Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate and former minister of State for education, Olorogun Barr. Kenneth Gbagi, OON, has advised eligible Nigerians particularly the Church not to sell their votes during the 2023 general elections.
Gbagi, with intimidating credentials and track records of development as the largest private investor in Delta State spoke on Sunday October 30th 2022, during a meeting of the Catholic youth of Warri Diocese under the auspices of Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria, (OLEH REGION), held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ozoro, Isoko north local government area of the state.
“Everybody here are people of voting age, there is very serious danger that is stirring at us in Delta State. As it is today, while the Church is going on as everything is normal, all is not normal.
“For those of you who were born before 1999 to date, the catastrophy of backwardness and destruction had continued and we are saying there is hope.
“Because the Catholic Church, is the strongest church in the world, I know Catholics faithful that have changed government. They sit down like this, because they can hear each other, they changed a seating government.
“And when I say a seating government, I am not just talking about a state government, they have changed a national government in the Philippines.
“We will have difficulties, as we speak today, Delta State is owing N387 billion and he (Okowa) has received N2. 8 trillion. As we are coming now, the roads does not reflect the road of a state that have received that type of money.
“As we are coming, the faces of these children in this church does not replicate a State where such money has been received. My believe is that if you continue to sit down here and pretend that all is well, election is coming.
“When the election comes, somebody who calls you a fool and you agree that you are a fool, it’s regrettable. This election that is coming, they will come to you because you have PVCs, they will give you N10, 000, N20, 000 or N30, 000 as the case maybe.
“At the end of the day after receiving that money, they have succeeded in using that little money to buy all that you believed in for eight years. That two minutes vote that you voted, you have either voted for the fall, backwardness or poverty of the church as a Catholic.
“So, it was a great relief that these magnitude of young persons are gathered. The plea to you is that, do not sell your votes for money because were you to make that mistake, you are part and parcel of the reason why we have not been able to floor this church that we are seated in today.
“It will interest you to note that the oldest party in Nigeria, that is working, is the Social Democratic Party, because it was the SDP that Olorogun Felix Ibru, became governor of Delta State and it was with that party that MKO Abiola, became president that was denied.
“My younger ones, we cannot be the best yet, we are nothing. I make bold to tell you on a clean ground that this is the first time that a Catholic will aspire to be governor of Delta State .
“If you do not fight for a true Catholic for the first time to come and bring the body of Christ into governance, because the problem that we have is that the Church is separated from the governance of the state and as a Catholic, it is my believe that I will make it work.
“l have come to tell you that I am a Catholic, don’t sell your votes and check all the governorship candidates. You need someone you can be proud of, I plead with you, check who wants to govern you.
“I appeal to you, don’t sell your votes but vote for credible leaders that would provide basic infrastructure that would enhance the wellbeing of the Church”, Gbagi said.
He said that it was only through the peaceful conduct of electoral process that credible and honest elected representatives would emerge.
“If we want to have it good, we must work towards electing responsible people to manage our State resources for optimal performance”, he said.
He said that the desired objectives of having good democratic governance would only be possible if eligible Deltans would shun all kind of money politics and not engage in selling their voter’s cards.
In his response, the Youth Chaplain, Rev. Father Tega Ogbeni, commended Gbagi, who thought it wise enough to visit the Church.
“Before now, those vying for political positions will just visit the palace and visit some few persons and they go away, believing that they will win. I thank God that you have ernest need to be here that the youths are needed.
“The awareness is beginning to be there. The political awareness is now getting to the minds of the individual and that is why we are all seated here today, listening to you.
“We have listened and it has been our prayers as Catholics especially in Delta State for a Catholic to be a governor so that the Church can have a direct impact on governance.
“In the history of Delta State, I am aware that the Catholic Church has never produced the governor and the Catholic Church has been trying to liaise with the government but sometimes, it may not scale through because even those governors have their own churches and agenda.
“As Catholics, we believe in good governance and we don’t believe in words only, we believe in action. I want to assure you that these are Christian faithfuls who are gathered here and I believe they have good conscience and they can make the right choice.
“As a church, we pray for you that you will be successful and that God’s grace will be with you and that just as you have this good heart to lead the people of God, I pray that God who works miraculously, will do it for you”.
Also, the President of the body, Peter Ijesah, assured him (Gbagi) that the youths would do the needful come 2023.
The leadership of the Catholic Youth Organization, present at the meeting are Peter Ijesah, President,
Ukutegbe Benedict, Vice President I,
Tejiri franca, Vice Presidential II,
Oghenede Matthew, Secretary,
Ifeoma Mary Ekezeh, Assistant Secretary, Obreba kome, Financial Secretary, Diamond Juliet, Assistant Treasurer.
Others include Sunday Matthew Orosevwohwo, DOS I, Stanley Ahoafa, DOS II, Eseoghene Arehoba, PROVOST II, Kenneth, PROVOST I, Pullah Theresa, Liberian, Okafor Rosemary, Pastoral Head, Omoba Emmanuel, PRO I,
Okolakpa Kendis, PRO II, Salice fortune – WELFARE. I and Doctor Sophia, WELFARE II.
While on the entourage of the SDP governorship candidate are the South-south Vice Chairman of the party, Elder Fred Owhotorofa, the Deputy governorship candidate, Chief Mrs. Rosemary Ishioma Oshilim, the Delta Central Senatorial Chairman, Comrade Mike Dugbo, Onyidu George, Delta North Director, party members and teeming supporters.