Monday, August 5, 2019 8:21 am
By Ena Ofugara
To win a chess game, you must sit back and look at the move of a player and ask “why is this man moving his bishop to that spot where it can be sacked? Is he crazy or stupid, or is it a gambit to put him in a stronger position to win”?
The play is for Delta State Governorship.
No one has enjoyed PDP more than Ovie Omo-Agege and Keyamo. Keyamo was PDP EFCC lawyer against PDP top shots like Bankole etc. He was handsomely paid. Ovie Omo Agege was secretary to Delta State Government. He can deny all he wants, but he is a member of James Ibori dynasty. Even with his pedigree of being an Omo-Agege, without James Ibori’s patronage, he would not be where he is today.
So why are both so APC?
You have to understand Delta state. Ibori rules the roost and PDP is a closed circuit. For many of us who have distinguished ourselves nationally, breaking into the inner circle of PDP is harder than the 12 tasks of Hercules. Yes, a lot of “Good job. Don’t worry” are said to you while the baton moves from one of the inner circle to another and you remain an outsider.
It is this that prompted Keyamo to form APC in his house. It is what moved an Emerhor and many other intending and even PDP members to look for another avenue to GET IN.
Ovie Omo-Agege read the tea leaves. He knew he was not going to be governor or senator under PDP. Amori was the senator designate and Ibori was going to pass the governorship among those who he felt like.
And even when Omo-Agege went to Labour Party, both he and Ogboru continued to support Jonathan and PDP at national level.
Keyamo knew his only hope for power was as APC.
I can beat my chest and say that Ovie Omo-Agege knows of the Fulani scourge as much as anyone. His Orogun has Fulanis in the forests. He cannot be wishing harm on a people who have followed his forebears and his father and brothers and who have seen them as royalty.
But he desires POWER. How will he beat the behemoth that is PDP. What moves must he make?
For Keyamo, even in the APC, Emerhor and his money had suffocated him and turned him to an outsider. So what hope for these brilliant lawyers and sons of Urhobo who seek POWER?
Ewherido had created the roadmap…. the formula. It is to use Ogboru’s popularity at local grassroot level, add it to his and seek alliances with powerful Northern and Yoruba elements in the amalgam that was to become APC. His projections had shown that the North and West wanted power and needed allies in the minorities, even if they lost the East. All they needed was 1/3 in 2/3 of the states of the nation.
Ewherido who was the then senator died but his formula was a winning one. Like scientists, you take a formula and continue the experiment and that was what the smart and stubborn Ovie Omo Agege did. This time, unlike Ogboru and Emerhor that supported Jonathan and a Jonathan that would support a PDP governor, Ovie Omo-Agege decided to GO ALL IN and pitch his tent fully without ambiguity and get the needed back up from the most powerful man in the centre… Buhari.
Check posts of Ovie Omo-Agege supporters just before election. Many were still supporting Atiku or at the least, criticizing Buhari and his Fulani herdsmen. He ended that.
Note also that his camp in APC was facing a possible sack. @Emerhor and Rume Ima Niboro camp that had Cyril Ogodo as chairman was duly sworn in by Oyegun before Oyegun’s removal. Oshiomole was the new APC chairman and was collecting money from all sides and Ovie Omo-Agege was not as moneyed as Olorogun Otega Emerhor and was sure to lose.
He needed strong support and Buhari and Abba Kyari’s endorsement
So he made the play against Saraki and PDP. He had to prove his usefulness to Buhari and the powers that be, especially as he had once supported Jonathan. He went all out and gambled and he got the attention of the president.
His camp of APC was thus declared the rightful camp and APC declared in their meeting to end the Delta State crisis that time had passed Emerhor’s challenge that was still in court.
And Ovie Omo-Agege convinced Urhobos, with Ogboru by his side, that he would bring Senate presidency and development and appointment to them unlike Jonathan that they believe gave it all to Ijaws. (Eru was made minister. Eru is Urhobo but what a poor choice. No one knew him and many Urhobos do not know he was minister as he never knew the right plays)
Urhobos had just had 8 years of seeing Uduaghan empower Itsekiris financially. .. at least in their thinking. That Ibori just made Oghara, an Urhobo village go up to a city level was lost on Urhobos. The Itsekiri 8 years of Uduaghan was begrudged especially as he was said to have installed an Itsekiri man as Ovie of Oghara (something I know nothing about. I only reference the grievance). Ayiri and Tompolo’s wealth and the militant lists and payments that had predominantly Itsekiri and Ijaw names and with Urhobos seeing such wealth of youths they grew up with getting to Ijaws and Itsekiris and not to them was boiling their blood. It was easy for Ovie Omo-Agege to get them to see him as their messiah that will include them in the nation and state’s wealth. He was also able to rally oppressed PDP members like Henry Baro and many others and so challenged and defeated Barr Evelyn Omavowan Oboro with promises of appointments and development by Buhari for Urhobos if he is returned. And returned he was in a keenly fought battle.
And Buhari and the cabal were satisfied with the battle against Saraki by Ovie Omo Agege. Saraki’s suspension of Ovie Omo Agege, despite his apology to the Senate and despite the fact Ovie Omo Agege has a right to speak his mind on any law, only endeared him further to Buhari. Saraki was clearly the aggressor and underestimated the “warri” in Ovie Omo-Agege who will GBEGHE ANY GHEGHERABLE. “If bottle no break, fight never start”.
And when the position of Deputy speaker… not the speaker that the North greedily decided to keep to themselves as they have with all meaningful positions… when it was time to elect someone, a Buhari that has never been involved in any APC vs APC squabble PERSONALLY or through his right hand of Abba Kyari, ensured Ovie Omo-Agege got his just reward viz DEPUTY SENATE PRESIDENT.
And as Ovie Omo-Agege’s opponent was an Igbo man, it is always easy for Buhari to ensure aspirations of Igbos meet a dead end (follow history where he voted a man from the country Niger over his own countryman because he was an Igbo man) This election, again, is the only one Buhari was personally involved in.
So Ovie Omo Agege knelt to thank his benefactor, knowing he would need him soon in his aspiration for governor of Delta state.
So understand the play. Hate it and criticize it. BUT UNDERSTAND IT.
It is not a love for Buhari, try as Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and his supporters will try to make you believe. They know what is happening.
And APC has played it right with Urhobos by appointing a Keyamo, an Uvwie m-Urhobo man as minister. Itsekiris can brag about their considerable vote for Buhari, but Buhari knows the majority tribe in Delta state and who have fought best for him in their individual capacity. So Uduaghan is passed over for Keyamo.
Now for the big one…. DELTA STATE
To beat PDP, he must have the support of the center. So he cradles that support.
And for many others including the PDP Delta State outsiders who see PDP as OGBONI… select members only, there seems to be only one route to government house Asaba…. riding on the back of Ovie Omo-Agege and Keyamo.
The self justification? Buhari will not be on the ballot in 2023.
And in the chess game that is politics, Ovie Omo Agege and Keyamo gambit and gamble was on Buhari and like it or not, they won and we lost.
WINNERS TAKE ALL.
Will they take Delta state?
Again, the justification is BUHARI WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT IN 2023. How many of us will use this argument to justify our desire and ambition to truly matter in the politics of our home state, seeing we are perenial outsiders even with all our effort? Will “Ena, you dey try for us” from PDP party leaders comtinue to be enough for us or we too will reappraise our support stance and play our own chess?
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Keyamo gambled and won. Some of us from Delta state will have to sit behind the chessboard and decide where to castle to.
-Ena Ofugara, a lawyer and social critic, writes from the United States