Group seeks Urhobo’s return to old region
A group, the Urhobo Renaissance Movement (URM), has canvassed for a return to the old Mid-Western region of Nigeria under a proposal for the restructuring of the country.
According to the URM, the proposal, which is line with request for a return to regionalism, would put resource control at the basis of relationships between ethnic entities in the country.
A communiqué issued by the group which comprises Urhobo professionals at home and in the Diaspora, also lamented the absence of any person from the ethnic group in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and in any commanding role in any federal agencies despite the ethnic nationality’s contribution to the national purse.
The statement issued on behalf of the body by Professor Hope Eghagha – Coordinator, AVM Frank Ajobena, Professor Joseph Abugu, Dr (Mrs) Cassidy and Mr. Lexzy Ochibejivwie, also lamented what it described as the relegation of the ethnic nationality in the politics of Delta State.
The communiqué further stated, “It is our considered view that the political structure of the country as currently constituted cannot meet the hopes and aspirations of our people. The resources in our God-given homeland are exploited and deployed to other parts of the federation. For example, Kokori in Urhoboland, which is reputed to produce the smoothest crude oil in the country’s wells, has been left prostate for decades caused by oil exploitation activities.
“In the proposed re-structuring of the country, the Urhobo nation votes to return to the Mid-Western Region arrangement. This will guarantee equity and fairness through devolution of power to the Regions. However, in a states-based Federal Republic, we call for the creation of a true Delta State in accordance with the recommendation of the National Conference of 2014.
“Central to restructuring is the issue of resource control. By this, we mean that economic resources within every state should be harnessed and controlled by the state in which they are derived with a clear-cut contribution formula to the Central Government.
“A nation where resources are exploited from one region for the development of others is inequitable and can never create peace. We, therefore, demand for resource control and fiscal responsibility of federating states as it was in the First Republic.”
While emphasizing on the relegation of Urhoboland in the polity, the URM added, “Apart from lack of federal presence in terms of academic institutions (FUPRE and PTI are the only federal institutions in the entire Urhoboland), these institutions are headed by non-indigenes in spite of the teeming population of Urhobo academics.
“Thus local contents are not reflected in federal institutions. The Steel Complex in Urhoboland has been sold to persons who did not have the will to consolidate or develop the sector. The oil majors have relocated from the zone. There are no Urhobo sons on the federal cabinet or occupying any position at the federal level. All of these have led to youth restiveness and militancy.”
Also lamenting the spate of insecurity in the country and the relegation of the Urhobo ethnic nationality in the political allotments in Delta State, the group described as sickening, the upsurge of violence by Fulani herdsmen in Urhoboland.
According to the URM, “We find it repugnant and disheartening that some Fulani herdsmen who had previously carried out their grazing peacefully, have suddenly become agents of widespread destruction. The impunity with which they destroy farmlands and rape and kill poor innocent villagers in Urhoboland and across the country is alarming.
“It is a threat to the survival of the Urhobo nation. Their acts have become a threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria. The Urhobo are largely an agrarian people. Destroying their farmlands is tantamount to destroying the economic life of the people. The criminal silence or apathy of security agencies to the crime is shocking, to say the least.
“The legislator representing Ethiope East local council (the area where the herdsmen have unleashed a high degree of terror) in the Delta State House Assembly has drawn the attention of the state and security officials to this brigandage.
“At the time of issuing this statement, the acts of terror have not abated. If anything the brigandage has assumed a higher and frightening dimension. We call on the Federal Government to take immediate action to stop these marauders from exterminating lives and destroying farmlands.”