Buhari Should Offer Top Positions To Urhobo People – Omene | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari Should Offer Top Positions To Urhobo People – Omene

Posted: Aug 11, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chief Joe Omene, an engineer, is the President General of Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU) Worldwide. In this interview with JOHN DUGBE, he spoke on the need for Urhobo unity and some developments in the organisation. Excerpts:

Now that the tussle for the position of UPU President General is over and Chief Gabriel Ofotukun is still saying that it is not yet over, what is your reaction to this?

l did not see Chief Gabriel Ofotukun to be serious minded. He was in UPU with Okumagba as an acting secretary. He was then removed and he rebelled against late Gen. Aziza. He later formed a faction with Majoroh, who was so controversial with UPU. Any person who is so controversial with UPU is not a trusted person. He needs to be patriotic to make sure UPU is well positioned to compete with other ethnic nationalities. How can he say that the tussle for UPU PG is not over? He was called to be the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee that would midwife Urhobo nation. Instead of him to do his work, he said he wanted to be UPU President General. You can see that l have a very high regard for Urhobo. As far as l am concerned, UPU has no problem. The matter has been settled once and for all. We should not deceive ourselves.

Are you praising General Obada for a job well done?

You see, an average Urhobo man knows that Gen. Obada is an impeccable character, a complete gentleman. Nobody can dream of tarnishing his image. If you look at the way Gen. Obada went through the matter, you will believe that he really had the interest of Urhobo at heart. He met with all the aggrieved persons, even the ones in Lagos. He met with all of them and sought their opinions. He is a man who does not look at your face before he does what is right. Even if I leave the position today, the community will feel my impact as the UPU President General. Today, nobody will appreciate me for what l am doing now. But, as far I am concerned, l will work with other internal stakeholders to make sure that Urhobo nation stands for unity.

What  is your priority for the development of Urhobo nation?

Even when it was not over, we were making efforts to be stronger. If we are not united, we can never be strong. We can’t allow a situation where Urhobo will be relegated to the barest minimum. First, l have put in place a better structure in which everybody in Urhobo will be carried along. If you are in UPU, you must be patriotic so that Urhobo will have one voice. As you can see, for UPU to be more united, we have been establishing UPU branches in every kingdom, both at home and in Diaspora to strengthen our unity. For example, the branch that we established at Olomu kingdom, the day that we went there, many personalities too numerous to count went there to witness it. This is to tell you that establishing UPU branch in every kingdom for the unity of Urhobo is a welcome idea. Even the one at Abraka kingdom, the Ivie (Kings) of Urhobo lands commended our efforts. This is to tell you that the relationship between the kings and UPU is very strong.

How do you see a situation where on Urhobo Students’ Day in the campuses, Okpe students will be celebrating theirs, at the same time, Uvwie students will be celebrating theirs? Is Urhobo not one in this aspect?

l think this will not happen again. l know this is the handwork of some politicians. What we will do is very simple. UPU will call the students and make them understand that we are one, whether Opke or Uvwie. We are all under the umbrella of Urhobo nation. As l am telling you, this year will be the last time such a thing will happen. For your information, we don’t have the National Union of Okpe Students, nor the Uvwie Students. But, we only have the National Association of Urhobo Students, which is NAUS, and this students’ body covers all of them. A time will come when UPU will be organising Urhobo Students’ Day, when all the students in various campuses in any university, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education in the country will gather to celebrate Urhobo Students’ Day and other activities like the Farmers’ Day in the Urhobo nation. In doing these annually, it will help  to bring greater unity and sense of belonging.

Recently, there was a crisis that almost tore Ekpan Community apart. As the UPU President General, what efforts have made to resolve the issue?
Thank you. The UPU branch executive in Ekpan has been working towards that to ensure peace. That is why the UPU branch in every kingdom in Urhobo nation is very good. As l am talking to you now, the UPU Executive in Ekpan has already taken a decision to resolve the issue and l believe they are doing their work. I know the members of the Ekpan branch of UPU will handle the matter. On my side, as the President General of UPU, arrangement is on to make sure that peace is restored to Ekpan community. Again, the inter-communal clashes between one kingdom here and the other will soon be over in Urhobo nation

What is your reaction to the appointment of an illustrious son of Urhobo as the Executive Director of Projects in NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari?

You see, l hail Mr. President on that appointment, for recognising Urhobo. But, we in the UPU see it as a board appointment, whether you call it Executive Director or what else. We want the head and not the body of the iceberg. For instance, look at other minority ethnic group like Anioma nation. Are they not the ones that have the Minister of State for Petroleum? Are they not the ones that have Governor of Central Bank? What has happened to the Urhobo nation when everybody has been clapping hands as if heaven has fallen on our small nation? Look, if we start to be clapping like this, it means we are satisfied. So, we need more positions that are bigger than that as far as we are concerned.

Finally, what is your message to the entire Urhobo nation as the UPU President General?

We should work towards the things that will move Urhobo nation forward. We should concentrate on the things that will unite us, and not the things that will help to divide us. l am giving this advice so that the unity of Urhobo will be stronger.

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