 polls. I also believe that to ignore the ranting of this misguided political renegade who appears determined to destroy the unprecedented unity in our party in Delta state and wreck havoc on the party ahead of the 2015 general election will be a great disservice to the party. My task here is to educate Nwaoboshi, an abysmally poor student of history and put the record straight for the present generation and posterity.
1. Let it be understood that the statement by UPU is not inflammatory in any way. UPU is the apex organisation of the Urhobo people worldwide and it has the mandate to speak on issues bordering on their traditional, political and socio-economic well being. While UPU will not give directive to non-Urhobos, it has the statutory right to guide Urhobos in Delta Central, Warri South and Patani LGAs as well as all Urhobos wherever they may be on the surface of the earth on their conduct be it political or otherwise. It is in the exercise of that mandate that UPU through its Publicity Secretary Chief Mike Okenini issued the Press statement of Wednesday September 3, 2014, reiterating the decision of the Urhobo nation on the 2015 governorship election popularly known as the Uvwiamuge Declaration taken on Friday March 28, 2014 at the UPU Cultural Centre in Uvwiamuge-Agbarho and calling to order Urhobo politicians who are working against the spirit of that declaration.
2. In that statement, UPU did not give directive to the Anioma nation to which Nwaoboshi belongs and whose interests he tried, but woefully failed to protect. Neither did UPU give any directive to the Isokos, the Itsekiris, the Ijaws or any ethnic group outside the Urhobo. I therefore wonder what the business of Nwaoboshi is in trying to interfere with UPU’s directive to its own people. On this note, Nwaoboshi should apologise publicly for the unwarranted outbursts against our revered UPU leadership and the entire Urhobo people. I want to emphasise that UPU has every business with PDP not only in Delta State, but also nationally as Urhobo people are major stakeholders in the party as justified by our past support.
3. The most alarming lie traded by Nwaoboshi in his outburst is that the Urhobos did not vote for PDP in 1999 or in any other election in the state from1999 till date. That is a lie from the pit of hell. In 1999, aspirants from all the three senatorial districts of Delta state contested for the ticket of the two major political parties of the time, the PDP and All People’s Party (APP). James Ibori from Oghara flew the PDP ticket while Chief Moses Kragha from Udu was candidate of the APP. Urhobo voted en masse for PDP as Ibori won in Ethiope West, Ethiope East, Ughelli South, Ughelli North and Sapele LGAs while Kragha won in his Udu, Uvwie and Okpe LGAs. Also the majority of the State House of Assembly and National Assembly seats in Delta Central were won by the PDP. Urhobo also gave PDP the highest votes from Delta State in the 1999 presidential election.
4. In 2003 when another Urhobo, Chief Great Ogboru of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD), challenged Ibori at the polls, the Urhobo people advised the latter to step down for the former. Although, he declined the advice, the people went on to support Ibori who won in 6 of the 8 local government areas in Delta central losing only Udu and Ethiope East. Again, the PDP won all the Delta Central seats at both State and National Assemblies and Urhobo gave the PDP the highest votes from Delta State in the 2003 presidential election.
5. In the April 2007 poll, Ogboru was Uduaghan’s major challenger and despite the fact that Ogboru is an Urhobo, every Urhobo PDP stalwart including myself worked hard to ensure that Uduaghan won in 7 of the 8 local government areas in Delta Central, losing only Udu LGA with a paltry 8 votes.
6. In 2011, Ogboru did better in Delta Central but this was not limited to Delta Central alone. He even won in Nwaoboshi’s Oshimili North, where PDP lost the House of Assembly seat to Accord Party as a result of Nwaoboshi leadership failure which traded off the fortune of the party through his garrison approach to politics, being manifested again in the statement under contention. It is significant to note that in spite of having an Urhobo in the race in 2011, Delta Central gave Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan 102, 725 votes against the paltry 84, 985 votes he got from Nwaoboshi’s Delta North.
7. In the same election, Delta Central voted overwhelmingly for the PDP Presidential candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, posting an impressive 824,000 votes of the I, 368, 851 total votes cast in the state. Delta North gave a meagre 149,000 votes and Delta South accounted for the rest votes. The implication is that Delta North and South which Nwaoboshi wants to rely on in 2015 to deliver President Goodluck Jonathan, should he decide to seek re-election, which I believe he would, could not produce as much as 40% of votes cast in 2011. The figure above is beside the votes of Urhobos in Warri South LGA who are over 80% of the total voting strength of the LGA as well as Urhobos of Patani LGA. Can Nwaoboshi tell us how many votes he secured for President Jonathan in that election. He certainly cannot because he lacks the rigour and vigour to work for the party’s electoral fortune.
8. Unlike the apparent electoral weakness of the Anioma people in Delta North, the Urhobos in Delta Central command more than 50% of the voting strength of Delta State. Urhobos also have a substantial voting population in Patani and Warri-South, making them the most significant voting bloc in Delta state. Only Nwaoboshi is ignorant of the fact that Urhobo is very strategic to PDP electoral fortunes in Delta State. Nwaoboshi’s apparent lack of strategic thinking is the only reason why he will not recognise the strategic positioning of the Urhobo nation in the politics of Delta state. Need we remind Nwaoboshi that Delta Central gave PDP about 80% of the vote cast in the senate bye-election of October 2013 whereas PDP almost lost the Delta North Senatorial election to DPP in 2011 because of his gross inefficiency which is tantamount to dereliction of duty.
9. Now, between the Aniomas and the Urhobos, who has the right of claim to the PDP gubernatorial ticket in 2015? Has Urhobo not done noble for the PDP contrary to what Nwaoboshi’s warped imagination is spinning? To say Urhobos have no right of claim in the PDP is an affront on the Urhobo nation. There is no justification for Nwaoboshi’s claim that Urhobos have always been opposed to PDP. To the contrary, Urhobo allegiance to the PDP is unparalleled and can never be matched by Delta North while they remain part of Delta State. Urhobo’s support for PDP since 1999 has been consistent and overwhelming especially in the presidential elections. Yet when it was time to enjoy the dividends of their democratic choice, the Aniomas hijacked 14 appointments compared to only 2 which Delta Central got.
10. The Urhobo people are overwhelmingly with the UPU in strongly affirming the creed of the UVWIAMUGHE DECLARATION which is premised on an Urhobo winning the Delta Guber election in 2015 through a free and fair election. Urhobo is not holding PDP to ransom, rather we are entrenching the tenets of democracy by advocating a level playing ground for all. We are opposed to imposition, zoning and exclusion, concepts that constitute anathema to democracy. In fact, since 1999 the governorship has never been zoned to any senatorial district or ethnic group in the state. Aniocha, Ijaw, Ika, Isoko, Itsekiri, Ndokwa, Oshimili and Urhobo politicians have always contested for the seat. Why cry for zoning now? Democracy demands that every eligible candidate can stand for election. Why disenfranchise some as Nwaoboshi is inclined to do?
11. Let us ask Nwaoboshi if he has ever paused to ponder why governorship aspirants all over the state fall over themselves to appoint Urhobos as Directors-General of their campaign organizations if not for the strategic electoral value of the Urhobo people? Nwaoboshi is certainly not the stuff a party chairman is made of. A failed lawyer, Nwaoboshi’s only means of livelihood is political philandering.
12. Additionally, we recall that only recently, Nwaoboshi physically assaulted a distinguished Deltan, Dr(Mrs) Maryam Alli, a serving member of the PDP Board of Trustees. Before that, Nwaoboshi’s lumpen character was demonstrated with his verbal assault on Comrade Ovuzorie Macaulay, the present Secretary to the State Government (SSG) for daring to say the truth that there is no zoning of the governorship position in Delta State. Nwaoboshi’s assault on Macaulay received widespread condemnation and like a dog he ate his vomit by apologizing to Macaulay. These actions of Nwaoboshi which have brought his office to disrepute are enough to call on him to commit political hara-kiri by resigning as the state party chairman or allow party members to remove him. His continued stay in office especially during this critical election season can only cause further disaffection in the party and damage the party’s chances of retaining power in Delta State and Nigeria.
13. The time for Nwaoboshi’s kind of politics is up in Nigeria. It is time for Nwaoboshi to go so that elected political office holders in Delta State will heave a sigh of relief from his financial extortion. Or has he not done enough harm to the party. All PDP stalwarts must begin the task code-named “Nwaoboshi Must Go”. The time is now before he does more damage to the party. An insensitive “oracle” lacking in vision and restraint is a candidate for the rubbish heap and not the elevated Senate Nwaoboshi is deviously scheming to join. It is TIME FOR PETER NWAOBOSHI TO GO!
DR. WILSON OMENE
FORMER CHAIRMAN ETHIOPE WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA AND A PDP CHIETAIN