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- On October 7, 2019
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Urhobo need visionary leaders—Abugu
By Tega Uloho
PROFESSOR Joseph Abugu, Professor of Commercial and Industrial Law at the University of Lagos, has underscored the need for the Urhobo nation to go for visionary leaders in her quest for greatness in the modern world, stressing that those who must lead Urhobo whether in the economic, cultural or political sphere must start with self development as the true beginning of leadership.
He spoke during the inaugural public lecture of the Urhobo Renaissance Society on the topic: A Renaissance in the Urhobo Nation and the Quest for Leadership; which held at the PTI Conference Centre, Effurun, Delta State.
Prof Abugu noted that: ”Despite the abundant blessings of human and natural resources, the Urhobo nation is experiencing dire economic, political and social challenges. There is a considerable level of anxiety among the Urhobo due to their feeling of being relatively sidelined and marginalized in the scheme of things in Nigeria.
“In the past successive years, many Urhobo youths, most of whom are graduates of tertiary institutions, have continued to struggle without gainful employment.
“Besides these educated youths, is a teeming ‘army’ of youths consisting of school drop-outs and illiterate. Who would have foreseen a time when Urhobo youths would openly beg for money with flattering chants of ”Ose” (father). This behavioral reversal implicit in public begging by able bodied Urhobo represents a powerful bettering on the self-pride of the Urhobo.”
He emphasized the place of economic, social and political renaissance in building the modern Urhobo for the revival of the fortunes of the Urhobo nation, stressing that Urhobo must strive to take her place in the agitation for restructuring of the Nigeria polity to right the wrongs of the skewed political system in place in Nigeria.
He noted that there is unequal political power by ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, resulting in unequal development of Nigeria as a nation and that economic or financial restructuring which are cardinal to the agitations with devolution of power as a major ingredients could benefit Urhobo more if Urhobo could harness her innate values to put Urhobo in a vantage position in all the agitations.
He also emphasized that besides restructuring, the Urhobo nation is in dire need of leadership.
”An emergent leader with the traits of the late Mukoro Mowoe inspired by the ideals of a united and prosperous Urhoboland imbued with integrity and honesty to selflessly advance the cause of Urhoboland, its sons and daughters.
“Corrupt leaders cannot liberate the land. Those who see public office as avenue for self-aggrandizement cannot lead us to the Promised Land.
”Our leaders must not confuse public office with their sources of making wealth. We need politics of integrity and honour. We need a renaissance in our thinking and attitudes to engender a revival in our culture and politics. Our politics need to have the primary interest of the Urhobo nation with secondary regard for self interest,” Prof Abugu declared.
Chairman of the occasion, Prof Sam Oyovbaire, in his remarks reiterated the need for Urhobo to be united so as to pursue a common goal of greatness and development without stabbing one another at the back. He noted that the vision and mission of the Urhobo Renaissance Society were unique in their selfless approach to the quest for Urhobo progress without deferring to the dictates of political parties and their parochial values. He urged every Urhobo son and daughter to support the group towards building a better Urhobo for the glory and progress of all.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who was represented by Mr. Chuks Erhirie, paid glowing tributes to the founding fathers of the Urhobo Progress Union for their wisdom in establishing schools like the Urhobo College, Effurun, which he said paved the way for educational renaissance in those days urging the present crop of leaders to borrow a leaf from their selfless leadership for the good of the Urhobo nation.
The event was attended by traditional rulers from across Urhobo nation, political leaders, captains of industry, business men and women, academic dons and people from all walks of life.