“URHOBO will shine like never before and be great again. I will build bridges of unity among all Urhobo neighbours. There are a lot of works to be done to move the Urhobo nation forward. This is the year of unity for Urhobo nation. Those who have gone astray in Urhobo nation, should examine themselves, have a rethink and do the needful for the sake of the Urhobo Nation.”
These were the words of the newly elected President General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Olorogun Moses Oghenerume Taiga on Monday, January 2, 2017 at the Urhobo Hall Uvwiamuge – Agbarho, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Olorogun Moses Taiga emerged as President General of UPU unchallenged during an election mandated by an emergency Congress of the UPU convened by the Board of Trustees of the union on January 2, 2017 at the UPU secretariat in Uvwiamuge-Agbarho.
Our Correspondent reports that delegates from all kingdoms in Urhobo land as well as representatives of the union in Lagos who stood for those in the diaspora were in attendance just as 13 monarchs including the Ovie of Oghara witnessed the occasion.
The entire premise of the secretariat was orderly as security personnel from the police, army and secret service were on hand to maintain law and order.
Accreditation of the delegates started around 10:00am and ran through 1:00pm when the Secretary of the BOT, High Chief Victor Otomiewo, (The Usiavwe of Ekpan),
Otomiewo’s Presentation at the Emergency Congress
It is my pleasure to welcome all Traditional rulers, Elders, Government representatives and all Delegates to this Emergency/Special National Congress of the Urhobo Progress Union conveyed by the Board of Trustees of the Urhobo Progress Union. The convening of this Emergency National Congress became expedient due and/or as a result of the crisis that has engulfed and/or enveloped our great Union since the passing away of Major General Patrick Aziza.
Based on the express provisions of the Constitution of the Urhobo Progress Union, an emergency congress is supposed be conveyed in times of crises by the Board of Trustees of the Union. It is crystal clear to all that the Urhobo Progress Union is in great crisis, unrest and chaos that has been foisted upon the Union as a result of the in-fighting, allegations and counter-allegations of fraud, abuse of office, gross misconduct as well as flagrant and/or total disregard of the express provisions of the Constitution of the Urhobo Progress Union and other laid down laws perpetuated by members of the immediate past National Executive led by Chief Joe Orode Omene whose tenure expired and/or elapsed on the 2nd of December, 2016.
The crisis rocking and/or that has engulfed the Urhobo Progress Union got to a head on the 2nd of December, 2016, when Chief Joe Orode Omene inspite of two pending suits wherein he and his executives were sued, went ahead to commit a sacriledge and/or an abomination that has never been heard of and/or happened in the over 85years history and/or existence of the Urhobo Progress Union and/or Urhoboland at large by conducting, directing and/or supervising a purported National Election to fill the vacant executive positions and/or offices of the Urhobo Progress Union in his private residence. He thereafter returned and/or proclaimed himself as the President-General and also presented himself a purported certificate of return. The so-called congress convoked by Chief Joe Orode Omene excluded all Urhobo Traditional Rulers, a substantial percentage of elders of Urhoboland, the women folks also known as Eweyare, etc.
Prior to the acts of dictatorship and/or the flagrant abuse and/or disregard for the provisions of the constitution of our great Union referred to above, the Chief Joe Omene led executives had earlier taken the entire Urhobo Nation represented by the certain notable traditional rulers to court in an attempt to ridicule and/or disgrace the traditional rulers and/or desecrate the sacred traditional institution he swore to protect and/or preserve. On several occasions, Chief Joe Omene has taken to the Social Media, newspaper publications to ridicule prominent and/or well respected traditional rulers as well as the Urhobo culture and/or nation in his mad attempt to impose himself on the Urhobo Nation. Without mincing words, the aforementioned acts of rascality and/or illegality perpetuated by the immediate past President General of the Urhobo Progress Union is abominable in its totality and same has made the Union and the Urhobo nation a laughing stock in the comity of tribes and/or nations and same must not be allowed to continue.
Esteemed stakeholders and/or members of our beloved and/or revered Union, to further show the total disregard for the express provisions of the constitution and other laid out laws governing the union and in flagrant and/or violent violation and/or descecration of the said constitution, since the inception and/or assumption of office of the Chief Joe Omene led executive, the annual Urhobo National Congress has been put in abeyance and/or same has not been held for almost five years. Chief Joe Orode Omene also failed, refused and/or neglected to carry out essential functions of his office as demanded by the Constitution but instead has turned the Union into a partisan, social and/or a beggarly Union.
The Functions and/or Powers of the Annual Urhobo National Congress are as provided for and/or enshrined in Article 5, Rule B of the Constitution of Urhobo Progress Union. They include: The Annual Urhobo National Congress is the supreme authority of the Union. It is the policy making body and is responsible for the general tone of the welfare and fortunes of the Union as a whole. The Congress shall take decisions on board issues of policy, consider and decide matters referred to it by the National Executives and through the National Executives by branches; the Annual Urhobo National Congress shall have powers to elect National Officers as provided under Article 8, remove any National Officer or Trustees from office, suspend, expel or otherwise sanction any branch or other organs of the union or under the union, impose a fine or a levy on any member or on any other organ of the Union or under the Union; Approve or ratify any decision of the National Executive Council with regards to all the matters aforementioned; the Annual Urhobo National Congress may from time to time delegate powers, authority and functions to the National Executive Council and shall, as it may deem necessary, or advisable, appoint Committees or Sub-Committees for specific or general purposes; the Annual Urhobo National Congress shall receive reports of branches and all agencies of the union, circulate them and cause same to be debated at the Annual Urhobo National Congress. However, any branch may raise any issue on the floor under General; the Annual Urhobo National Congress, subject to consultation with the National Executive Council have power to promulgate the educational and administrative policies of the union’s educational institutions and the Annual Urhobo National Congress shall have power to do, or not to do any matter within its aims and objectives but which may not have been specifically stated in these statues. Any decision taken by the Annual Urhobo National Congress shall be final, conclusive and binding upon all members, branches and all organs of the Union or under the Union.
Distinguished and Eminent personalities here present, never in the over eight-five years history of our great Union has the Urhobo Progress Union, nay the Urhobo Nation been more divided and/or disunited as it is today. It is for the above stated reasons that the Board of Trustees of our great Union, in compliance with the express provisions of the Constitution of the Urhobo Progress Union decided to intervene and invoked its powers by conveying this Emergency/ Special Congress in a bid to restore peace, sanity and tranquility within the Pride of the Urhobo Nation.
At this juncture, for the avoidance of doubt, it is important to put it on record that the Board of Trustees of the Urhobo Progress Union has no power to fix a date and/or conduct elections into the vacant positions of the National Executive Council or to set up a Caretaker Committee without the mandate and/or the endorsement of the National Congress. It is a notorious fact that no valid or legal congress has been held since the advent of the Chief Joe Orode Omene led administration and their tenor of office which they inherited from the late Major General Patrick Aziza led executive terminated on the 2nd of December, 2016.
By the Constitution of the Urhobo Progress Union and all other Laws and/or Guidelines governing the affairs of our revered Union, there is vacancy in all the positions provided for in Article 7, Rule 1 of the Constitution of the Urhobo Progress Union. As it is today, the Urhobo Progress Union has no structure at the National level apart from the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees which hitherto had nine members now has just three members left hence the need to call and/or convoke this National Congress to take a firm, legal and valid decision on the following:- Filling the vacant positions in the National Executive Council, Filling of the vacancy in the Board of Trustees and Any other business urgent and imperative for the smooth running of the Urhobo Progress Union.
The Urhobo Nation has gone through its most traumatic experience particularly in the last five years. The foremost Urhobo union that was founded by our fathers to make Urhobo one of the most progressive people in Nigeria for a great and united Urhobo Nation that can hold its own any where in the world has been criminally abused, traditionally debased by some few selfish, criminally minded, clueless and visionless individuals whose sole ambition is to use the Urhobo Progress Union as a platform to amass filty wealth, political positions, peddle unmerited influence using the name and influence of our heroes past. The Urhobo Nation must rise up and restore and/or reclaim its lost glory among the comity of tribes in Delta State and Nigeria as a whole.
The convening and/or convoking of this National Congress is not accidental. The ancestors are awake. The Urhobo Nation must arise, put in place credible, selfless and Urhobo conscious individuals in positions of responsibility, who have the growth, development and/or progress of the Urhobo Nation as their objective and/or priority and who will work tirelessly to ensure that the Urhobo Nation once again assume its pride of place in the comity of nations. The days when the Urhobo Progress Union was used for partisan interest must be put in the past. No sacrifice is too must to reclaim and/or restore the glory of the past.
Distinguished and highly referred Traditional Rulers, Elders, Egweyares, today is the day that the Lord has made for us to take a critical decision and/or plot the road map on how to move the Urhobo Nation forward. No person’s ambition, greed or personal interest is worth the growth, development, dignity and/or the Pride of the Urhobo Nation. Therefore, the decision whether to put in place a caretaker committee or to conduct an election rest squarely on everyone here present. The Board of Trustees is here to do the bidding of the Urhobo Nation.
Our Correspondent recalls that the Secretary, Board of Trustees of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), a social-cultural apex body in Urhobo land, Chief (Barr.) Victor Otomiewo, had said that UPU is in a mess, adding that the union never held any election that produced the Chief Joe Omene led executive porpotedly held on 2nd December, 2016.
The UPU BOT Secretary who spoke to journalists at his Chamber in Ekpan on plan to hold special / emergency congress of the Union and described the purported UPU election election that produce Chief Omene as a charade.
He said Omene did not follow the constitution of the UPU which states that it was only a congress of the UPU that has the powers to dissolve the executive before any election could hold.
He also said that Omene erred when he decided to change the election venue from the UPU house in Ovwiamughe to his compound at Jesse, adding that it was only a Congress that has the powers to change a venue of any UPU election.
The UPU has been embroiled in internal crisis for the past four years now after the demise of the former President General, General Patrick Aziza.
But in a bid to salvage the situation, UPU Board of Trustees has decided to step into the matter by convening an emergency Congress of the UPU scheduled for Monday January 2, 2017.
According to him, the emergency congress was necessary to resolve the impasse in the national executive of the UPU.
He said, “The constitution allows the Board of Trustee to intervene, mediate between the crisis in the national body of the UPU and every other Urhobo traditional institution. I am sure you all know that there is crisis in the UPU, particular at the national level and the executive level after the death of General Patrick Aziza.”
Chief Otomiewo revealed that the alleged caretaker committee put in place by the Urhobo Traditional Council was dead on arrival, saying they do not have the powers to set up any such caretaker committee for the UPU.
“The Ivies (traditional rulers) in their bid to intervene set up a caretaker committee, which was dead on arrival because they have no power under the constition to do what they did at that time – having not been properly and legally advised.
Chief Otomiewo who lamented that UPU is in a terrible mess stressed that the crisis facing the UPU was as a result of the involvement of the President General in partisan politics, a situation he described as very appauling.
He said, “Because the people leading the caretaker committee were seeking their own personal agenda, they started patronizing government offices seeking for relevance instead of trying to resolve the matter. The matter later went to court and it was half hazardly resolved. But it did not bring peace in the embattled UPU.
“And that was the situation until December 2nd 2016 when Chief Joe Omene led executive porpotedly organized an election in which he said he was elected in his own compound as the President General of UPU.
“That election definitely did not meet the requirements of the constitution of the UPU and so therefore it is no election at all. And because the Joe Omene led executive expired on that 2nd and there was no election after that, that place has become vacant and therefore the Board of Trustee has to intervene.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our intervention on that 2nd January 2017 is to hold a Congress to resolve that impasse. An election is not yet an agenda, excerpt the Congress so approve on that day. The Board of Trustees cannot on their own say they are organizing a new election.”
The BoT of the UPU, according to Chief Otomiewo, is the highest decision making organ in Urhobo land just like the British Parliament. Membership of the BoT is for life.
And Monday, January 2, 2017 came and Urhobo sons and daughters streamed to the Urhobo Hall, Uvwiamuge-Agbarho for the business of the day. It was not a tea party.
Responding to the address of the BOT Secretary, Olorogun Austin Uduwhere, President General of Uvwie kingdom moved a motion to declare the business of the UPU that held on Dec.2 2016 null and void and of no effect. Chief Mrs Onavuaye Owhojeheri on behalf of the Urhobo women folk said the Egwheya noticed the Dec.2 2016 election purported conducted by Chief Joe Omene on Facebook and hence seconded the motion for the nullification of the said business of the UPU held on Dec. 2, 2016.
Chief Simeon Owhofa, who is the President of Urhobo Social Club, Lagos and representative of the UPU in diaspora approved of the content of the BOT address and moved a motion that for the interest of the Urhobo nation to move forward, the convened National Congress should proceed to conduct an election to fill the vacant offices of the UPU at the national level. Chief Kenneth Iwhewhe (PG of Ughelli kingdom), Chief Emmanuel Okumagba 9Otota of Okere-Urhobo kingdom), Chief Mrs Owhojeheri on behalf of Egwheya, Prince Edesiri Aziza of Adgrassa on behalf of the youth (Ighele) and Chief Godwin Ogbetuo on behalf of elders among others roundly seconded and supported the motion.
Consequently an electoral committee headed by Major General John Obada (rtd) was constituted and mandated to conduct the election to fill the national offices of the UPU.
Olorogun Moses Oghenerume Taiga who was the only candidate for the office of the President General of the UPU was called to present his manifesto and on the floor of the UPU secretariat which was filled to capacity by delegates, the media and security personnel he stated that if given the mandate to serve, he would make effort to revive the waning respect for traditional rulers of Urhobo land, rehabilitate and complete the construction of the Urhobo Cultural Centre and upgrade it to a resort centre, upgrade the Urhobo College in Effurun, establish an Urhobo national university to be known as Mukoro Mowoe University and to be sited at Evwreni, revive the technical schools in Urhobo land and to open micro finance bank for Urhobo women to boost their economic activities.
Candidates for other offices also made their manifesto known to the delegates following which voting commenced and at the end of the poll, Major General John Obada, who also functioned as the Returning Officer announced Olorogun Moses Taiga as President General elect of the UPU.
Others elected members of the executive were: Chief Osiobe Okotie (1st Deputy President General), Chief (Capt) Tony Onoharigho (2nd Deputy President General), Honourable Abel Oshevire (PRO), Peter Obodo (Auditor), William Abigboroghe (Fin Sec), Dickson Oyovwi (Asst Sec), Abel Opuidi (Treasurer), Ese Dam (National Secretary) and Isaac Itebu (Legal Adviser).
They were immediately sworn into office by retired Justice T.K Dugbo
An elated Olorogun Taiga said that his executive is going to build bridges of unity across the state and beyond and rained ecomiums on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for providing the needed security that led to the success of the election.
He made the promise during his acceptance speech shortly after he was elected as the new President General of UPU at Uwviamuge, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
He also promised to reconcile all factions in the Union and also extend relationship with Urhobo neighbours across the state.
While calling on all Urhobo sons and daughters to join hands with his administration towards building a better Urhobo Nation, Olorogun Taiga commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for providing the needed security that led to the success of the election.
He said, ” So I want everybody to come forward and serve our fatherland. I want to declare this year 2017, as the year of unity for the Urhobo nation. We will try to reconcile all factions and all parties of the Urhobo nation. And I will also like us to move nearer to our neighbours, the Ijaws, Itsekiris, Isokos, Ndokwas and the other ethnic groups in the State so that there could be some recognition of our strength and our unity and our brotherhood to our neighbors. This is the concept of building bridges of unity.
I agree to serve the Urhobo nation. I express my appreciation to the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the UPU, body of Presidents General, the Eghweya (woman folk) Ighele (youths), Ivie (traditional rulers), all men and women of Urhobo. I thank those who offered to serve but did not win in this election and I incorporate all into my executive.
“We intend to build bridges of unity across our country with our neighbours. I am also using this opportunity to call on other Urhobo sons and daughters that have gone astray to have a rethink and come back to the fold. I want to congratulate all the candidates who are going to work with me in a common cabinet that we are all going to serve and I congratulate you for it is not easy to win any Urhobo election. I think UPU election is stronger than being a Governor of this state,” Olorogun Tiaga said.
According to him “On behalf of my colleague, I pledge to the Urhobo nation our commitment to serve, our loyalty to the Urhobo nation and I wish you all well.”
Please for those who offered themselves to serve the Urhobo nation, but did not get far to be appointed today, he said “I want to thank you for offering your services to serve your fatherland. I will endeavor to incorporate all of you because there is so much work to do in the Urhobo land. So I want everybody to come forward and serve our fatherland.”
Our Correspondent reports that on Monday, January 2, 2017, Olorogun Moses Oghenerume Taiga emerged as the new President General of the Urhobo Progress Union ( UPU).
Our Correspondent also report that earlier, the congress observed a minute silence in honour of illustrious sons of Urhoboland: Olorogun Michael Ibru, Olorogun Felix Ibru and Justice Omo Agege who passed on in 2016.
The congress was also attended by Dr. PC Obakponovwe, Chief Eghele, Chief Ogbavwedia, Prof Eke, Brig Gen Unuode, Prof SWE Ibodje, Hon Faith Majemite, Chief Johnson Barovwe among others.
Source: Dennis Otus’s Blog