Kelly Efemena Umukoro, a presidential candidate in the last UPU youthwing election is angry, very angry. In continuation of the interview, he said Governor Oborevwori’s aides asked him to step down for Ughere Blessed and be given SSA he turned it down. He claimed that he was thoroughly screened but others were not. He also claimed that three of them were the target of the PDP officials. He pointed accusing fingers at Rex Anighoro and others.
How do you describe the manner the screening committee conducted the election?
That was not a screening committee. Ask any of the candidates that went for the screening if they searched any of their documents. They had interest on only myself, Godstime Ukwuanome and Monday Omene. That is the president, the secretary and the treasurer. This was to the extent that my home was attacked.
A day to the screening, hoodlums came to steal my certificate. They came to my home, unknown to them that the certificate was with me and I was not at home. I had to bring my primary 6 certificate. I had to bring my WAEC certificate. I had to bring my B.Sc, my state of origin, my local government and my NIN. I was thoroughly scrutinized.
And then, I asked the committee to do the same thing to other candidates. They could not. What I am asking the committee to do is to display the B.Sc certificate of Ughere Blessed. I am daring him, if he is a graduate, let him bring out his B.Sc certificate.
The electoral committee flouted their guidelines. They created a law, they also broke the law. This is the worse committee in the history of elections in UPU. They made young men like us to waste our hard earned money and time. I traveled through the length and breadth of Urhoboland. Most people have been calling me to register their displeasure. It is only myself and Godstime that consulted the president general of UPU. The ‘hands of the president general were tied’ a night to the election. Most others are bitter because of the involvement of the government. What are they trying to teach us the youths?
They are teaching us electoral fraud. They are teaching us electoral malpractice. Blessed Ughere did not consult the president general. And most of them are angry. They forgot the bye-law that you cannot be a partisan member of any political party and contest UPU election. Owen Nero is an SSA to the governor on DESOPADEC matters. Owen stepped down at the election ground for Ughere Blessed. Esiefa who is 47 years old naturally not fit to be in the race, according to the electoral guidelines, also stepped down for Blessed.
Then, at the point I staged a walkout on the election was when Rex Anighoro, without fear, walked up to me and told me that the director of protocol of Delta government house, Sunday Onoriode, wanted to speak with me. I said he has my phone number, let him call me.
The next thing was that Rex told me that I should step down and I will be given the office of SSA to the governor. I had to push him out of my way and we almost had a fight. I said if you are cheap and looking for SSA I am not looking for SSA.
I’m looking for the betterment of Urhobo youths. I am looking for UPU youthwing that is independent, that can advocate for the rights of Urhobo youths. I am looking for UPU youthwing that can be reckoned with in the comity of youth leaders. I am looking for UPU youthwing that can stand at par with youth bodies of other ethnic nationalities. It was at that point, after pushing him, the hall became rowdy that myself and my followers had to leave the election ground.
Now they called result and they said I got 10, the other person got 11. I have evidence of people who voted for me, that despite the level of monetization I still have some credible Urhobo youths who believed in me, loved me and voted for me. Not until people around government change their ways, UPU youthwing or UPU as a body will continue to have factions.
You have alleged that officials of the state government played so much unacceptable roles in the process leading to the emergence of Ughere Blessed. What do you think is the interest of the government in the UPU youthwing election?
You know PDP as a political party, immediately after finishing one election, they start planning for another one. I have somebody who begged me that he doesn’t want his name to be mentioned. He confessed to me that during the last election between Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and Sheriff Oborevwori, I gave them headache as an activist. He said I did several protests which were geared towards good governance without political colouration. But the PDP said I did it for political reasons.
I talked about the N120bn loan and bad roads in Abraka. In fact one of the leaders in Abraka said ‘since Akima wan fall my hand for where governor dey, I called them not to protest in Abraka because of this road, Akima went ahead to protest. He wan fall my hand for this govt na me go fess fall e hand.’ And this road we are protesting for, when it is done am I the only one who will use the road?
So, I am a sacrificial lamb because they said that if they allow this office to be in my hand, they don’t know what will happen to them in the next election, especially when the Supreme Court has not given verdict on the ongoing court cases. There might be rerun or anything could happen. They are afraid I might use the office to fight them. But they are wrong.
Whatever I did was for the betterment of our people. They wanted somebody they can control, that will lick their boots, that is where we find ourselves. But because God wants to disgrace them, they were unable to take time to follow the electoral guideline which is the edge we have over them.