The Many Lies Against Oborevwori

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By Felix Ofou

Joseph Goebbels, the author of Nazi propaganda, is known to have said: “repeat a lie, often enough, and it becomes the truth”. He became notorious for coining fables and seeking to project same as truth.

In Delta State, this master of illusion seems to have converted a tiny clique as disciples, with lies as their merchandise. These persons not only live in a fool’s paradise, but also seek to convert the majority to embrace the truth from a convoluted lens.

Ever since, it became obvious that Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori was likely to become the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta, these spin doctors quickly went to work and concocted all manner of evils, all aimed to stop a man destined for greatness.

Soon, tales of certificate forgery, age falsification and identity theft started making the rounds against Oborevwori. Conspiracy theories quickly sprang up. There seemed to be no end to the labyrinths laid out to stop him from becoming Governor.

To put paid to any hope of attaining the Governorship position, the malevolent elements extended their machinations to the courts. Over 38 cases were conjured, terminating eventually at the Supreme Court, which finally gave Governor Oborevwori total victory.

Having failed in their determination to stop the Ukodo of Okpe, as Sheriff is also known, from becoming Governor, these bearers of false tales, decided to lay siege, hoping that their targets would make mistakes they could latch on to and bring down his administration. This, for them, was an objective that would not be difficult to attain, especially since, by their fabled imagination, Deltans believe that Oborevwori was incompetent to do the job.

To drive home the point of being incompetent, these naysayers were first to criticize the composition of Oborevwori’s cabinet. Apparently, they had hoped that the executive council would be made up of recycled politicians. When this did not happen, our so called critics quickly jumped into the fray and branded the administration as incompetent.

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Obviously, Governor Oborevwori assembled a blend of the young and not so old of upwardly mobile technocrats, educated hotties with a knack for excellence. This is in fulfilment of his Youth O’clock Agenda; an unprecedented development as far as governance in Delta was concerned, with majority of the cabinet members being between 30 and 45.

These unrelenting traducers of the Ukodo of Okpe have also been harbingers of the fake news associated with the award of N78 billion contract to construction giant, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. Hardly a day passes without a new twist to the falsehoods linked to the transaction.

First was the claim that the N78 billion was rather exorbitant, which was another way of saying the contract was excessively inflated. They contended that local or indigenous contractors could have done the job for far less. Next was the assertion that over N50 billion had been paid to Julius Berger, half of which they alleged, had been pocketed by the Governor. This was in spite of overwhelming evidence that only 25 percent of the N78 billion had been paid as mobilisation fee to the contractors.

None of those making the false claims acknowledged that it was the first time the Delta State Government would be awarding jobs to Julius Berger. Neither did they applaud Oborevwori for insisting on delivering quality jobs to the people.

The relocation of the Faculty of Management Sciences from the main campus of the Delta State University of Technology, Ozoro in Isoko North to an offshoot campus in Orerokpe, Okpe Local Government Area provided another fodder for the grovelling elements to ply their trade.

An elated Governor Oborevwori was shocked after he announced that the relocated Faculty of Management Sciences had been replaced with three elite faculties, that a section of the naysayers retorted with jeers and hysteria. The three faculties – Basic Medical Sciences, Pharmacy and Health Sciences – were meant to provide critical manpower for the state and Nigeria in general, a masterstroke that any right thinking patriot should give the governor kudos.

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Sadly, the narrative was painted that Oborevwori was against the Isoko people for approving the movement of a faculty to Orerokpe. How could anyone rate management courses over and above medicine, pharmacy or health sciences? Does it not amount to standing reason on its head to place courses for which you need to be exceptionally brilliant below that for which average performance in entry score makes students eligible to be admitted?

It is gratifying that the Ukodo of Okpe and immediate past Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly remained unfazed despite the provocation. Instead, he took the actions of these self-seeking individuals with equanimity. He has since demonstrated his love for the Isoko people by approving the establishment of the Delta State College of Health Technology in Ovrode.

When okada (motorcycle) and Keke (tricycle) riders went on protest recently, the apostles of doom sought in vain to project the Governor as weak and unable to maintain law and order. A lynch mob also sought to goad the state Chief Executive to descend harshly on the protesters, mainly because most them were from the northern part of Nigeria.

But the former Speaker shunned bigotry and initiated policies that restored order. Mechanisms has also been put in place to regulate the activities of the Keke and okada riders as well as other artisans, particularly in the urban areas, where they had become a menace in the past.

Following the unfortunate killing of 17 Officers and Solders in Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government and the consequent reprisal attack on the community, a deluge of outright lies and innuendoes were spewed in the social media and other high places. The aim was to smear Oborevwori and his less than one year administration.

On one hand, attempts were made to portray the incident as a clash between Okoloba, an Ijaw enclave and Okuama, which is Urhobo. Advocates of this narrative sought to pitch the Ijaw against the Urhobo, to generate an ethnic crisis. This was more so because the Governor is from the mainly Urhobo Central Senatorial District of the state.

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However, more worrisome was the puerile attempt to get Oborevwori to confront the military for invading Okuama. Some even argued that the rights of the Okuama people was more important than the soldiers who for them died as part of their sworn duty to pay the supreme price in service of the nation.

Until His Royal Majesty, Clement Ikolo, the Ovie of Ewu, was released by the military high command on alleged suspicion of complicity in the Okuama incident, the Governor was blamed by these naysayers for allowing the King to be detained in the first place. The fact that the king willingly surrendered to the police after being declared wanted by the Army made matters worse. “Why should Sheriff allow the military to detain the King even for a day?”, they asked.

As it turned out, His Majesty was the first to acknowledge the role played by Oborevwori during his travail. He has since visited the Government House in Asaba to express appreciation for the show of love and solidarity by the Governor.

With the setting up of a camp for displaced persons (IDPs) and provision of palliatives for victims, most critics of Oborevwori’s style have become mute and are daily coming to the reality that the man truly cares and determined to be Governor for all.

Yet, there is nothing to suggest that the apostles of Goebbels’ philosophy are willing to cease their illusory pursuit of doom for administration. Neither will the former Speaker, like the Trojan Horse, fail in excelling in a hale of dust as the captain of a triumphant orchestra. The die is cast.

– Ofou is Executive Assistant on New Media to the Governor of Delta State

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