By Gab Ejuwa
The ancient Okpe community of Ugolo Okpe in Okpe local government of Delta State was agog last Monday as politicians, human rights activists beseiged the sprawling town in their hundreds to mark the first year anniversary of the slain Urhobo human right activist and former Delta State gubernatorial candidate, Chief Ogbe Onokpite. One after the other, the eminent personalities at the event mounted the podium to renew the call for justice on the fallen hero, who was killed under mysterious circumstances.
An activist, Chief Paul Ibeyon who chaired the event, was the first to speak. In a manner reminiscient of a typical village spokesman, he greeted the crowd in the language they understood and then cleared his throat to garner the attention of the momoth crowd who converged to ostensibly honour their sudden departed hero.
Just like conversation, Chief Ibeyon began, “those who killed Chief Onokpite can never kill his dream of a better society for all. We, his friends and associates have vowed to keep his dream alive.”
Similarly, renown human rights activist in Oshimili North, Comrade Ifeanyi Agbah who made a tearfulspeech noted that both Chief Onokpite and his killers made history but however added that his killers would be dumped on the bad side of history unlike Chief Onokpite who he said would always be mentioned for good.
The Oshimili North born human right activist noted that Chief Onokpite did not die fighting the course of the Urhobos alone but the oppressed Deltans.
He noted in dismay that some of those who benefited from the late Chief Onokpite had not shown interest in the fight for justice over his death. The activist likened late Chief Onokpite to Isaac Adaka Boro, Ken Saro Wiwa and Martin Luther King (Jnr). “Before he was killed, he was a gentleman that was established with over four thousand workers who received their salaries when due.
“So the accusation by the police of being a gun-runner was baseless and frivolous,” Comrade Agbah who later read the biography of the late Chief Onokpite added.
Similarly, the Personal Assistant of late Chief Onokpite and the DDP councillorship aspirant in Uvwie Local Government Council, Comrade Wilson Akpos noted that those who killed his boss were afraid of him. “They even begged him to work for them but he refused and chose to work for Chief Great Ogboru. They have killed him but they can’t kill what he stood for, the course for a better Delta State and Urhobo nation”.
While calling President Jonathan and Inspector General of Police to bring the killers of Chief Onokpite to book, he observed that if the slain politician was to be an extraction of Oduduwa, Arewa, Ohanaeze, the Ijaws and even the Itsekiris, they would not have taken the gruesome murder of Chief Onokpite lightly. He also lamented the silence of those that matter in Urhobo kingdom on the death of Chief Onokpite who he said died fighting the cause of the Urhobos.
Even as the call for justice continues unabated, the younger brother of the slain politician, Diemo Onokpite has hailed the efforts of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar.
The brother disclosed that according to available information, some police officers allegedly fingered as being behind the dastardly act are currently being tried for their alleged role in the murder of Chief Ogbe Onokpite. He, however, expressed optimism that the trial would not end as an exercise in futility.
The DPP Uvwie Local Government Council Concillorship aspirant disclosed that the event would be celebrated annually and that a book on the biography of Late Chief Onokpite would be launched in no distant time.
“He founded Ogbe Political Change (OPC) and Ogbe Foundation. Infact,he was a source of inspiration to most of us, particularly we the Urhobos”.
But Pastor, Apostle Love Ededuwah who officiated at the event, presented a copy of the photograph of late Chief Onokpite to every one present through which curses were rained on the killers of Ogbe , with backings of some powerful inscriptions from the bible.
Placards protesting the killing of Ogbe and calling for justice on his death were also displayed at the event. Some of them read : ‘Chief Ogbe, your vision is our mission’; ‘Chief Ogbe died as an hero’; ‘Your dreams of founding Ogbe Political Change (OPC) Ogbe Foundation and Urhobo New Faceis still alive’; ‘CJN, please bring the killers of Chief Ogbe Onokpite to book’; ‘We are asking Urhobos, Nigerians, Deltans, what did Chief Ogbe Onokpite do to deserve his death?.’ and ‘Chief Ogbe, your song of freedom, love, peace and unity, will never be in vain’.
The peaceful event was also blessed with a beautiful weather.
However, there was a general silence but an accepted fact that the slain politician left an oversized shoes and indelible footprints in the sand of times.