UPU to prune guber aspirants in Delta Central to two
• Says Urhobo marginalised despite huge economic contributions to Nigeria
Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), yesterday, said it would prune the number of governorship aspirants in Delta Central senatorial district to just two by March next year to ensure the senatorial district produces the governor in 2023.
With the existing zoning arrangement in the state, the Urhobo, who inhabit Delta Central Senatorial district, are poised to produce the next governor in 2023
At least 14 candidates are currently in the governorship race in the senatorial district after the DC-23 political lobby group pruned the initial 24 aspirants.
Speaking during a media conference on the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of UPU, the President General, Olorogun Moses Taiga, said UPU had set up a special committee to screen all the candidates and come up with two that the union is sure would work for the interest of Urhobo nation.
Taiga said UPU, which he described as the oldest socio-cultural organisation in Nigeria, would be nonpartisan in the selection of the two governorship candidates and would work with the PDP and the APC in the state to produce the most suitable.
The conference, which was attended by several Urhobo eminent personalities and chaired by Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, appraised contributions made to the Nigerian state by the Urhobo, though they remain marginalised.
Taiga said: “The Urhobo people of over five million and Nigeria’s fifth largest ethnic nationality, with the treasure trove of oil and gas, rivers, and arable land, have contributed immensely to the making of Nigeria.”
“There is hardly any sphere of national development that the Urhobo have not contributed to in Nigeria’s quest for nationhood. In politics, economy, military, media, medicine, education, corporate sector, sports, science and technology, the arts, and more, the Urhobo have and are still paying, their dues in the making of Nigeria. Crude oil and gas from Urhoboland continue to sustain the nation’s economy.
“The role the Urhobo people played in ensuring the unity and stability of Nigeria is significant. The Urhobo fought gallantly in the Civil War of 1967 to 1970. Thereafter, the Urhobo played stabilising roles in post-Civil War Nigeria. From the June 12 crisis to the Creek Wars of militancy in the Niger Delta, the National Political Reforms Conference of 2005, the National Conference of 2014, the Urhobo have always been counted in support of one Nigeria, a nation that is strong, united, prosperous, and abiding by the creed of fairness and justice to all.”
He lamented that despite the laudable contributions to the making of Nigeria, the Urhobo have not received a fair deal from past and current Nigerian governments saying: “The Urhobo number among the geese that lay Nigeria’s golden eggs and yet getting suffocated.”
He said with a dynamic, creative, hardworking, and resourceful population, the Urhobo ethnic nationality could match any race in the world in terms of development aspirations.
The UPU President General said, having contributed so much to the making of Nigeria, Urhobo people have been subjected to years of exploitation, oppression, environmental degradation, poverty, insecurity, marginalisation, and other negative manifestations of injustice that are not only reprehensible but also provocative.
He stressed that Urhobo people have been victims of neglect by successive Nigerian governments and oil multinationals, saying: “Our lot for good or bad does not reflect the contribution of our oil and gas resources to the Nigerian purse, despite the unimaginable quantum of oil drilled from Urhoboland.”