2023: UPU Twist in Gbagi’s Endorsement Exposes the Hypocrisy of Some Urhobo Leaders by Zik Gbemre

Politics State News

I consider it rather unfortunate, and a complete disgrace and shamelessness of one’s supposed integrity, that a man who calls himself the supposed parallel President-General (PG) of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), would do something with his supposed Executives, and suddenly turn around to publicly deny what he did. That is how best I can describe Olorogun Moses Taiga, who, as the supposed UPU parallel PG, could, with his Executive members, openly endorsed Chief Kenneth Gbagi for his Governorship ambition in 2023, but only came around again and publicly denied this through the Publicity Secretary of the parallel UPU, Oshevire, describing Gbagi’s visit to him as a “private visit.”
This is rather shameful because pictures and videos (countless of which I have seen), of the said meeting that was like a big ceremony, where the said endorsement was made by Taiga, do not lie. The evidence is very clear in the said pictures and videos, which showed when Taiga was speaking in Urhobo language, ‘repeatedly’ said that “no one should drag the 2023 governorship ticket with Gbagi”, and that there is no other person again (referring to Gbagi), who will come out from Urhobo to contest for the 2023 governorship election. That is not even the point. The point here is that why should Olorogun Moses Taiga and his parallel UPU Executives, having collected kola nuts and drinks, including the ‘Isiawhare’ (Kola nut wedge money), and gave their endorsement to Gbagi, but then turned back to say that he did not endorse Gbagi through his parallel UPU Publicity Secretary?
Is that the kind of person that should be a leader of one of the most vibrant and active socio-cultural group in the country? A tribal and socio-cultural leader who cannot stand by his words, is not fit to be called a leader, or acknowledged as such by anyone. What is wrong with Taiga coming out to stand by what he has said and the endorsement he has made? Yet, Taiga sees nothing wrong with relating with someone like James Ibori, who was convicted and sent to prison in the UK for stealing public funds that belonged to Delta State. Between Gbagi and Ibori, who is more credible?
With such actions from Taiga, he can be likened to a bat that is neither a bird nor an animal. Chief Kenneth Gbagi did not force Taiga to dance the Urhobo national Anthem song publicly when he endorsed him, as seen in the said video and pictures of that endorsement event. Chief Kenneth Gbagi did not place a gun on Taiga’s head to force him to endorse him in his country home in a colourful event in Okpare-Olomu Town in Ughelli South LGA, Delta State. And how can that event with such a crowd of followers/attendees, be described as a “private visit” by Oshevire? The said statement and denial by Olorogun Moses Taiga can best be described as an ‘after thought’, which he made through his parallel UPU Publicity Secretary.
As a supposed leader, he should stand by the words he made publicly, regardless of who or what is involved. As an Urhobo man, I can speak freely and boldly on this issue without fear or favour. Or perhaps, Taiga cannot stand firm on this issue due to his alleged financial involvements here and there.
Whatever the case may be, this is not right, but rather shameful. This was how, in another event, Taiga conferred on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the honourary title of the “Ochuko of Urhobo land” – meaning the Helper of Urhobo land. But the question is, what help did Okowa give to the Urhobos that made Olorogun Moses Taiga to confer the title of Ochuko of Urhobo land to him? This is the same way we had some Urhobo Traditional Rulers of the State that usually like going to  Asaba /Abuja looking for one favour or the other, recently trooped to Asaba to confer another round of titles/awards to undeserving public officials. How can Urhobo Traditional Rulers in their right frame of mind honour and award Okowa/his Deputy and Ibori for endearing peace and infrastructural projects in the State? The same Ibori who stole billions of Delta State money meant for the State’s development.
Though, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, whose name was conspicuously missing in the list of those honored by the Urhobo Traditional Rulers, has come out and lambasted all of them, but it is rather shameful of the said Urhobo Traditional Rulers in this show of shame. How can they be so myopic and shameless to have awarded and recognized Okowa and Ibori with the said awards, despite the fact that it was Uduaghan’s administration that built some of the state projects in the State, including the Asaba International Airport, Government House, Asaba, the two Delta Malls – Shoprite (Asaba and Effurun), and even the Dome Event Centre where the said award event was being held?
That is is sort of Urhobo Traditional Rulers we have in Delta State. The First Generation of Delta State Urhobo Traditional Rulers were not like these bunch of “title/award-givers,” who do not know their left from right. I pity those Urhobo people who go to their palaces, which were built by the Delta state government, to take/buy such Chieftaincy titles. Some of them are just living in their past glories. But apparently not living within their current means. And now, they have resorted to trading with our Urhobo tribe and land to sustain their habit of wasteful resources to live large. They should ask themselves, is that how other societies like the UK, US, UAE,China,France got to where they are as well-developed places? Some of them that have been opportuned to travel out, they should ask themselves if giving titles/awards to public officials who obviously do not deserve it, was how these developed countries attained development?
Olorogun Moses Taiga himself, who claims to be an international business man that has traveled far and near, should ask himself if what they are doing now, is how societies attained development? Why say one thing today, but deny it tomorrow? How do you build public trust with such disposition? Why take a bite at something you do not want, or you know you don’t have the guts to stand by it? I am ashamed of those who run after these persons who are still living under their past glories. Any Urhobo Traditional Ruler who has openly demonstrated to be living a false life, I personally do not have any iota of regard or respect for such Urhobo Traditional Rulers. If I say something, I stand by it because that is what defines a man, especially any leader. That is the only way people can trust you with any public responsibility. Once you don’t have such integrity, you do not deserve to be givien any role or responsibility in public space.
Zik Gbemre.
December 20, 2019

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