By Zik Gbemre,


It would not have been my place to respond to the malicious smear campaign by a certain foul mouthed Emmanuel Ogheneochuko Arodovwe, directed against Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, if the highly accomplished Ughievwen son, lawyer, investor and politician were still alive.

Gbagi would have cleared the air. He fended off bigger character assassinations against his name before he joined his forbearers recently. Besides if left to fester, the erroneous impression Arodovwe has created about Gbagi in death might be interpreted as the position of the Urhobo Historical Society, UHS.

Clearly from tone of Emmanuel Ogheneochuko Arodovwe, this hate against Gbagi in death is a hatchet job for his paymaster. What it is intended to achieve still beats my imagination.

Gbagi contested and lost the 2023 Delta guber election under SDP. It is not proper to run a man of his calibre down when he is no longer alive to defend self. Every person has his/her weaknesses and strengths. You try to compare Gbagi with Charles Obule. Gbagi was not in competition with Obule when both men were alive.

Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi was my loyal friend and I can attest that most of the stories about Gbagi were not true. There was a time it was rumoured that Gbagi had lions and would release them on a certain day on entire Warri, Ekpan, Effurun and environs.

People didn’t let their children to go to school that day for fear of being eaten by Gbagi’s lions. It was never true Gbagi had lions in his premises to release anywhere.

In my assessment, Gbagi was a man who didn’t want any person to steal from him no matter how small it was. He wouldn’t have allowed any person to steal a dime from him. Gbagi was not bad as he was painted by people who didn’t know him well but based their stories on hearsay.

He was not a perfect man, no person for sure. I criticise public officers no matter who and what they are since it is their responsibility to govern and make laws/policies. For that some persons call me a noise maker or a trouble maker.

Whatever I say in your absence I will say it in your presence no matter who and what is involved. I don’t like fair whether friends. I don’t criticise public officers to get favours from any person.

You Emmanuel Oghebeochuko Arodovwe aren’t being fair on Gbagi after his demise. One expected you to write about him when he was alive to defend himself.

May be he would have told you why he took certain decisions. Precisely on 1st June 2023 I came hard on Chief Michael Adiotomre when Governor Sheriff Oborevwori praised him on his birthday. I reminded Oborevwori and Chief Adiotomre how Adiotomre, Olomukoro, Andrew Desi and other Urhobo people employed in Delta Steel Company (DSC) by Sen Fred Brume betrayed the pioneer head in DSC.

Emmanuel Ogheneochuko Arodovwe, never you judge a book by its cover until you read the content of the book. Ogheneochuko Arodovwe, I don’t think you know Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi as you have assumed in your hate reflection dated 14th June, 2024.

Do you know Gbagi has been giving scholarship to Ughievwen indigent students for past 30 years? Gbagi provided medical care for the needy. I still remember how Gbagi medical team provided medical care during the Covid-19 when he took palliative to Iwhrekan community locals in their community hall and when he saw the video of a young lady with tumour in her lower jaw, Gbagi quickly asked the medical team to take her for urgent treatment and surgery.

Gbagi medical team visited many communities in the three Delta Senatorial Districts to provide food and medicare to locals during the Covid-19. Good or bad as you may look at it Gbagi provided commercial infrastructure for people in the town.

Who doesn’t know Robinson Plaza which has provided business opportunities for young people? Gbagi commercial infrastructures are in Deco Road Warri and PTI Junction Effurun at the express road. Gbagi didn’t believe in giving you fish but teach you how to fish to earn a living.

He had option of stockpiling his wealth in bank vaults but he didn’t do that but invested his wealth to create wealth for the people. Gbagi and Obule were two different people and the comparison was uncalled for.

Both men impacted on society positively. For Gbagi he didn’t blow his trumpet for supporting the needy neither did he brag about his humanitarian achievements for the society.

Gbagi was not a person you could praise to get his attention. He was a astute business tycoon. He believed you must work to earn honest incomes. He didn’t believe in shortcuts to amass wealth. He believed in hard work to earn a living.

It is not true Gbagi wanted to impose a name on his Oginibo town. The decision was not entirely his. I leave that for his kinsmen to throw more light on “Oginibo and Oginibu”.

Splitting Ughievwen into four clans/kingdoms was not a decision by only Gbagi but by a group of Ughievwen elites who believed that Ughievwen has for children namely Orhowhe, Owawha, Ukpedi and Uhurie, each sub-clan or sub-kingdom is big enough to be a kingdom/clan.

Their argument was that if Ephron-Otor (Effurun-Otor) a single town could be a kingdom of its own why can’t the sub-clans of Ughievwen consisting of many towns become kingdoms of their own.

They also argued that Avwraka (Abraka) and Idjerhe-Mosogar got splited into separate kingdoms, so why can’t Ughievwen a big kingdom with many towns split into more kingdoms?

This school of thought also cited Okparabe kingdom, a single town, hence the call for Ughievwen to be divided into four kingdoms. The selection of Okobaro has brought a lot of deep disputes due to arguments/disagreements on which sub-clan should produce Okobaro in the past many years before the court decided in favour of the present Okobaro of Ughievwen.

Gbagi also built a Health Centre in his home Oginibo town of Ughelli South which has been treating the locals free for the past years. Gbagi relocated to his home town of Oginibo to live among his people for more than 25 years before his passing, unlike many elites who live in urban cities and towns. He was proud to live among his locals until his demise.

It’s unfortunate the paymaster who induced Arodovwe to indulge in this hate against Gbagi’s in death benefited from Gbagi while alive.

He claimed Gbagi didn’t support anybody at anytime. It is not true Gbagi didn’t pay workers as assumed by Emmanuel Arodovwe. I remember I confronted him on this and he had to bring his payment records to prove that that rumour of non-payment of workers was a frame up and it was untrue.

On issue of naked workers, Gbagi won all cases brought against him on this matter. It was a political strategy by his opponents within PDP to demarket him before the public.

A popular Urhobo monarch, not even Ughievwen, now demised, was sponsored to UK for medical care and treatment at one time or the other and so many elders who benefitted from him like, Chief Obofukoro.


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