URHOBO GLOBAL WEBINAR ON ENVISIONING THE URHOBO NATION IN THE NIGERIAN STATE
THEME: Envisioning the Urhobo Nation in the Nigerian State
- The current state of the Urhobo Nation
- Restructuring and Devolution of Power – The Urhobo Nation perspectives
- Priorities for sustained growth and development of the Urhobo Nation
- Promoting Unity in the Urhobo Nation
- Keynote Speakers:
- Prof. G. G. Darah, a septuagenarian, is a former chairman of the editorial boards of the Daily Times and The Guardian. He became a professor of Oral Literature, Folklore and Cultural Sciences at the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka in 2001. The literary icon later returned to DELSU and retired from active service in 2017 at the age 70. He was a delegate to the 2014 National Conference representing Delta Central. Darah is currently the Delta State chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF
- Prof. Sunny Awhefeada belongs to the new generation of Nigerian literary scholars. He studied English at the Universities of Benin and Ibadan before settling down as a lecturer in the Department of English and Literary Studies at the Delta State University, Abraka where he rose through the ranks to become a professor and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Professor Awhefeada is a columnist with the Daily Independent Newspaper and he currently edits The Guardian Literary Series.
- Prof. Barr. Kingsley Omerionwan Edu is the Dean, Faculty of Law, Delsu and Lead Partner, O.K Edu & Company, a law firm in Nigeria. He is a member, Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association and associate Chattered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. He is also a member of the International Bar Association. He has written numerous articles published in the African Journal including international journals.
- Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive: Hon Francis Ejiroghene Waive is a Clergyman, Accountant, Author, Development Planner, Social Researcher, Rural Demography expert, ex-banker and dedicated politician. He is the General Overseer of the Church of the Anointing in which he founded in 1997. He currently serves as a member of the House of Representatives, from Delta state and the Ughelli North/South/Udu federal constituency. He helped establish the Riverine Communities Health & Development Organization, intended to dispense charity to the medically deprived communities of the core Niger Delta region.
- Cecilia Ibru: Dr. Cecilia Ibru is the President and co-founder of the Michael & Cecelia Ibru Foundation. She was a former managing director and chief executive officer of Oceanic Bank. She graduated from the University of London with a BS in sociology. Ibru pursued her graduate studies at the university and received a Masters of Philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies. She founded the Michael and Cecilia Ibru Foundation in 2006, which provides support for vocational training, elderly care, health programs, disease prevention, and food production. She founded the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University in 2015 in Agbraha Otor, Delta State
- Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa: Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa is an astute politician and currently represents the Ethiope East and West Constituencies at the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja. As a representative, he is very committed and dedicated to the course of his people and largely the Urhobo Nation. He is a philanthropist and provides platforms for the empowerment of both young and old people
Moderator: Dr. Benson Uwheru, Partner, Banking & Capital Markets Sector Leader, EY, West Africa. He is also a Member of the Governing Council of the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University, MCIU, Agbarha Otor.
The Webinar which had participants all over the world in attendance resolved as follows;
- The Urhobo Webinar Group as a Think-Thank of Urhobo intellectuals and professionals should constantly interrogate topical issues in Nigeria and across the globe which impinge on the Urhobo Nation; and through robust intellectual discourse make recommendations and evolve pathways and options to guide policy formulation and implementation.
- The theme of the webinar – “Envisioning the Urhobo Nation in the Nigerian State” is very timely and the deliberations relevant considering the current state and future of the Urhobo Nation.
- The Urhobo Nation are a very proud and enterprising people. Driven by our core values of Integrity, Entrepreneurship and Friendship; you will find the dynamic strides of our people all over Nigeria and the diaspora. We commend and celebrate all Sons and daughters of Urhoboland all over the world for their resilience through these difficult times.
- We remain one united and indivisible people despite the challenges facing us. All patriotic Sons and daughters, associations, groups, royal fathers and leaders of Urhobo descent must unite for the common good of Urhobo Nation. Accordingly, we must deconstruct our mindset to develop urhobocentricism and collaborate for the greater good of Urhobo Nation
- The current campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria’s political and economic systems is an opportunity for patriotic and freedom loving people to rally together in defence of equity, justice, and federalism. The Urhobo Nation supports this call because the current Federal government mechanisms are not adequate for running our multi-ethnic, culturally diverse and economically backward country. We remain committed to a great and United Nigeria subject to a renegotiation of our terms of engagement and resolution of the National Question.
- To engender a fair territorial redistribution, Nigeria must revert to true federalism of the old federal system as enshrined in the 1960 Constitution where the federating units owned and controlled their resources to drive their developments under their respective constitution. The Niger Delta in general, and Urhobo land specifically are victims of injustice in Nigeria. We abhor the 13% Derivation formula in its entirety as it portends an 87% Deprivation sharing formula.
- The unity of the Urhobo people is non-negotiable. Our survival as a people will derive from our unity. The UPU being the Umbrella body of all Urhobo’s worldwide must continue to evolve strategies to unite the Urhobo people. It is only through unity that we can overcome future challenges. Urhobo unity is therefore a task for which we must all sign up. It is unity that will enable us have our say and way in Nigeria.
- Our unity must yield what should constitute Urhobo interest, Urhobo consensus and finally Urhobo Agenda. The Urhobo agenda should be able to interrogate the essence of Nigeria, negotiate the destiny of the Urhobo both in Delta State and in Nigeria, and should redirect us on the path of a renaissance. In birthing the Urhobo agenda, the political class, irrespective of political party affiliation, must close ranks and put Urhobo interest before any other consideration.
- Our survival as a people goes beyond tribal formations. We must be deliberate about realizing the determinations of the Urhobo people. We must be ready to review, reorganize, criticize our current strategies to birth a new model of workable and realistic development plan.
- We have to rely on the value of collective self-reliance. The Urhobo Nation should institute a think-tank of intellectuals, academia, socio-cultural associations, religious associations and the business community etc. to evolve a home grown collaborative and coordinated response to our current situation and to encode the Urhobo Agenda.
- The Urhobo nation should develop a comprehensive self-sustaining development model which incorporates the cultural, human capital, technological and political predispositions of the Urhobo nation. The development model should cover the following key elements:
- Power and Energy
- Comprehensive Education including technical education and complete re-orientation of our people
- Development of Urhobo Technology Hubs across the LGA’s
- Development of Industrial Zones
- Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Production
Dr Benson Uwheru Randolph Erumagborie
Secretary, Planning Committee Chairman, Planning Committee