By David Diai
The flag off campaign rally of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, ‘the peoples general’ and Delta State governorship candidate of the Labour Party, kicked off in Warri on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, with pomp and celebration.
Activities, both commercial, vehicular and official practically ground to a halt in the oil rich city of Warri and the Warri township stadium, venue of the campaign rally, was turned into a carnival ground as the massive crowd thronged the venue in glittering colours and excited voices for what many described as the celebration of a true leader who has come out once again to heed the call of his people.
Signs that the city of Warri was gearing up to welcome a special and adored son of Urhoboland and Delta State had already started manifesting as early as 9am on Wednesday 21, and by 12 noon, the traffic in Warri had practically ground to a halt. Buses, Keke, cars, even okada simply stood still and like one commentator described it, “Ogboru had arrested traffic in Warri”.
Eye witness reports claim that it took Chief Ogboru about two hours to drive through the town to get to the Warri Township Stadium, venue of the campaign flag-off rally, with many people literally climbing the roof top just to get a glimpse of him.
And indeed, the atmosphere in the Warri Township Stadium was another carnevalesque kaleidoscope as posters, billboards, banners, blended with a blazon of colours and songs from over the thousands people both inside and around the stadium, proclaiming Ogboru as the unquestionable leader that Delta State has been clamouring for since 2003.
All the big wigs of the Labour Party were present. The National Chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, the indefatigable State Chairman, Chief Tony Ezeagu (who has remained loyal to Ogboru since the beginning of the struggle), the newly minted Senatorial candidate Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, as well as other candidates for the various elective offices and a host of other party faithful who had been mobilised from the 25 local government council areas in the state, were all physically present to receive the peoples general, in their full and robust glory.
The Warri Township Stadium was agog with singing and dancing from the tumultuous crowd that had besieged the stadium to catch a glimpse of him, as Ogboru was ushered into the stadium and the thunderous ovation and rapturous outpouring of joy and ecstasy that greeted the introduction of Chief Great Ogboru to mount the podium and address his people, was electrifying and unparalleled.
The excitement attained fever pitch decibels almost bordering on frenzy and gravitational kinesis as stadium rumbled, quaked, growled and exploded through the universal socket of human connection, like a rolling thunder clap that shook the very foundations of the stadium and indeed Delta State, as people screamed themselves hoarse and broke into songs and dances of jubilation and celebration in the presence of the man who has become the symbol of undying hope and the resilience in the face of a draconian system that has tried three times to destroy his will and the will of the people, without success.
And when Chief Ogboru took the microphone to address the people, his voice was as crisp and clear as it had been on that first day in 2003 when was welcomed back to Delta State from exile by the mammoth crowd that sent a clear signal that the redeemer had arrived.
Addressing the mammoth crowd, Chief Ogboru who was flanked by his wife and his running mate, Elder Peter Ovie Erebi, as well as Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege and a host of other party officials, told the people that era of mismanagement of public resources meant for development of the state was over.
His message of one Delta and one people living in equality, justice and freedom for all; a Delta where education, infrastructural development, agriculture, healthcare and transparency in governance, which had been the constant mantra of his campaigns over the years, still resonated with the same vibrancy as it had done all through the years.
“Change has come. No more shall Delta be in political and economic darkness. No more shall we witness corruption, dirty environment, lack of water and mismanagement of the treasury,” he said.
Chief Ogboru spoke to them thus: “My good people of Delta State, I want to assure you that we will put your money where you want it. It is my determination to get our boys and girls off the streets through gainful employment and empowerment. If elected, my administration will establish three major companies in the three senatorial districts of the state, these companies will belong to the people where they will make a living and say goodbye to poverty.
Ogboru assured the people once again that if elected, his administration would not embezzle the state funds but rather use the fund judiciously for massive infrastructural development of the state, even as he urged Deltans to choose the right leaders.
“There will be no place for crime, violence, corruption and dirty environment in my administration,” Chief Ogboru stated. When we choose our leaders, they become accountable to us through a transparent government”.
Chief Ogboru then urged support for the election of President Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14, 2015 Presidential election, adding that this election was the appropriate opportunity for the people to take their destiny in their hands and vote for those who would impact on their lives positively.
“Today therefore we have a rare opportunity and responsibility to vote for that leader whose government will impact evidently on our people. I enjoin you my people to therefore support us in this noble quest to transform our state” he said.
The National Chairman of Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadri Abdulsalam, while presenting the flag of the party under the watchful eyes of the people to Chief Ogboru, said the Governorship candidate of the party in the state would develop all parts of Delta State if elected as the next Governor.
According to Abdulkadri, “Chief Ogboru will develop all parts of the state, give employment to unemployed Deltans and he will pay adequate attention to the empowerment of our women and youths and I want to implore all of you to vote for Chief Ogboru as you have always done. He will do great things for the state because his name is GREAT and he is a great man.”
Addressing the rally, Delta Central Senatorial Candidate of the party, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege said that Chief Ogboru has never lost any election in the state.
He said, “I want to tell all of you that Chief Ogboru has never lost any election, we have always rigged him out, but this time around, I will ensure that your votes count; he has always won all his elections.”
Chief Omo-Agege also said, “Time for the liberation of Delta State has come. Chief Ogboru is the only man that can bring that change to Delta State. We need a fresh air; we need somebody new. Chief Ogboru is a successful businessman and he will run Delta State successfully and he wants to create jobs for our army of unemployed youths.”
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 was another day when Deltans from all walks of life, expressed their undying love and affection for the peoples General, Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, as they streamed out in their thousands, expressing their willingness to follow him all the way again, as they had done since 2003, in his gubernatorial journey to deliver the real dividends of democracy to Deltans and Delta State.