By Abel JohnGold Orheruata
The Urhobos of Delta Central Senatorial District of Delta State, have adopted Olorogun David Edevbie as their preferred and sole Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for the 2023 governorship election in the state.
This was contained in a communique issued on Sunday, April 17, 2022, by the umbrella socio-cultural organisation of the Urhobo nation, Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, and signed by Olorogun Moses Oghenerume Taiga, President-General, Chief Anthony Onoharigho, 1st Deputy President-General, Chief Godwin Notoma, Chairman, Forum of Presidents-General of the 24 Urhobo Kingdoms, Dame Chief (Mrs.) Christy Siakpere, President, UPU Women Wing and Comrade Ovie Ebireri, President, UPU Youth Wing.
Stressing the need for the Urhobo nation to present a common front to ensure that Delta Central produces the next Governor of the state, the UPU said the other aspirants are also qualified and fit persons but pleaded with them to consider the collective interest of the Urhobo nation above personal ambitions and support the decision, pointing out that, ultimately, only one person will occupy the position.
The UPU also apologised and pleaded with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to forgive Edevbie for any wrong for which he may have been angry with him and allow the Urhobo nation to present their best and preferred choice in the overall interest of the development of the state.
In the statement titled “Delta State Governorship 2023: Our Stand; Our Choice,” the UPU said the choice of Edevbie was based on a rigorous engagement with all Delta Central PDP aspirants for the Governorship position from which Edevbie emerged as the best.
“After thoroughly examining and analysing all the aspirants, we have, however, reached the consensus that Olorogun David Edevbie is the best person for the job at this time. Over time he has acquired impressive public sector experience, both locally in Delta State and Federal Governments, and prior outstanding international development finance experience,” the statement said.
“We hereby sincerely plead with all our sons and prevail on them all to support and collaborate with the consensus choice of UPU Worldwide for the collective interest of our dear Urhobo Nation. We ask for their understanding at this critical and trying time in the history of the Urhobo Nation.”
Its action, the UPU said, is in fulfilment of defending, protecting and safeguarding the interests of the Urhobo nation while promoting unity and good relations with other parts of Delta State.
“We need to take note of the current political atmosphere in Delta State and the seeming attempt to deliberately undermine the interest of the Urhobo people in the 2023 Governorship race. In this regard, the Government of the Urhobo Nation, the UPU, is under obligation, at all times and in all circumstances, to defend, protect and promote the interest of the Urhobo Nation and her people. The UPU is unequivocally committed to the emergence of an Urhobo person as the next Governor of Delta State in 2023.”
Explaining the selection process, the body said all the aspirants were taken into confidence on the need to promote a common front and commended them on the friendliness and peacefulness in which they have conducted their consultations.
“To present a united front in the forthcoming primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the UPU had a brainstorming session with each of the Urhobo aspirants. All the aspirants who presented themselves before the UPU in the four-day interactive session performed brilliantly. We acknowledge that they are all eminently qualified and suitable for the job, and each has what it takes to occupy the office of the Governor.
‘We wish to recall admonishing each of the aspirants in the cause of our meeting with them that “the UPU will, in conjunction with all stakeholders, ensure that the Urhobo Nation produces the Governor in 2023. We shall be firm on this and 2023. Be also assured that we shall be fair and just to all the aspirants because we know that you all are eminently qualified for the office. It is just that only one person can go per time.”
The choice of David Edevbie is consistent with their position in the 2014 primaries in which they also endorsed him as their best and sole candidate.
The UPU particularly pleaded with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to accept their choice of David Edevbie, assuring him of their continued mutual friendship and brotherhood.
“We want to appeal to our Governor, His Excellency, Sen. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to forgive Olorogun David Edevbie for any perceived transgression. To forgive is divine. No individual is perfect.
“Your Excellency, we also urge you to allow the Urhobo Nation to choose the candidate of its preference, please. We can assure Your Excellency that if considered necessary, we, as Urhobos, will act as sureties of Olorogun David Edevbie while in the office if, by the grace of God, he wins the Governorship general elections in 2023.”
Restating its belief in the rotation of power by senatorial districts, they thanked various stakeholders of the state especially the traditional rulers and leading political class for keeping with the arrangement.
“The UPU commends all our Royal Fathers across the State and all well-meaning Deltans who have given their support to the rotational policy on senatorial basis, as against ethnic nationality.
“The UPU has absolute faith in the rotation of the Governorship position among the three Senatorial Districts of the State, which, of course, has gone round, having started with Central in 1999 and rounding up now with the North. This rotational policy has brought about peace, mutual respect among the diverse ethnic groups and tranquillity to the State in the last 22 years, paving way for the growth and development, that have been witnessed so far in the State. The policy must, therefore, be encouraged and sustained by all the ethnic nationalities in the State to guarantee the prevailing peace, and prevent the unnecessary rancour, acrimony and violence often associated with campaigns and elections.”
The decision of the UPU, it was gathered, was not only to ensure that the Urhobo Nation does not go into the primaries to divide their votes but, most importantly, to ensure that they present a candidate who will reinforce Governor Okowa’s performance to heighten the development of Delta State for the wellbeing and pride of the citizens.