Comrade Kelly Efemena Umukoro was a contestant in the just concluded UPU youth wing election. In this interview, he alleged that leaders of the PDP and some prominent government officials turned the socio-cultural youthwing election into a political party election. Hence, he faulted the process that produced Ughere Blessed as the president of the UPU youth wing.
You did say the UPU youth wing election is a UPU PDP youth wing election, why did you say so?
The first excuse the powers that be gave was that I cannot be trusted with the office of the UPU youthwing president because they alleged that I am an APC member and I did not support the election of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori. They alleged also that the APC gave me appointment, therefore the office of the UPU youthwing president cannot be given to an APC member but it’s for PDP members.
But one will now ask a question is UPU an organ of PDP? The answer is No. Our politicians must understand that there is a thin line between ethnicity and partisan politics. We are first of all Urhobo people before politics came in. And it is because of this continuous attitude of politicians that the UPU as a body has lost its glory. It has lost its glory because of the interference of politicians. They feel that because I supported my conscience I am now of the APC and therefore not fit to be the UPU youthwing president.
Now, from my own view, the UPU has no business with APC or PDP because UPU is not a political party…
Cuts in.. Exactly! It is a socio-cultural body that is supposed to be far removed from politics. But the PDP politicians in Delta state will not allow it happen. I am sorry in one of my interviews I was praising the governor that he has been able to bring peace to UPU. I have been proven wrong because rather he wants to also hijack UPU into PDP by his actions.
How can he send five commissioners to UPU youthwing election which held at Agbaroh while his director of Protocol, Sunday Onoridoe, was monitoring from Wellington Hotel in Warri? He brought PDP politics into the entire electoral process. PDP agents were seen physically in the hall, distributing N50k per delegates. Later they increased it to N60k. The delegates are alive, they are not dead. This was done to the extent that they were now asking them that whosoever they voted, they should snap and write their names at the back for appointment into different taskforce. One was done by my very good friend, Ejiro Jamani, who happens to be the commissioner for environment. This is how the PDP has bastardised the UPU.
Now, what is your grievance in the whole matter?
My grievance is that the electoral committee headed by a supposed reverend father, Christopher Ekabo, failed to adhere to the electoral guideline they drew on their own. In the guideline, One, you must not be above 40 years to contest. If you are above 40 years you are not eligible to contest. Two, the office of the president must be contested by persons who have minimum of B.Sc. Three, they gave a date for buying of form for the president. They also gave a date for the expiration of the sale of forms. They gave a date for the announcement of eligible candidates for various offices.
But guess what, Comrade Esiefa Emmanuel is about 48 years. Yet this same committee cleared him. This is because of the political interest of the person sponsoring him. He is one Chief Oyibode Vincent from Udu. Second, they said that for you to contest for the office of the president, you must have a B.Sc. Now, they wrote me, demanded for my B.Sc certificate, I gave them my certificate. My certificate was shown to the world. I thank God I graduated with a good grade.
Now, the department that Ughere Blessed claimed he graduated from, there is nothing found there. Ughere Blessed did diploma in DELSU. He left DELSU and traveled to Ghana where he could not complete his education. But because of political interest again from the likes of Rex Anighoro and Chief Onoriode, they cleared Ughere Blessed who does not have a certificate.
Now, as at October 26, we were hoping they would release names of qualified candidates. But while we were waiting, the electoral umpire was busy taking directives and negotiating with government officials. They refused to submit names on the 26th of October. They submitted names a night to the election which was 27th day of October. This also breached the electoral guideline. They did not end it there. They went further. The delegates that came for that election were not screened. The delegates form was not signed.
If you check the electoral materials, you will see the fraud in it. Now, the only two candidates who were qualified to run for this election were Kelly Efemena Umukoro and Godstime Oghenevorie. Esiefa Emmanuel is 47 years old, he is not qualified to run. Ughere Blessed does not have B.Sc certificate. He was not qualified to run. Yet, because of the pressure of the PDP politicians, the electoral committee bowed to pressure and they cleared these candidates.
Then, look at the office of the treasurer, the interest was in the son of Chief Ighoyota Amori, one Onome Amori. They disqualified Monday Omene whose age is 41 due to a mistake he made during his NIN registration. He had sworn an affidavit three years ago, stating that he is 32 years, even with the evidence of three years old affidavit, they screened him out. But they screened somebody in who is 48 years old because the other one does not have godfather in PDP. But because of the interest of Chief Amori who wanted his son to be unopposed, they screened somebody who is not 41 years out. They also screened in somebody who is 48 years old.
Then, come back to the secretary. I’m calling the positions the PDP had interest in. The secretary was zoned to Oraide kingdom. Comrade Godstime Ukwuanome is from that kingdom. Comrade Efe Kigho bought form, he is also above 40 years. He was screened out. Now, the electoral committee gave a date for closure of sale of forms. But because the PDP did not want Comrade Godstime, the committee opened the sale of forms on the 27, a day to the election. Instead of Godstime to run unopposed, they opened the sale of forms a date they did not announce to the public. We got wind that this was what they planned, that Comrade Godstime had suddenly got an opponent, the opponent was previously listed as a delegate in the electoral committee brochure. Now, a delegate that did not pass through screening process is automatically a candidate. Is that not fraud?
Because of the interest placed on the office of the secretary, the young man did not go for screening. As at the time I was to go for screening, I was struck with stroke. My two legs were swollen. A lot of things were removed from my body before I could stand. A reverend father who prayed for me asked that I be taken to a healing centre. I had to go to the screening committee with that condition because they said if I did not come I cannot be a candidate for the election. Now, somebody who did not go for screening they made him automatic candidate, from a delegate to a candidate. This is because of the interest of the PDP. That was how they robbed Godstime of the secretary position.
Look at the deputy president general’s office. Paul Okoluku is 48 years old. He is above the recommended age by the guidelines. But because he was sponsored by a PDP man he was screened and declared qualified. The committee we so much trusted because it was headed by a reverend father, it is painful that the same committee screened a 48 years old man and allowed him to run for the office of the deputy president general.
As we know in Nigeria, we though it’s only professors that rig elections, we never knew that priests, pastors and reverend fathers also rig elections, even worse than professors. This was a day time robbery of our mandate. As Urhobo people, we will not allow this to pass. We are deploying every necessary medium to arrest this issue and say it cannot stand.