Omo-Agege and the trauma of political defeat – By Fred Edoreh

By Fred Edoreh

Truly, political defeat can be terribly traumatizing. The pain of loss can lead to Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the symptoms of which include low self-perception, poor emotional regulation, amnesia in consciousness, loss of sense of reality and dullness in judgment.

The trauma is not only on the defeated politician but also on his aides and personal staff. They all first suffer disbelief, then pain, then anger, not just against the winner but also against the electorate, the entire society and the governmental system. The trauma can be prolonged for months and even years.

It is in this context that we can understand the unending pain being suffered by Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege and his aides who, still haunted by their loss, are erroneously seeking healing by attacking the person and government of His Excellency, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, the Governor of Delta State, albeit with gibberish misinformation and illogic, and constantly sounding like broken record on old gramophone.

Their condition is well captured in various literatures on the psychology of defeat, which helps us to understand their hopelessness and, perhaps, can enable us to prescribe possible therapies for their recovery.

Their suffering is so well explained by Prof William Shaffir and Steven Kleinknecht in their article, “The Trauma of Political Defeat.”

Both scholars pointed out that “the suddenness of defeat and loss of public attention has an abrupt and direct impact on the politician’s identity,” as he is now sidelined, forced to deal with a new reality – the stigma of defeat and the severe blow to his ego.

“It is in this context that political defeat is experienced like death. You have loss, anger, sadness. Defeat represents rejection at its extreme,” they wrote, explaining that it is because the loser did not only get defeated by just the winner, but especially because he was rejected by over 360,000 people, as was the case with Agege.

The disappointment, the embarrassment destroys his self-esteem and the grief can be unending, especially as he stares at the loss of such status and prestige as Deputy Senate President and loss of the object of his inordinate and miscalculated chase.

Also contributing to the discourse, Patrick Gallagher noted in his book, “Traumatic Defeat,” that the vanquished try to explain, soften their loss and deny their failure by building myths around the process and rejecting reality.

They can blame the loss on their party for bad structure, its leaders for poor management of the election, Federal might for not showing up as boasted, the opposition for being too strong or the media for bad press.

I decided on this intellectual approach to the issue just to let them know that their ailment is universally well known and subject to scholarly research.

In a recent article titled “Thinking Aloud: Is Governor Sheriff Oborevwori A Placeholder For Senator Ifeanyi Okowa?,” one Ovasa Ogaga, a known Agege apologist, tried to blame his failure on the immediate past Governor for campaigning for Oborevwori, and also on the electorate for accepting him and rejecting Agege.

“During the 2023 governorship election campaign, the APC governorship candidate, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, warned Deltans that electing Oborevwori would essentially be a third term for Okowa… A man who remained mostly silent throughout the campaign, with former Governor Okowa speaking for him,” he moaned.

This needs no reply because it is most politically unintelligent for Agege and his men to be angry that Okowa campaigned for the candidate of his party, even as Agege himself seemingly also was relying on Federal might to twist the election to his favour.

On another belated falsehood that Oborevwori presented no manifesto nor made any promise to the people before they voted him, the writer further expressed their frustration against the public for choosing Oborevwori over Agege,

“Can Deltans in good conscience hold Governor Oborevwori accountable for promises he never made? How many Deltans took the time to read through his hurriedly put-together campaign manifesto, encapsulated as the MORE Agenda, to understand what it offered before casting their votes?,” he cried.

This again is as laughable as it is illogical. How can someone say in one breath that Oborevwori made no promises and in another breath admit that he had a manifesto that he recognized was “encapsulated as the MORE Agenda?”

While the allusion to the conscience of Deltans in voting Oborevwori is as ridiculous as it is cowardly, of course Deltans understood the MORE Agenda and its cardinal points of Meaningful Development, Opportunities for All, Realistic Reforms, and Enhanced Peace and Security.

They understood that the MORE Agenda was far better and more comprehensible than Agege’s “Edge and Band” which was and remains meaningless to them, the reason why they chose Oborevwori and rejected Agege.

Beyond that, it is well known that Oborevwori made specific and clear promises on his inaugural address to Deltans: that he would pursue the completion of inherited projects, initiate new ones, give Warri and Uvwie Metropolis, the economic hub of the state, a facelift, provide more enabling environment for the attraction of investments as well as ensure workers’ welfare and the socio-economic progress of the people.

In keeping with his promise, he has launched the infrastructural and urban renewal of Warri and Uvwie with a bang, with the contracting of Julius Berger, for the first time in Delta State government, to construct three flyover bridges, a cloverleaf and road expansion projects in the twin metropolis.

No matter the falsehood and deliberate attempt to disinform the public that the project is “overhyped and over-inflated,” Deltans can see that the work is steadily in progress and they are happy.

It is indeed also high folly to suggest that Oborevwori is holding place for Okowa for choosing to complete inherited projects. On the contrary, Deltans are very happy and proud that Oborevwori seems rather to be holding place for all past Governors of Delta State, by reviving and aiming to complete all their delayed or abandoned projects, to give meaning to the dictum that government is a continuum, to recover the value of the investments made with the funds of the state over the years and to fulfil the long expectations of the people to enjoy those infrastructure and amenities.

Thankfully, the writer recognized, in his words, “the completion of a few rural and urban roads initiated by the Okowa’s administration, and continued work on sections A and C of the Ughelli-Ozoro-Kwale-Asaba road.”

He only deliberately forgot to remember that the Ughelli-Asaba Road Dualisation Project referred to was initiated by the administration of Chief James Ibori and has passed through Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and Okowa. Therefore, Deltans are pleased that Oborevwori is giving it vigorous attention with a view to completing it once and for all.

If that means being a placeholder for any of our past Governors, Oborevwori will proudly accept because of the value it’s completion brings to the state.

Similarly, Deltans do not mind Oborevwori also holding place to complete the Beneku Bridge which connects Ndokwa East and West, the Trans Warri – Ode Itsekiri road project connecting various riverine Itsekiri communities, of which 15 of the 19 bridges have been completed, the Orere Bridge which connects over 16 communities, the Bedeseigha and Ayakoromo bridges in Ijaw land which connects over five local government areas, the Isheagu-Ewulu Road in Aniocha, the Okpanam-Ibusa Bypass in Oshimili/Aniocha, the Ute – Ukpu road in Ika, the completion of the storm water drainage projects in Ika North East, Warri and Uvwie, the sprawling Harbour Market in Udu initiated during the Ibori administration but abandoned midway after the state had put in so much money, the Emevor-Orogun Road, the Ibabu – Onicha Ukwani road etc etc.

The list is endless and well spread across the three Senatorial Districts, and it is satisfying that the writer recognized thst the ministries of works, both Highways and Urban as well as Riverine and Rural are working.

In the same vein, the students and management of Delta State tertiary institutions are pleased with the numerous projects completed by Oborevwori in their campuses, just like Delta State Public Servants were pleased with Oborevwori’s fulfilment of his electoral pledge to pay up their promotion areas.

How I wish the contract on the Uzere-Patani Road which opens up the vast agricultural lands and aquatic assets through my community, Umeh, Erowha, Ubari and various other communities, undertaken but abandoned by the NDDC long ago, was in the forte of Governor Oborevwori to revive, my people would gladly celebrate his place holding.

In the social investment sector, we have seen the increase of beneficiaries of the Delta-Cares Programme from about 36,000 to over 100,000, besides the recent initiation of the MORE Grant Programme for the support of micro and small scale businesses with over 5,000 beneficiaries, all under one year.

These are besides the upsurge in the inflow of foreign and domestic investments across sectors which has elicited the emergence of various businesses, with the attendant generation of employment, business, enterprise and wealth creation opportunities across the state, all due to Oborevwori’s reform of the ease of doing business in the state.

Back to the psychology of defeat, we can understand that Agege and his aides feel bad that besides defeating him strongly, Oborevwori is also performing in flying colours, which leaves them no chance of recovery.

My only advice to them is to crawl back into their shell of defeat, accept reality, stop sulking, stop fouling the air and find a new life, because Agege cannot recover his political loss by deception, falsehood, misinformation, disinformation nor unintelligent propaganda.

He will forever remain rejected, a forgotten politician and an old story because Deltans are experiencing a new era of constructive governance and development and they don’t need the distraction of Agege and his crying boys.

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