By Jon Egie

 

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Mr Chuks Erhire

The Director General of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege constituency office, Mr Chuks Erhire has alleged that there is a gang up against the Urhobo nation by major players of the PDP to emasculate the political prowess of scions of Urhobo in Delta state political space from being capable to contest governorship election on the platform of PDP in 2023 and beyond through the instrument of economic strangulation and hence called on Urhobo people to be wary of the plot and liberate themselves from the political imprisonment by voting the APC in 2019.

In an exclusive interview, Chuks Erhire who is also the Delta state treasurer of the APC gave reasons why the Urhobo people should return Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to the Red chambers.

Among the reasons given by the DG, he said: a vote for Ogboru through the APC will destroy the PDP evil plan against the Urhobo people since it is resolved that Okowa will hand over power to the Ijaw in 2023 and not Urhobo as orchestrated.

Below are other points highlighted from the interview arguing why, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, should be returned to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to continue his quality representation of the Urhobo people.

  • Omo-Agege has given Urhobo nation a voice in national political space
  • He has contributed quality motions vital for Nigeria survival and growth
  • He has provided constituency projects across Urhobo land
  • He is judged as first among equals
  • He has given hope to distressed traders across Urhobo land
  • Every Urhobo household choruses Agege again
  • He has the intellectual capacity and passion to serve
  • He is inspired by the dreams of Mukoro Mowoe for Urhobo land
  • His Challengers are title seekers and jokers

Excerpts

Please introduce yourself

My name is Chuks Erhire. I am the Delta state treasurer of APC and the DG of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege constituency office.

Why do you think the distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege should be returned to the Red chambers?

It is evident, one thing is clear, when you are an incumbent aspiring for re-election, the people use your performance and your antecedents in office as a basis for their decision. We are confident because we know that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has done very well in the three key areas of legislative representation. He has given voice to the Urhobo people; he has done very well in terms of representation. In the senate chambers you cannot talk about senators without mentioning the name of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. He has contributed very quality motions that are vital for the survival and development of Nigeria. He has engaged on very key and fundamental reforms that has brought stability to our polity. The Electoral law that is being reviewed, Senator Omo-Agege played a key role in it, he co-sponsored that bill and by the time all those bills are assented to, of course, our elections will become free, fair and credible. You will recall that he also co-sponsored a bill on Electoral Offenders Commission; it is not enough for someone who is declared by the Court as an electoral thief to lose the seat, hand over the mandate and walk away. If a man goes stealing a goat, for example, and he is caught, of course, the owner of the goat will recover it but prosecution will follow. That is what Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is pursuing at the senate at the moment, that those people who are found out to be electoral thieves should not only lose their seats but should be made to face the consequences of the electoral theft. If you look at the quality of project he has initiated and brought to the Urhobo nation, there is no local government area in the whole of Delta central where you do not have a project provided by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege through his constituency projects or through his capacity to lobby key agencies and parastatals. For this and several other reasons I think the Urhobo nation is very comfortable with what he is doing right now and they will not be ready to lose their best and let charlatans to come and take over the seat.

Comparatively, from the not too distant past, do you say the performance of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege outshines his predecessors?

The facts speak for themselves. I think I will leave that for the Urhobo people to judge but everywhere we go you hear people say it, on the social media and the mainstream media even people in the PDP also acknowledge the fact that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is first among equals for his quality representation of the Urhobo people. Listen, we give it to our brother, late Senator Pius Ewherido, he started excellently well but unfortunately, the cold hand of death snatched him away from us. If you take Senator Pius Ewherido aside, there is nobody you can compare with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as far as this political dispensation is concerned. He has done perfectly well; he has taken Urhobo nation into national political limelight. Beginning from 2019 when Buhari is re-elected, you will see what will become of the Urhobo nation in the national political space.

Apart from the national clout that Omo-Agege has lifted the Urhobo nation to, do you have indices of the macro-economic impact his representation has on the average Urhobo man?

Of course, yes! You will recall that all through 2016 and 2017, Ovie Omo-Agege went across the length and breadth of Urhobo land especially the markets across the Delta central senatorial district to do direct cash transfer to the very distressed traders. We were at the Effurun Market, Ekpan Market, Ugborikoko Market all in Uvwie local government area. In Ethiope East we went to Eku Market, Kokori Market, Abraka Market. In Ughelli North we went to Orogun Market, in fact the markets in all the villages of Orogun.  We were at Ughelli Main Market and Agbarho Market. We were at Otokutu, we were at Ewu Market, and we had to go to Okpare Market and Okwagbe Market all in Ughelli South. In Ethiope West, we were at Oghara, Jesse, Mosogar. In Sapele e were at Amukpe Market and Sapele Main Market. There was no local government we did not go to. In Udu we were at Ujugbale, Ubogo. In Okpe we went to Orerokpe Market, Adeje Market. That 20,000 naira that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was giving to mothers, sisters and our brothers who were traders in those markets, of course, had a great impact and the feedback we have gotten so far is mind blowing. Imagine someone whose entire stock or wares is 5,000 naira and then suddenly getting 20,000 naiara, you have almost like changed the person’s life automatically. A woman that sells iced fish that cannot afford a carton of iced fish and was pairing with someone to sell and then you give her money that can buy almost two cartons. The impact of the exercise is great, if you go round the markets and interview the beneficiaries you will be amazed at their responses and joy. I am thinking that we will do a small media get together with a few of those persons who were given that token cash transfer at the various markets and you will be amazed at the feedback you will get. All of these things have helped to lift our people from hunger and poverty that the lack luster governor in Asaba imposes on them and we hope to do more.

So, you say today Omo-Agege is a household name across Urhobo land?

Of course, everywhere you go it is Agege again. In the last two weeks that we have been going round to distribute relief materials to people who have been displaced by flood, when we meet them instead of seeing people who are sober, depressed and all of that, you see them with joy, dancing with excitement knowing that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is coming because they know that this is the man who always touched their lives, whenever they needed help he is always there at the point of their need and now that he is coming there is hope in the offing. So, for us we are very confident, there is no cause for alarm. I am aware that Senator Omo-Agege is already relating with the presidency to ensure that the trader money initiative is also brought to the senatorial district so that our people who are in the various markets could also benefit from this very wonderful initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari government.

What special traits and capabilities does Omo-Agege possess that has enabled his excellent performance as a senator representing the Urhobo people to outshine his predecessors?

Naturally, preparation is the key. You know, proper preparation precedes proper performance. Number two is capacity; the legislature is not a place for charlatans, you need some level of intellectual capacity to be able to properly engage in legislative business and besides, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is a man that has passion to serve. When you are driven by passion and also driven by a sense of purpose knowing that your people are backward, your people are the fifth largest ethnic nationality that has been consigned to the backyard in national political scene, you will go there with a sense of mission and purpose to say this is what we need to do to bring back the Urhobo nation to where it ought to be in the national political space. So, he did not go there knowing not what to do and because he was driven by passion and he has the mental and intellectual capacity to pursue the legislative business, he went there straight away and began to engage. You will recall that eight months of his mandate were stolen by the political buccaneers in Delta state and by the grace of God through the Court; he was able to recover the mandate. Thereafter, they also went back to work with Senate President, Dr Saraki to deny him the opportunity of being sworn in as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, two months even after the Court has declared him as a senator. But as soon as he got there he hit the ground running. Another thing I want to say is that Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is privilege to have a very wonderful team. We are proud of the team that he assembled, the best hands that you can find in Urhobo land are today working together with Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to ensure that the cries of Urhobo man is crystallized into ideas, motions and bills and all of that to take us out of the woods .

Following his performance in the senate, can you place Omo-Agege in the category of pan-Urhobo nationatist leaders like Mukoro Mowoe?

Leadership is not a destination, it is process. For Mukoro Mowoe our pioneer leader and representative of the Urhobo people in the Midwest House and one time president of the Urhobo Progress Union who helped to found the Urhob College, Mukoro Mowooe is a Visionary the same way Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is a Visionary. Mukoro Mowoe is a mentor even though he is no longer here, the works that he did are some of those things that inspired Senator Ovie Omo-Agege to do some of the things he is doing. His goal is not to pursue and surpass the clout of Mukoro Mowoe as a leader of Urhobo nation but to begin to do those things that Mukoro Mowoe would have done assuming he was alive. You will recall that Mukoro Mowoe died prematurely when the Urhobo nation needed him most and since then there has been a big vacuum and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is in a hurry to do some of those things that can bring the Urhobo nation to its pride of place.

In the circumstance, what would you say of those challenging the re-election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege from other political parties like Hon Evelyn Oboro of the PDP and Ovie Ugwanogho of the SDP?

First you have to understand that people go into business with different goals. In elections there are people whose goal is just to have their names on the ballot such that when you visit INEC website you will find their name there as a onetime candidate of a political party. Of course, I can tell you that for Ovie Ugwanogho who was my colleague in UNIBEN when we were there as students, I am sure he just wants that title. For Evelyn Ojakovo, she is still learning the rope. She is not there yet. It is too premature for her to think that she can step into that big shoe left by great men like Senator David Dafinone, Felix Ibru, Pius Ewherido and now Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. You need some measure of mental and intellectual capacity; Evelyn Ojakovo doesn’t have all of that. She has been in the House of Reps for eight years she should come out with record of her performance. All the records of her achievements, the motions, the bills that she has sponsored, she should show us the inputs of her constituency projects that she has done and all of that for her federal constituency to have necessitated her to wanting to represent the entire eight local government areas of Urhobo land. I think she is just a joker.

Now, give a message to your electorate especially the people of Urhob land.

To the Urhobo people I need to let them know that there is a gang up against us. There is a conspiracy by a cabal in Delta state to destroy the political power of the Urhobo nation and they are doing it through economic strangulation. This was hatched sometime in 2005 in Government House, Asaba and since then, they have been consistently and dutifully executing this agenda to weaken the Urhobo nation politically. They are deceiving us, assuming Okowa wins, that in 2023 they will give power to Urhobo and I tell you it is the biggest lie. Okowa and his cabal have planned to hand over power to Ijaw in 2023. How do they want to achieve that? Recall that in 2007 when Ibori and his people had said that the power would go to Delta South that we had aspirants from Delta North, Delta South and Delta Central; Uduaghan was there, Senator Omo-Agege was there, Pius Ewherido was there, Ejaife Odebala was there, several Urhobo people aspired and Okowa was there too; Otega Emerhor all of them from the three senatorial districts. In 2014 during the PDP primary you will recall that people from the three senatorial districts also aspired: Orubebe from South, Ovie Omo-Agege, David Edevbie, Engr Omene from Central, Okowa and Tony Obuh from North and Okowa won because he was able to give 7,000 US Dollars to each delegate in that election. Now in 2023 what do they want to do? The plan to give 15,000 US Dollars and I ask, across the Urhobo land, show me one PDP man that can raise 50 million naira?  They have strangulated all of them and that is part of the gang up to ensure that in 2023, no Urhobo person is able to rear his head to aspire for the PDP governorship ticket. So, they have their plans, what I need to tell the Urhobo people is the time is now for us to redeem ourselves. The time is now for us to come together to work and make Ogboru our governor in 2019. That their vote for APC in 2019 is a vote for the liberty of Urhobo nation, a vote for APC in 2019 will be a vote for the destruction of that evil plan against the entire Urhobo nation. I challenge them to tell me that this is not true and I will ask them if David Edevbie who is currently the Commissioner for Finance is being allowed to do his job as Commissioner for Finance. Ask David Edevbie if he can raise 100 million naira for any election now. So, for the Urhobo people, please Senator Ovie Omo-Agege means well for you, he is here as your messenger and he is doing the job well. Urhobo people say, Omororioro oya she oro ke, meaning you sell gold to those who know its value. Ovie Omo-Agege knows the value of the mandate that has been given to him and that is why he is working day and night to ensure that he doesn’t disappoint the people. He will do more if he is given the chance in 2019.

Thank you.