The pangs of political defeat
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By Fred Edoreh

Truly, political defeat can be terribly traumatizing. The pain of loss can lead to Complex-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, even as their expressions are mere gibberish misinformation and illogic, 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 the state of mind and, perhaps, can enable us to prescribe possible therapies for their recovery.

As Prof. William Shaffir and Steven Kleinknecht explained in their timeless article, “The Trauma of Political Defeat”:

“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.

“Political defeat is experienced like death. You have loss, anger, and sadness. Defeat represents rejection at its extreme,” 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 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 also 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 and soften their loss by denying the reality of their failure and building a myth around their rejection.

They thus can blame the loss on their party for bad structure, its leaders for poor management of the electoral process, federal might for not showing up as boasted, the opposition for being too strong, the media for bad press or the people for not accepting them.

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

He moaned that, “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.”

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.

It is also to be noted that Agege could not properly identify his opponent in the election as he wasted all his time campaigning against Okowa while Oborevwori engaged the people.

In another belated falsehood, he claimed that Oborevwori presented no manifesto nor made any promise to the people before they voted him, and thus vented 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. In one breath, he says Oborevwori made no promises and, in another breath, he admits 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 the MORE Agenda as far better and more comprehensible than Agege’s “Edge and Band” which was and remains meaningless, 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 promises, he has since 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.

It is like cleaning up the state, and it is indeed such a wonderful thing to see that Oborevwori is giving completion and meaning to all the previous administrations of the state.

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 its completion brings to the State.

Similarly, Deltans do not mind Oborevwori also holding place for the completion of 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 connect over five Local Government Areas, the Isheagu-Ewulu Road in Aniocha South, the Okpanam-Ibusa Bypass in Oshimili North, the Ute-Ukpu road in Ika North-East, 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 that 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 arrears.

How I wish the contract on the Uzere-Patani Road initiated to open 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 our psychology class, we can understand how pained Agege and his aides feel at his defeat and how bitter they are now, seeing that Oborevwori is also performing in flying colours, which leaves them no chance of recovery.

My only advice to them is to crawl out of their agony and the shell of defeat, accept reality, stop sulking, stop fouling the air and find a new life. They must understand that Agege cannot achieve mental and psychological recovery through deception, falsehood, misinformation, disinformation nor unintelligent propaganda.

Unfortunately for them, he will forever remain rejected at the polls, 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 these cries from Agege’s political funeral.


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