25/01/2022

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UPU at 90: Okowa advises Urhobo people to prune down 2023 guber candidates

3 min read

By Martha Appeal & Rosemary Umeoha 

The governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has advised Urhobo people to prune down the number of gubernatorial candidates they are presenting by 2023 in order to brighten their chances.

He said this on Friday, December 3, 2021, at the 90th anniversary of Urhobo Progressive Union, UPU, held at the Urhobo Cultural Centre, Uvwiamuge-Agbarho, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

This is just as he commended the Urhobos for their immense support and contributions to the development of the state and country.

“There are challenges in this country, but I believe there is hope. Sometimes, we worry because we do not know what tomorrow holds for us.

“But rather than continue to grumble among ourselves, it is best to seek God and be patient enough because there is hope on the way.

“By the special grace of God, this country will not go down, peace will return to Nigeria and we will begin to move again on the path of progress.

“We all have roles to play in our own little ways. Wherever you find yourself, either at the family circle or community, try and help or empower someone,” he pleaded.

Governor Okowa, while commending UPU, said the socio-cultural group has played a remarkable role in the development of the state and Nigeria in the 90 years of its existence.

He thanked the leadership of the union for using its relationship with the people to ensure peace for purposeful development and being of great assistance to any government in power in the state.

“I know the role the UPU has been in helping to build peace in Urhoboland and in trying also to extend hands of friendship to other ethnic groups across the state.

“By the time our people in Delta State relate as one, then you would have helped government to solve its problems because once you have been able to establish peace, it becomes much easier to develop the state,” he averred.

Okowa, who commended traditional rulers in the state for their support, said they have always been the strong support behind all the governments of the state, particularly in his time.

He lauded UPU for the honour done to some illustrious sons and daughters, adding that it would help in encouraging others to put in their best in the growth and development of the nation.

He urged Urhobos to continue to extend hands of fellowship to other ethnic nationalities in the state “because he who extends the hand of friendship wants to have a friend.

“I don’t believe that we must fight everything through; sometimes a kind word or a conversation can help you to get to where you want to be,” he said.

He admonished governorship aspirants to exercise restraints in their consultations and campaigns.

“I want to appeal to our sons and daughters who seek to be governor. It is usually best when you approach it on the basis of friendship.

“It is usually best that we are choosy on the kind of words that we use in the public so that we don’t start any round of fights.

“No matter how provoked, any person aspiring to the position of leadership must learn to control his anger and speak peacefully to people because in so doing, he attracts friends to himself,” he said.

He called on Urhobo people to prune down the number of aspirants in the governorship race, advising that it was in their best interest to reduce the numbers.

“When there are too many sons and daughters in a race, it creates its own challenge and I believe that the elders have understood this.

“There is a need to trim down and I believe that the time is now.”

Earlier In his welcome address, President-General of UPU, Chief Moses Taiga, had said that UPU was celebrating 90 years, a decade short of a century, adding that the union was Nigeria’s oldest surviving socio-cultural organisation.

Taiga said that the Urhobos would build alliances with other ethnic nationalities in the South-South and beyond to proffer a new destiny for Nigeria as the nation totters towards a new beginning.

Highlights of the ceremony were the presentation of awards to deserving sons and daughters who distinguished themselves in various disciplines and made Urhobos proud in the past 90 years.

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