Deputy leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor Okuweh, yesterday engaged the president of an Isoko youth group, Isaac Ogaga Egbuwoku, in a physical brawl. An eyewitness told SaharaReporters that “dignity and decorum were thrown to the winds as the two men scuffled and punched each other.”
The fight took place at the country home of the Federal lawmaker. SaharaReporters was told that tempers flared shortly after a public hearing on constitutional review held at Opute Hall in Ozoro, headquarters of Isoko North local government area of Delta State. Several Isoko people who attended the hearing said they were disappointed with the exercise, with one of them describing it as “a mere political jamboree.”
Several sources disclosed that trouble brewed when the youth leader and his followers arrived at the lawmaker’s home and demanded to be paid for services they rendered at the hearing.
The physical brawl between the lawmaker and the youth leader lasted five minutes before calm was restored. Among those who witnessed the fisticuffs were the member representing Isoko North constituency in the state house of Assembly, Tim Owhofere, a special assistant to the Secretary of the State Government, Mike Ogwa, and the pioneer speaker of the state assembly and current chief adviser to the state governor on legislative matters, Emmanuel Okoro.
Two eyewitnesses said that, as soon as the Federal lawmaker and the youth activist attacked each other, some thugs suspected to be working for the lawmaker pounced on Mr. Egbuwoku and roughed him for engaging their boss in a physical combat.
In interviews with a correspondent, the leaders and members of other youth organizations who had also thronged the lawmaker’s country home to be paid for undisclosed services at the public hearing, described the lawmaker’s action as uncivilized and arrogant.
Numerous eyewitnesses said that the youth activist came out of the lawmaker’s house with his shirt torn. They also suggested that he left the compound with his followers in anger without receiving the fee that generated the fight.
The sources said the lawmaker subsequently came out to talk briefly with other youths waiting in his compound. “He gathered them and gave out some money which the youths shared among themselves,” said a source.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Egbuwoku admitted that he was at the lawmaker’s residence to fees he promised to pay the youths who rendered security services at the public hearing of the constitution review. He said the legislator turned around to treat him with disdain.
“Yes, [he] and I fought in his house because he lacks manner of approach,” said Mr. Egbuwoku. He added: “The behavior of the lawmaker who had agreed that I mobilize for him twenty youths to the arena of the public hearing was barbaric and shocking. As a member of the lower chambers, he ought to have comported himself in a more mature manner rather than addressing everybody like touts working in the motor park. Instead of releasing the money we both agreed for the youths, he was busy ridiculing me and playing [on] my intelligence because I was in his house.”
The youth activist said the lawmaker was lucky that his thugs were cautioned, otherwise something terrible could have happened in the premises.
Some of the witnesses accused the lawmaker of arrogant indifference, alleging that he was fond of boasting that he had amassed more than a billion naira to enable him to return to his seat in the National Assembly whether his constituents back him or not.
The lawmaker did not answer calls made to his mobile phone nor did he respond to text messages. However, one of his aides said it was not true that Mr. Okuweh fought with anybody.