The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) has denied endorsing Chief Kenneth Gbagi of Social Democratic Party ( SDP). A statement to this effect titled “UPU DID NOT ENDORSE KENNETH GBAGI” and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Abel Oshevire reads:
The attention of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Worldwide, has been drawn to a wicked, mischievous and laughable report on social media purporting that Chief Kenneth Gbagi, Delta State Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has been endorsed by the apex Urhobo socio-cultural organization. We want to state emphatically for the records that the report is not only false and misleading, but a desperate attempt to cause confusion and shatter the peace of the Urhobo Nation as we approach the 2023 General Elections.
We wish to recall that the last time Chief Gbagi attended a function of the UPU was during its 90th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, December 3, 2021, where he joined hundreds of Urhobo people and other Nigerians to rejoice with the organisation on its landmark achievements. Though politicians across party lines were in attendance, outside the address of the UPU President-General, Olorogun Moses Taiga, where he affirmed the readiness of Delta Central Senatorial District for the State’s governorship in 2023, the event was devoid of politics.
We wish to recall again, for the benefit of the public, that this is not the first time that Chief Gbagi has attempted to embarrass the UPU with his childish prank of been endorsed by the UPU. Let it be recalled that sometime in December 2019, Chief Gbagi, then in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was at the Okpare-Olomu country home of Olorogun Moses Taiga, his longtime friend, and elder brother, for a private visit. Unexpectedly, Chief Gbagi turned up with large followers, contrary to the impression he gave his host. At that meeting, the UPU President-General was emphatic that at the right time, the UPU would summon the entire Urhobo nation on the issue of the governorship.
He however charged Chief Gbagi to continue with his consultations, informing him that he would be invited to see the UPU at the appropriate time. Traditionally, Olorogun Moses Taiga prayed for his friend and younger brother, wishing him well in his aspirations.
After the visit, Chief Gbagi mischievously got his media men to do an embarrassing story that UPU had endorsed him. We were forced then, like we are doing again now, to refute the falsehood. We are also aware of a viral video from that visit, doctored to frame the talk of endorsement, without revealing the discussions that preceded the prayers.
We wish to State that like other Urhobo Governorship aspirants in the PDP, Chief Gbagi was invited in March 2022, to an interactive session with a Special Committee of the UPU. The Committee, which was headed by the President-General, was tasked with pruning down the number of Urhobo aspirants in the primaries of major political parties, so as not to divide Urhobo votes in the face of stiff opposition from our Ijaw brothers. The letter of invitation to all the governorship aspirants clearly stated the objectives of the interactive sessions. But surprisingly, Chief Gbagi, for reasons best known to him, did not turn up for the interactive session, despite reminders extended to him. Indeed, he snubbed the UPU. Chief Gbagi did not present himself for any form of assessment by the UPU that could necessitate an endorsement, then or now. We challenge him on this.
Indeed, we see the said report as the figment of a deceptive mind. Therefore, we urge the Urhobo Nation to dismiss it, for what it is.
We want to seriously caution, advise and appeal to Chief Gbagi to desist from using the name of UPU and the PG to gain cheap popularity in his political adventure. The Governorship primaries of all the political parties have come and gone. Thankfully, in answer to UPU’s desire and prayers, and that of the entire Urhobo nation, the next governorship election in Delta State is an all-Urhobo affair. We advise our Urhobo governorship candidates to market themselves across the State, to increase their chances at the General Elections. False media materials from any Governorship candidate, particularly one that seeks to cause disunity and incoherence within our ranks, will only de-market the offending candidate and cast serious questions on his integrity.
We advise that rather than spreading falsehoods of endorsement by Mr. A, Chief B, and the father of Dr. C, all our Urhobo Governorship candidates must hit the streets of the State and campaign for the votes of Deltans at the forthcoming election.
Hon. Abel Oshevire,
National Publicity Secretary,
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