POLITICS in this part of the world has for a long time been defined by a devious colour of brute force and gangsterism, a phenomenon that has robbed the game of the finesse, fidelity and exotic qualities of progressive political ideals which are the driving principles of government in the developed world.
We have lived for too long under the illusion that politics is a game for social deviants, men and women who have no contract with honour, people of banal value for integrity and rugged products of the world of the occult.
The late Senator Akpor Pius Ewherido was a chip from the mould of the best materials in political progressive drive. He gave the Urhobo nation the best representation ever because his was a popular mandate. He, therefore, was committed to the social contract he entered with the people by reason of the mandate he operated for two years in the Senate.
As Ewherido passed on to the great beyond on June 30, 2013, the Urhobo people of Delta Central have another opportunity to send an equally patriotic Urhobo to represent them in the Senate to help build on the legacy of exemplary leadership of the late Senator.
Sir Richard Odibo, a scion of the Odibo family of Egini, represents a true definition of two key words, so fundamental to the building of the best democratic institutions the world over but unfortunately in short supply in the Nigeria political environment.
These words are humility and integrity. Odibo, whose life and conduct in private and public relations with people and groups, can only be defined by the enduring values of pure fidelity to any course he is committed to, has proven over time that we still have men who can resist the power of bribe and corruption to stand for truth and what is right.
After netting a degree in Philosophy from the University of Lagos in 1981, Sir Odibo worked as Administrative Officer at the Delta Steel Company, Ovwian-Aladja in 1982 in the hey days of the company when even SPDC workers found better jobs in the steel plant. He rose to become Principal Administrative Officer before he voluntarily retired in 1992.
He is today Chairman/CEO Odrich Limited, an oil servicing company that is into procurement, marine and engineering services. He also is Chairman of Philard Services, all based in Effurun, Delta Central. He has attended several professional courses in general management, political administration and human resources management, as well as other invaluable courses related to career building.
Odibo is an Old Boy of the Government College Ughelli, where he is believed to have ingrained the best of life values and principles in his approach to life.
Sir Odibo as a politician has been consistent in working with the only trusted and vibrant opposition led by Chief Great Ogboru to evolve a stable polity where the Urhobo nation could assume her pride of place, never wavering, humble but resolute in his firm belief in the change project for Delta State.
His dynamic administrative acumen provided the basis for a viable campaign directorate of the Great Ogboru Gubernatorial race for a new political order.
His dedication to the change project, his purposefulness and efficiency in his endeavours, his precision in action, and his sheer guts in mapping out a victory agenda for the Great Ogboru unrelenting challenge to improper political leadership have given hope to many across Delta State.
After the 2007 election that brought Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to power as Governor of Delta State, Sir Richard Odibo was unlawfully arrested and extra judicially incarcerated by the powers that be for months in Abuja. Sheer brute force and executive recklessness were applied on him to break his spirit and resolve to continue with the struggle to liberate Delta State. He survived this heart-rending experience in detention and came home to continue with the struggle.
The mafia gangsterism exhibited by the PDP in putting in place a regime in Delta State, resonated further with arrest of key players in in that election as well as members of the Great Ogboru family.
No doubt, Odibo is not in the mould of naïve political desperados who without shame, railroaded Ewherido’s so-called political ‘family’ to ‘endorse’ them to replace the Senator, even when the Senator was just reaching mother earth! Thank God he is not a money-miss-road overnight politician, who has no single record of support for Urhobos or promotion of Urhobo causes.
Urhobo needs a man of honour, integrity and wisdom again at the Senate. One without any blemish. Even those who may be tempted to challenge Odibo will testify that he is more honourable than them in every leadership index. Let us give him the opportunity to deploy his humility and patriotic energy to serve humanity on this national call for service to Urhoboland.
Uruemu Odomofor is a Public Affairs Analyst based in Asaba, Delta State.