By Julius Akpovire-Enyeh
The story of the immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan is synonymous to “Joseph” in the Holy Book, the Bible, whom despite persecution, hatred and victimization stood tall because God was with him. From his days as a commissioner, it has been one battle to the other but Dr. Uduaghan has always triumphed no matter the forces against him.
In saner political climes, the electorate would be out there looking for the brightest and the best of candidates; those with the requisite experience, character, clout and courage as well as the vision to right the wrongs of the past. But here, sad to say, some of us take obscene pleasure at running our heroes down. Must we stand logic on its head all on the altar of political expediency? Should we castrate our conscience on the lure of the lusty lucre?
These were the pertinent questions that come to mind, after reading through several tissue of lies, propaganda, unsubstantiated allegations against the former governor of the “Big Heart” state.
Since the defection of Dr. Uduaghan from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the political tension in the Delta PDP has risen over fear of the unknown as the 2019 general election draws near.
Latest is a letter credited to Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark JP to the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and published in some National Dailies of Monday, October 1, 2018, warning against the imposition of Dr. Uduaghan as sole candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta South senatorial district.
Reading Chief Clark’s letter leave one astonished as to when has the Niger Delta leader became a member of the APC to be worried and concerned about its affairs? None of the Delta South senatorial aspirants in the party have cried foul; then, why is Chief Clark troubled? Surely, it’s the *‘voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau’.*
It’s important to note that unlike the PDP, all aspirants under the APC are men of purpose with desire to cause change in the lives of the people, hence, it’s a united voice. Therefore, the allegation is baseless, false, and neither here or there. The publication credited to the Ijaw leader is completely done in bad faith, and with malicious intentions to deliberately halt the soaring public support, ovation and acceptance that the aspiration of Dr. Uduaghan is enjoying from preponderant majority of the people in Delta South and to also drag the entire APC leadership into disrepute. The allegation is an attempt to cause disintegration in the Delta APC family.
For the avoidance of any iota of doubt, Dr. Uduaghan has been on the campaign, moving from Itsekiri to Ijaw and Isoko areas in the past few weeks lobbying delegates to vote for him and telling them the reasons why they should give him their mandate; so, where does imposition come from? Since his ambition to contest the Senatorial seat became public, support has poured in from the whole Delta South and beyond.
This is a man whom the PDP government led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, out of envy and vendetta killed key human capital programmes, projects and legacies initiated by him during his tenure as the governor of the state. These include viable initiatives like the Delta Education Marshal popularly known as ‘Edumarshal’, free health care services, scholarship skills, free maternal care, overseas scholarships funding, Free WAEC, NECO and subsidy on public transportation which were embraced by the masses wholeheartedly. EduMarshal was to eradicate ‘street culture’ and pave way for ‘learning culture’. That has been cruelly dumped. EduMarshal that was jettisoned by the PDP-led government is being adopted by a progressive state like Edo and it is doing well there, helping the citizens.
It must be stated however, that in this seedy season of campaigns of calumny, loaded lies are freely hawked in the political market place, to score undeserving points; it has become imperative to put the records straight.
Uduaghan distinguished himself in all the sectors he served. He is arguably one of the most successful politicians the Niger Delta have produced in recent times. His influence and popularity were not earned through a walk in the park, rather by the dint of his determination to make his people happy. His story is a very loaded one, his development efforts also extended to the Niger Delta region even though he was the governor of a state. He was deeply involved in negotiations with Niger Delta agitators and militants alike which let to peace in the region. Of course, where there is peace, there is development.
If one counts every infrastructure dotted all over the state, a greater percentage of them would definitely bear his finger of approval. That is the lot of a man who was trusted enough by the former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, a big fish in all ramifications, to wear his big shoes as the governor of the state after the former had governed for eight years.
What has, however baffled a lot of political watchers within the country and beyond, was why an achiever like Dr. Uduaghan went into hibernation after serving out a meritorious gubernatorial period despite pressure from his people when a lot of his under-achieving colleagues found themselves in the chambers of the National Assembly Complex, Abuja. When he addressed pressmen recently, the Itsekiri-born politician answered the question. He had said he took that option in the interest of peace in the state.
What more does Uduaghan need to convince the good people of Delta South that he possesses the sterling leadership qualities to bring change in the zone? Little wonder that during his 60th birthday, Chief Olu Falae, former secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria described Uduaghan as one of the people who have a lot of experience which is basically lacking in Nigeria.
Uduaghan’s mission to the upper chamber is simple and clear: “The people of Delta South has suffered neglect in the last 15 years; therefore, he is on the race to offer his people quality and effective representation that will put smile on their faces and also extend same to the Niger-Delta region by pursuing quality legislation that will lead to the end of the crisis in the zone.” Dr. Uduaghan has the requisite qualities to take development to the zone.
His traducers have come up with various vacuous allegations against his person, none of which they have been able to prove. The million-naira question therefore, is: Who is afraid of Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan?
• Akpovire-Enyeh wrote from Warri, Delta State.