Read the life and politics of serial gubernatorial contestant and political defector Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who clocked 57 years on August 3.
Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, born on August 3, 1963, an indigene of Orogun, Ughelli North Local government area, Delta State, Nigeria, is a graduate of University of Benin.
A lawyer by profession, Omo-Agege is the current Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate. He is the two-term senator representing Delta State Central Senatorial District (from 2015 to date). A one-time gubernatorial candidate, he was a former secretary to state government (SSG), commissioner and executive assistant in Delta state.
He is also the Chairman/CEO of TechSprings Ltd, a dredging and oil services corporation based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Omo-Agege is married to Rosemary Omo-Agege and they both have five children.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege attended St. George Grammar school, Obinomba Obiaruku, Delta State. He graduated in 1985 from the University of Benin with a degree in Law. He was called to the Nigerian bar in 1986. In 2002, he obtained his master’s degree in law from Tulane University Law School.
Omo-Agege was deployed to Kwara State for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He completed his NYSC with the Directorate of Criminal investigation and intelligence, Nigerian Police Force, Kwara State Command.
In 1987, Omo-Agege launched his legal career by working with Pat Okupa & Co. in Lagos.
In 1989, Omo-Agege co-founded a law firm, Agege & Co. Omo-Agege, and then moved to the United States of America in 1990, where he worked as a foreign associate at Charles O Agege’s law office in Los Angeles, California.
Omo-Agege was called to the state bar of California, United State District Court and the United States Supreme Court, Washington, DC.
Omo-Agege returned to Nigeria in 1992 to establish Omo-Agege & Associates where he was also Senior Partner. In 1996, he merged his firm Omo-Agege & Associates in a partnership resulting in the name Agege & Esin.
Omo-Agege started out in politics by contesting for the ticket to be a representative at the House of Representatives under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, a ticket he lost in the party primaries. In 2003, former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, appointed Omo-Agege as an executive assistant, a position he held for two years. He was later appointed as a commissioner for special duties by the governor.
Omo-Agege was elevated to the position of Secretary to State Government (SSG) of Delta State by Governor James Ibori in 2007.
Omo-Agege ran for the office of the Governor of Delta State but lost out at the People Democratic Party’s primaries to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Omo-Agege ran for Senate in 2015 under the platform of the Labour Party. He was elected as a senator representing Delta central senatorial district on March 28, 2015.
Omo-Agege defected from the Labour Party to All Progressive Congress (APC) on March 7, 2017, and was re-elected as senator in the 2019 general elections. On June 11, 2019, he emerged as the new Deputy Senate President of the 9th National Assembly with 68 votes cast to beat Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP with 37 votes.
From 1998 onward, Ovie Omo-Agege had identified with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) where he served as an aide, commissioner and then SSG in the administration of former governor James Ibori of Delta state.
In 2007, he contested for the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP which he lost to eventually winner of the general election, Uduaghan.
After the annulment of the election of Uduaghan in November 2010 by an appeal court, Senator Omo-Agege was nominated to replace the deceased flagbearer of the Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN) in the rerun election of January 6, 2011.
After losing the rerun election to Uduaghan, Mr Omo-Agege defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to contest the April 2011 general election and afterwards picked its gubernatorial ticket. Omo-Agege polled a distant third (15,526) behind Uduaghan of the PDP (525,793) and Great Ogboru of the Democratic People’s Party, DPP (433,834).
Having twice faced defeats in his quests to become a governor of Delta State, Omo-Agege humbled himself by stooping to conquer the Delta Central senatorial district.
Before the March 28, 2015 general elections, Omo-Agege defected again to Labour Party (LP), where he picked its ticket without much tussle.
At first the election did not go his way as the PDP candidate, Ighoyota Amori, was declared winner and sworn in. But his setback at the electoral tribunal was upturned after the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, Edo State declared him winner on December 21, 2015.
But the urge of defection took over the senator again on March 6, 2017, when he defected to the ruling party, APC of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ovie Omo-Agege has been involved in many political battles including being accused of snatching the Senate’s symbol of authority, the mace, on April 18, 2018, which the Senate ex-spokeman, Sabi Abdullahi described as “act of treason,” and “an attempt to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria by force.”
Prior to this incidence, the Senate presided over by the 8th assembly’s senate president Bukola Saraki had suspended Omo-Agege on April 12, 2018 over an alleged “dissenting comment” on the decision of the upper chamber to adopt the conference report on INEC ACT (2010) Amendment Bill altering the sequence of the 2019 general elections.
The suspension which was to last 90 legislative days was later quashed by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on May 10, 2018.
On May 19, 2020, a group, the Trustees of Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative approached the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking the withdrawal of the Certificate of Return issued to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
The group premised their case on the grounds that Mr. Omo-Agege was not a competent, fit and proper person to hold the esteemed offices of a senator and deputy senate president considering a judgement passed by the Department of the State Bar Court sitting in Los Angeles, California, USA on November 30, 1995.
In the said hearing in USA, Mr. Omo-Agege was allegedly sentenced to jail and suspended from law practice for two years for felony involving moral turpitude, forgery of cheques amounting to $890 with which he intended to defraud the Bank of America, Ahined Mehone and Elpert Defrietas in violation of California penal code section 470.
But delivering his judgement on the case, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja court described the case as an abuse of court process, saying a court with coordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High Court, had already decided the issue in the suit.
“In the light of the above, the plaintiff is bound by the judgment of my brother, Justice O.A Musa of the FCT High Court delivered on January 29 wherein it was declared that the defendant was not convicted,” Justice Mohammed ruled.
He therefore dismissed the suit with a punitive cost of N1.2m awarded against the plaintiff and its lawyer, Mr Edward Omaga.
Since the inception of the 9th Assembly, NassNig.org, the National Assembly’s website, shows that the Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has only sponsored four bills, and all them have only scaled through the first reading.
These bills are Court of Appeal Act (Amendment) Bill (2019), Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill (2019), National Industrial Court Act (Amendment) Bill (2019) and Sexual Harassment Bill (2019).
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege can be reached through his constituency office, Urhobo House, 34 Isoko Road, Ughelli, called on 07033399937 or emailed at [email protected].