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POLITICAL TRAVAILS AND TRIUMPHS: THE OMO-AGEGE EXPERIENCE IN DELTA — By Durosinmi Meseko.

OMO2OMO2The news came like a bolt out of the blues. Not many expected it when it came and not surprisingly it reverberated not only across Delta State but the Nation as a whole. The Court of Appeal Sitting in Benin has nullified the election of the Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District in the Senate, Senator Ighoyota Amori of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and declared the senatorial candidate of Labour Party in the March 28, 2015 National Assembly election, Obaisi Ovie Omo-Agege as winner of the election chorused the news media across the country.

In his lead decision, Justice H.A. Barka set aside the verdict of the lower Tribunal which upheld the declaration of Amori as winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and declared that there was indeed merit in Omo-Agege’s appeal.

The news came as a rude shock to supporters of Amori, the PDP candidate as well as the leadership of the Senate and the Party in Delta who few days earlier had thronged Amori’s thanksgiving Programme to felicitate with him.

But to the people of Delta Central Senatorial District, especially the majority Urhobos, it was sweet, sweet victory at last. Not least expected, drums were rolled out to celebrate the triumph of the man most of them behold as “hero of the Urhobos”.

Omo-Agege who enthused with palpable joy on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 after he was presented with his Certificate of Return by INEC attributed his victory in the tribunal to God and the Judiciary who had restored to him the mandate freely given to him by Delta Central People.

He also described his victory as “Victory for the Urhobo nation”.

And not carried away by the emotions of victory, Omo-Agege swore to make Urhobo issues his number one priority in the Senate, the delay in declaring him winner notwithstanding.

The delay he enthused, “will spur me to perform even better”.

Omo-Agege’s latest political triumph did not come to watchers of Delta politics as a surprise. Indeed, the Urhobo born politician has paid his dues politically.

A trained lawyer, politician, administrator and business mogul, Obaisi Omo-Agege began his political career in 2002 after he returned to the country from the United States where he was practicing. He had earlier in that 2002 obtained a Masters of Law Degree with Distinction from Tulane University Law School, New Orleans.

His passion about uplifting the well-being of his people led him to contest the PDP’s Primaries of the Ughelli Federal Constituency for the House of Representatives in that 2002. He gallantly lost the Primaries but his intimidating resumes did not escape the sharp radar of the then Governor of the State, Chief James Ibori who wasted no time in appointing him as Executive Assistant. His immediate responsibility then was formulation, implementation, and coordination of government policy, monitoring and appraisal of Executive Council decisions in ensuring compliance with the administration set goals among others. Of note was the fact that he also acted as the Chief Liaison Officer, PDP National Headquarters and the Presidency, a position that no doubt helped him develop a strong network of contacts and friendship across Nigeria.

As a result of his exceptional performance, leadership traits and uncanny ability to manage multiple responsibilities in a fast-paced political environment like Delta, Omo-Agege was appointed commissioner for Special Duties two years later.

That gave him additional responsibility to oversee the privatization Programme of the State Government. He later successfully supervised the privatization of African Timber and Plywood in Sapele.

As Commissioner for Special Duties, Omo-Agege succeeded in weaving out a robust and dynamic policy in the area of conflict resolution. His unique ability in this area largely manifested in the prompt release of hostages and recovery of large catches of small arms from youths involved in communal conflicts in the state.

Also, his proven ability to manage and complete projects to the highest standards ensured the successful completion of all projects of the Ibori administration.

Thus in 2006, buoyed by these monumental achievements within a short time and strident calls by the people of Delta State to run for the governorship position, Omo-Agege joined the race but lost to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who subsequently became Governor. The fact that he came second in the Primaries was not lost on the stakeholders of the party.

 

– Meseko wrote in from Abuja.

 

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