Delta Can’t Afford To Be In Opposition – Emerhor | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Delta Can’t Afford To Be In Opposition – Emerhor

Posted: Jun 27, 2015 at 2:58 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Olorogun O’tega Emerhor was the All Peoples Congress (APC) candidate in the last Delta State governorship election. In this interview with some Journalists, including AUGUSTINE ADAH, he advises  fair minded elders of Urhobo, the Invie (kings) of Urhobo and other concerned Urhobo to try to bring the two groups of Chief Joe Omene-led faction of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) and that of Chief Tuesday Onoge-led faction of UPU together. He also speaks on other national issues. Excerpts…

In the run-up to the general elections, the choice of who to support split the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) between you and Ogboru. With the elections now over, what steps do you think should be taken to ensure the UPU house is one again?

Olorogun O’tega Emerhor

Olorogun O’tega Emerhor

Olorogun O’tega Emerhor

As you know, the split arose because of the Uvwiamuge Declaration, which was clearly in support of APC, myself and General Muhammadu Buhari. Somehow, the executive led by Chief Omene decided to shift the goal post and throw their support behind PDP that didn’t give the governorship to Delta Central, President Goodluck Jonathan and Ogboru, who was also not contemplated by the declaration, which said any party that gave the governorship to an Urhobo, UPU would mobilise and support it from the governorship to the presidential election. The Omene UPU refused to stand by the declaration. That was what led to the split. And Chief Tuesday Onoge, who stood by the declaration, supported me, APC and Buhari. My position then was that even if UPU didn’t want to stand by the Uvwiamuge Declaration, they should actually wait until the presidential election was over, so that Urhobo is not led into opposition. Again, they refused to take that piece of advice and they went ahead to adopt President Jonathan and Ogboru, both of whom have now failed. But the interest of Urhobo would always be uppermost in the mind of any patriotic Urhobo. My advice is for fair-minded elders of Urhobo, the ivie (kings) of Urhobo and other concerned Urhobo to try and bring the two groups together, because the elections are over, we have a new president, who is General Buhari. We can’t continue to pretend that he is not the president. Of course, Onoge is triumphant, because he backed the right horse and today he is very welcome in the APC family. I am sure Buhari would be willing to see him because of the support he provided to the APC in Delta State. But I believe that in the overall interest of Urhobo, it is necessary for the whole UPU to be brought back together and for those who were wrong in their position to also show some remorse.


You talked of “fair-minded elders,” yet before the elections, these same elders took sides to the extent that interventions from different quarters to save the situation never worked. Do you think anything has changed substantially for the parties to the dispute to listen to these elders?

Of course, something substantial has changed. President Goodluck Jonathan didn’t win the election; General Buhari has won the election! APC has won over 20 states. PDP is now in opposition. Everything has changed. I think everybody sees the direction this country is going and there is no reason we can’t come together now. Urhobo can’t be in opposition. And not just Urhobo; Delta can’t afford to be in opposition. Yes, I agree with you that the so-called fair-minded elders may have had their positions. But above all, there are people who really genuinely didn’t take sides. The body of bishops was very forthright; the ivie were very forthright in this matter. A combination of them and other elders of Urhobo would be able to resolve this problem. It’s not a big problem! People took positions because they could not see tomorrow. Not everybody would have the same foresight or take the same position. That is normal. It’s just that some people took it to the extreme. But I think where we are now, people need to step back. And if you made a wrong calculation, you should be able to say ‘yes, I was wrong.’ That is the correct thing to do. We can’t continue to jeopardise the interest of Urhobo.


Many insist that the crisis in the first place was completely avoidable if UPU had kept to its character as a socio-cultural organisation. Where do you stand on this?

I agree with you on that point. The UPU should not be politicised. It’s not a political party. It should only play the role of helping the people to achieve the objective; even if it’s a political objective. They should not play the politics themselves, which I believe was the mistake that happened. People in UPU were beginning to play the politics themselves. I think going forward, lessons have been learnt, and I think moderation would come in, because when UPU enters the ring, they are the ones defeated, instead of the political party; and that should not be.


 UPU insisted on Urhobo producing the governor or nothing. Today, the governorship resides with Delta North. So, where does that leave UPU and Urhobo?

There is nothing wrong with a group like UPU angling or deciding among themselves that “we are going to fight to make sure the governor comes from Urhobo.” Don’t forget the Anioma people also took that same position. I mean, everybody is free to do that; it’s how you go about it that matters. Even when you take that position, you must realise that your group or tribe alone can’t produce the governor and the governor is going to be for the whole state. Usually, when you take that position, you still reach out to the other groups and try to explain why you believe it is your turn. But I think all that is a bygone matter now. But don’t forget we are in court to challenge the result of the election and we believe we will cancel this election and we will be back to the field. This time around, we believe the wind of change will not be stopped by anybody; not by tribe, not by religion, but the progress of the state will be what will take us there.


 You appear to exude so much confidence that the Election Petition Tribunal will cancel the governorship election in Delta, judging by the difficulties in prosecuting election matters in the country. What evidence are you anchoring your hope on?

Good question! The wind of change will affect the judiciary; it will affect the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); it will affect the security agencies. These are the instruments that have been compromised by those who always want to impose their will. If Buhari says he’s going to fight corruption, it’s going to cut across all sectors of our life. And I believe that is what is meant by wind of change. I believe that any election that will happen under Buhari will happen under a sane environment, because that is where Nigeria must go. Our case is very straightforward; we don’t believe that election took place. We believe they wrote the results. And we have gotten INEC to give us a record of card readers deployed, because they insisted that only card readers must be used for the governorship election and we have those results. We will compare them with what they declared. What we got from INEC is very different from what they declared. In Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, the results they declared are much higher than what the card readers recorded. It is now up to PDP and INEC to reconcile where the results they used to declare the candidates.