By Onoriode Esievoatokpota

The idea of participatory democracy was muted during the early stage of what we know today as democracy is a system that existed in Athens, Greece and it involved the electorate being invited to an assembly where they are addressed by each aspiring candidate before a decision was made to choose a leader.

It was a direct meeting between the candidates and the people who would take a decision on the best amongst the aspirants to be elected to the government. The aspirants take turns to present their manifestoes and questions were thrown at them to probe into their patriotic inclinations.

The ‘ecclesia’ or ‘Agora’, as the Assembly were called, did not spare any man who had disappointed the people in the past. The Agora probed into their past records, interrogated their parents’ records of service to the people and so many other issues before settling for one to represent the people.

As Urhobo go to the polls again in 2023 to elect a representative in the Nigerian senate, the people must probe into the past records of the candidates. Those who had in the past rated party loyalty higher than Urhobo interests are known and such should be told in blunt terms that they cannot be trusted again. To some candidates, PDP is greater than Urhobo.

They have worked for PDP so much so that the party is willing to continue to give tickets to them to run. But the ordinary man on the streets can only recall the pains of being betrayed to serve the interest of the party in the past. The time to recall the past of the candidates, evaluate their parent’s years of service and how they managed Urhobo fortunes in the past has come.

The late Senator David Dafinone, the father of Ede Dafinone was a man whom, God, in his infinite wisdom and divine agenda raised to fulfil a mandate on behalf of Urhobo in his time. As we all know, God always raises men to fulfil his purpose for mankind at different epochs. From age to age, there are people on important assignments to add value to the world of man and make an impact. Senator Chief David Omueya Dafinone was a man whose name rang a bell on the international stage as a chartered accountant of no mean repute. He occupied a special space on the role of honour in the annals of the Urhobo nation.

David Dafinone was a man of many parts, an enigmatic colossus who bestrode the accounting world with a charming record that stood unbroken till date. As an achiever of no mean repute, Dafinone shined and successfully attained the pinnacle of his career as a Chartered Accountant. He broke world record to raise a family with the highest number of Chartered Accountants worldwide. By this feat, he secured a comfortable space for the family in the World Guinness Book of Records. That record also put the Urhobo nation on the world map as a nation that produces the family of Chartered Accountants with resounding success.

Chief David Dafinone groomed very well brought up children who are a pride to the family in all aspects of human endeavours. One of them is Chief Ede Dafinone, a proud scion of the Dafinone family. The Urhobo nation, nay Nigeria would not forget in a hurry the hard work and dedication of this eminent statesman. He was forthright, honest, meek in attitude, and understands issues of both economic and socio-political weights. He demonstrated the will and vision to lead Urhobo to her manifest destiny.

Testimonies abound of how he touched many lives positively and shone like a bright morning star, lightening up the path of many who are emotionally attached to the family’s vision and mission. He founded the Dafinone Foundation, through which he awarded scholarships to scores of indigent university students. In Sapele and all over the nation, Dafinone gave interest-free loans to traders. He trained many people in different disciplines and skills. He relieved our people of their burden occasioned by economic difficulties. One could go on and on to recount all he did for humanity.

He was very accommodating and truthful. When some NPN leaders from what is now Edo State invited Dafinone and Hon. Dr. Ebiuwa Sowho, who was NPN House member, for Ethiope federal Constituency, to NPN caucus and accused the duo of attending Bendel National Assembly Forum, heavily dominated by the defunct United Party of Nigeria, Dafinone told them that he was first an indigene of Bendel State before being a member of NPN. That was the thrust of his patriotic instincts, not giving to parochial political sentiments of primitive party loyalty at the expense of developmental inclinations.

In the 1982 Federal budget, in spite of the fact that Bendel State was an opposition state, Dafinone said his first loyalty was to his state. He was a great Urhobo son, a proud Bendelite and a worthy Nigerian. We need such a man in the Senate to reinforce the representative capacity of the Late David Dafinone, not a man who would be in the senate to trade off Urhobo for personal and party glory.

Humanity, Okpe people and the Urhobo nation have always missed David Dafinone as a fine gentleman and father of modern Urhobo nationalism. His advocacy for Urhobo unity and candid thoughts on the challenges before the Urhobo nation will fill volumes. He was a phenomenal product of uncommon grace and achievement whose iconic rise and professional candour resonate with excellence and distinction in all ramifications. He was a pear of the Accounting profession and a distinct star of uncommon beauty.

His son, Ede has come to step into the shoes of his father. Ede possesses all the noble attributes associated with his father. He is a Chartered Accountant of international repute and has continued in the tradition of his late father by promoting the Dafinone Foundation to higher grounds.

Ede would reinforce the father’s legacy and Urhobo would be proud to have a man of Ede’s distinctive quality as her representative in the Senate. Let us not make the mistake of sending a party man to the senate who would place a higher premium on party interest far and above Urhobo interest. Ede Dafinone is the best man for the job.

Onoriode Esievoatokpota wrote from Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

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