FRED LATIMORE AND THE POLITICS OF MUDSLINGING – PART 1

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FRED LATIMORE

Towards the end of 2018, the Evelyn Oboro Campaign Organization through the instrumentality of one Barrister Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe spew out several baseless and unfounded allegations against the person of distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege titled “RE: SENATE IS NOT FOR BEAUTY PAGEANTS, SENATOR OMO-AGEGE GOOFED YET AGAIN”. Although, the campaign team of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has decided not to dignify the parochial attempt of the opposition with a response and rather focus on real issues, as a person who witnessed the said event that is the subject of Latimore’s propaganda, let me set the record straight.

First, Latimore did not see anything wrong with the illegal suspension of our senator for merely speaking his mind which is adequately guaranteed in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To Latimore and people like him, it is a victory, even when a competent court has declared the suspension illegal. For the avoidance of doubt, Senator Omo-Agege’s illegal suspension set a new precedence in the Nigerian legislative landscape, because a competent court set aside the suspension and make a pronouncement that the Senate President based on the recommendation of a committee or whatsoever lacks the powers to suspend a duly elected member of the National Assembly for more than two weeks. No more will a tyrannical Senate President or Speaker of the House of Representatives or State House of Assembly wave a whimsical gavel to suspend a duly elected member in an obnoxious manner anymore. Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has been commended across the length and breadth of Nigeria for standing up to the leadership of the Senate and saving our democracy, especially the National Assembly from the maddening rulership of Saraki and his gang at the National Assembly. If for anything, distinguish Senator Omo-Agege deserves commendation, but feel free to play politics with the issue.

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Secondly, there was no point in time in the course of the inauguration of his campaign council did Omo-Agege made any derogatory statement against women or any Urhobo female politician. The Ughelli Kingdom Hall where the inauguration took place was filled to capacity with large crowd outside the hall consisting of Omo-Agege and Ogboru political family members, APC party members, members of different political and socio-cultural groups including countless highly respected Urhobo mothers and members of the press, yet Evelyn Oboro Campaign Organization could not provide a shred of evidence to back the claim that Senator Omo-Agege made a derogatory statement at the said event. There are also several recordings of the event on social media, yet the Communication Strategist of Evelyn Oboro Campaign Organisation, Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, a barrister by training could not substantiate his claim with any shred of evidence. It is clear that Hon Evelyn and her campaign organization have decided to choose propaganda and smear campaign as their campaign tools to convince voters.
For the avoidance of doubt, it is well known that distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is very concern about the welfare of the girl child and women in general. He is a devoted and loving husband and a responsible father to his children. He has lived his entire life empowering women and girls and giving them the opportunity to aspire to achieve their dreams.
Sen. Omo-Agege respectfully visited the various markets in Delta Central to provide petty traders with financial support in order to boost their economic base. He initiated this gesture since 2017 as a duty to uplift the less privileged especially single mothers and widows who bear the huge responsibility of raising their families from the proceeds of their petty trading. Even after the attempt of harassment and assassination at one of the market, Omo-Agege returned to the same market to continue his support and empowerment programme for women. People like Latimore believe it is an insult and very wrong to try to help people, except the money ran into hundreds or millions of Nigeria. They forgot that in western nations, there is a safety net (welfare programme) for the poor and vulnerable in society. Also, Senator Omo-Agege solely sponsored the Sexual Harassment Bill in the present Senate. He personally went around seeking and appealing to senators and different stakeholders across Nigeria to support the bill because of his passion to see the end to incessant sexual harassment of young girls and our daughters by lecturers in tertiary institutions. It is on record that the Sexual Harassment Bill got the support of every member of the Senate. No bill in Nigeria history has gotten that kind of support. The records are there to check. Also, the Bill was supported by almost every civil liberties organisation in Nigeria and even support from abroad. To label Omo-Agege as someone who does not have regards for women, especially Urhobo women for that matter is a concocted LIE from the pit of hell. It is obvious that Urhobo women across the 24 kingdoms could see the deceit in Fred Latimore’s agenda, hence they are not in any way mobilizing for any protest. What Latimore and Hon. Evelyn failed to understand is the fact that several notable Urhobo women were on ground while Omo-Agege campaign council was constituted and they are very aware that Omo-Agege is too learned to sink to such level in the name of politics.

Thirdly, Latimore noted that “Ovie Omo-Agege sees himself as the leader of the entire Urhobo Nation and not as an elected servant sent to the red chambers to influence projects, attract development and socioeconomic advancement”. Latimore, the mudslinger, should know that Omo-Agege has never seen himself as the leader of the Urhobo people, rather the Urhobo nation sees him as a worthy son, a unifier, a pathfinder and a trailblazer. The Urhobo Nation sees Senator Omo-Agege as a commendable son who is ready to fight and defend the course of the Urhobo people for a better deal at the federal level. His short stay at the 8th Senate has proven this to be true. Senator Omo-Agege has sponsored and presented several bills for the economic and political development of Nigeria, Delta State and Delta Central in particular, he has attracted federal project and executed unprecedented constituency projects across Delta Central in his short stay at the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Traditional rulers, President Generals, Women Groups, Youths including graduates and students have confidence in Senator Omo-Agege’s vision and passion to project the Urhobo course at the national stage. They believe in him to deliver the dividends of democracy to our region, hence, they will massively go to the polls come 2019 to re-elect distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege into the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to carry the torch of the Urhobo people towards greater opportunities.

Latimore went further to make other worthless and baseless claims against Senator Omo-Agage. Let it be known to Hon. Evelyn Oboro, Fred Latimore and their entire campaign organization that NO amount of blackmail or propaganda in order to whip sentiment of the voters in Delta Central will help them to get one extra vote in the forthcoming elections. In fact, this path taken has shown to the good people of Delta Central that Hon. Evelyn Oboro and her campaign will focus on propaganda and smear campaign rather than convince the people of Delta Central about her achievements in her 8 solid years at the House of Representatives and her if elected. Can one really trust a candidate that prefers to dwell on propaganda, deceit and smear campaign to take the mandate of the people to the National Assembly? That question is left for the good people of the district to answer.

Fred Latimore who claimed to be a fellow of a democratic institute ought to advise his principal and her campaign organization on responsible political campaigning, rather he is plunging the campaign organization in a wild goose chase. It is only those that are afraid of their opponents or lack records of achievements that choose propaganda rather than responsible campaign message during elections. Perhaps, despite Latimore’s educational training and political journey, he is only good at playing dirty politics without honour or shame. Latimore should not forget that despite all the propaganda against Buhari in 2015 by PDP, Nigerians still went to the poll to elect Buhari. Latimore is indirectly making the task of re-electing Senator Omo-Agege easier. He is helping Omo-Agege to smoothly ride to victory. He should keep up with the propaganda and smear campaign since that is the only thing he is good at.

In conclusion, whether Hon, Evelyn Oboro, Fred Latimore and co like it or not, distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is a hero of the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is one of the few senators that sponsored the highest number of bills, defeated the hegemony and the tyrannical reign of Bukola Saraki and free the National Assembly from future political impunity from the leadership of the National Assembly. These facts will remain unchallenged in the annals of the Nigerian political history.

Abraham Ekperusi is a political analyst and writes from Warri, Delta State, Nigeria

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