By Akpomudiare Justin
On March 18th 2023, when the people of Delta State went out to vote for a civilian governor, the greater majority may have heeded the advice of an erudite French poet who urged that virtuous minds should actively and vigorously scorn the vices that wicked minds stimulate, it was therefore not surprising that the majority of voters in Delta state rejected Senator Ovie Omo- Agege, the face behind the stealing of the national symbol of Legislative authority in the National Assembly in full glare of a global audience. Furthermore, voters in Delta State have several other reasons for an outright rejection of Senator Omo Agege that bear further explication.
At first there were some Deltans who were willing to embrace the democratic notion of such a politician entering the race for the highest office in Delta state, if only in the hope that reelection concerns might motivate other political actors to behave in the voters’ best interest, but the entry of Senator Ovie- Omo Agege into the race further allowed closer scrutiny of his public records. Under public scrutiny it was unearthed that he had a fuzzy and shady past record in the United States of America where he was reportedly disbarred from practicing Law in the United States of American for an offence he committed in 1995 which involved a case of forgery and fraud for which he was charged in the Los Angelese County Superior Court with case number BA111331hich indicated in the charge sheet that on or about March 7, 1992 h3 committed the crime of forgery of check in violation of Penal Code section 470, felony. Where he signed a check in the name of Elpert Defrietas in the amount of $890 and attempted to pass the said check as a true and genuine check knowing that the check was forged with the intent to defraud the Bank of America, Ahined Mahome and Elpert Defrietas among other counts. He was convicted for Forgery on November 30, 1995 and in April 12, 1998 the state bar court issued an order suspending him from practicing Law in Carlifornia for two year effective May 30, 1996.
Many Deltans were keenly aware, unlike in the United States where he could not escape accountability and the Law that he escaped accountability in Nigeria owing to the protection he received from his principals and the reward he received for debasing democracy, receiving the position of a Deputy Senate President for stealing the national legislative mase in the chamber of the national Assembly, he thus became a poster boy for all the policy missteps and governance mishaps of the APC regime in the eyes of Deltans, the failings of the Government became his failings, and they were ample; such as the Naira Re- design a policy that brought so much anguish to voters that they took unabated into the polling units.
The hardship of the naira re-design was accompanied by many others, including unrelenting fuel queues, the severe insecurity of lives and property where many Deltans could not farm or fish in their homelands, while those who harmed them were protected by the same people that Omo-Agege served and venerated. By all metrics, it was clear to all Deltans that voting for Omo-Age was like bringing the ant-infested wood into the Government House in Delta state.
While, these burdens weighed heavily on Senator Omo-Agege with respect to accountability, which is requirement that elected leaders or public officials have to answer to the common citizens regarding their actions, decisions or indecisions during the time they are or were occupants of the public offices, the test for transparency, which is allow for public scrutiny of what a public official did or does in and out of public office, was even a more difficult test for Senator Omo-Agege; many Nigerians and particularly Deltans were shocked that Ovie Omo-agege voted against E-transmission of polling units results using BVAS after boasting and lying to the whole world that he single-handedly wrote the 2022 Act. Having claimed to have authored the Act he vehemently and publicly voted against the most important part of the Act that the public yearned for.
Furthermore, although he was voted into the Senate to represent the entire Delta Central Senatorial Area, he concentrated most of the constituency benefits he obtained from the office in his home town Orogun, which in the annals of Urhobo history contrasted completely from the template of even development for Urhoboland which the foremost urhobo leader, late Chief
Mukoro Mowoe demonstrated, when he influenced the location of Eku hospital Urhobo College and the Government College Ughelli which spread development even across the length and breadth of the community.
Like the community, individuals were not also spared his narcissistic venom, Urhobos and Deltans alike who could have been helped to attain higher pedestals were set back by the personal ambitions and vengeful desires of Omo-Agege to be the pre-eminent and only force in Delta, both, strong grounds for this premise is laid by reports that he lobbied against excellent performers from Delta state including , Sir Richard Odibo: who after his nomination for the position of National commissioner for the Board of Census Commission, he clandestinely instigated petitions to have him removed until other Deltans strongly intervened to block his petition; he was similarly involved in lobbies against illustrious Delta sons such as Barr. Mike lgini that Nigerians have generally acknowledged and applauded for his incorruptibility competence and integrity throughout his service in INEC; within the political patronage circles that elevated him, he turned his back against Great Ogboru, the force of whose political whirlpool swept him into political prominence and in the same way he turned his back against Chief Joe Omene whom he described as an insurgent leader after riding on his support.
It therefore did not come as a surprise that he was rejected at the polls by most Deltans because of his personal, community and national failings, indeed,Senator Omo-Agege was never really a serious contender for the position of governor of Delta state, his opportunistic dalliance in the APC could not deceive the Delta people who knew him well for what he truly stands for, a man that stimulates scorn due to his many vices.
Dr Akpomudiare Justin
Writes from Ughelli in Delta state