By Victor Ajihromanus
The immediate past President of the Isoko Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Agbefe Sebastine has berated Delta State traditional rulers for giving what he described as selective awards, urging them to apologise to former Governor Emmmanuel Uduaghan.
He said the Okowa administration administration has no single legacy project that Deltans can remember it for.
Agbefe, who said this on Friday while addressing newsmen over the said awards, also said the traditional leaders should as a matter of urgency withdraw the Awards and tender an unreserved apology to Deltans and Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan.
His words: “The worse kind of robbery is that of the collective intelligence of a people. That is the kind of theft that has been dealt on my pride and our pride, as Deltans.
“What is the yardstick for good governance? At what point do we determine the failures or successes of an administration? What group have we ceded our collective conscience of determining the political leaders that should be bestowed awards for “good leadership”?
“In the years of the Warri crises that saw lives, properties and the economy of our domain destroyed, one man was saddled with the enormous task of leading the peace delegation of the government. That individual tried as much as possible to reach out to all who were aggrieved and peace was given a chance.
“By the mid 2007, the same man became governor and continued with his peace building efforts. He lived up to his calling, built bridges across community gulfs, which saw improvements in intra-communal relations.
“Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, a taciturn individual, is not one to blow his horns or selfishly add feathers to his own caps. He rather chooses the option of tireless result oriented service in the interest of the state.
“The league of traditional rulers that chose to be lopsided at choosing their awardees are quick to forget how egalitarian Uduaghan was as a Governor for eight years. If he was an ethnic bigot, the airport that gulped billions of naira would have been in Abigborodo, his home town. The man chose to do it otherwise because of his quest to develop the State on equal footing.
“While still suffering from selective amnesia, this group in their oblivion, forgot how Uduaghan made sure that maternal care was extended from antenatal to child delivery across the State and to children between zero and five years. The mothers who benefited are right under the nostrils of this rulers but they refuse to smell them or open their eyes to see those children grow into society’s leaders.
“Not too long ago, citadels of learning across the state were in ruins. Community and individual owned schools taken over by the military government and left in ruins all over the State were rehabilitated and in most instances, reconstructed. The quality of those school buildings and the aesthetics they brought to a lot of communities cannot be over emphasized. They were in the end, returned to the original owners at no cost or condition. That was an Uduaghan initiative. What of the popular ‘Delta City Taxi’ that reduced the cost of transportation to the barest minimum across the State?
“It is therefore callous, myopic, divisive and ruthless to sideline Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, from the selected group of awardees that the traditional rulers across Delta State chose to recognize. Uduaghan will not beg to be so honoured, but for whatever the threshold for good governance, the man has gone far and above the standard set by the group.
“Tainted by every despicable dent, these rulers chose carefully, to pick from the vine, men that had worked with Uduaghan over the years for honour. If Uduaghan is undeserving, then they all are undeserving.
“Devoid of anything good and by what I choose to believe was clandestine and utmost secrecy, the Olu of Warri, who’s son was surgically removed from the list of persons to be awarded, was put forward to decorate others with “awards for good governance”. That is an aberration, a heist of unimaginable proportions.
“Being a Deltan and a man of good conscience, I vehemently reject this insult to Deltans who have traveled on the “Uduaghan buses, those who benefitted from the free maternal healthcare, the over a thousand civil servants who were employed by Uduaghan, those plying the bridges built by Uduaghan, learners who were thought in conducive learning environment under his administration, and most importantly, those whose business thrived after he led the delegation that ended the warri crisis. Uduaghan may not be the best amongst his equals, but he is also not the worse. He may not have reached the maxim of governance, but his legacies across the State are abound.
“I want to challenge the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to mention one legacy project that Deltans can remember him for. We are aware that Chief James Onanefe Ibori brought Oghara Teaching Hospital and built four “Unity Bridges” among others. In like manner Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan built Government House Asaba, Delta and Asaba Malls, Asaba International Airport and host of others. If Dr. Okowa fails to mention a legacy project, the ethnic leaders should recall those awards and do the needful. They should apologize to Deltans, and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan”, he concluded.