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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Why Okpe should produce the next Governor of Delta State come 2023

Why Okpe should produce the next Governor of Delta State come 2023

File: Delta state

Few people know now that when the legendary Urhobo patriot, unifier and mobiliser, the incomparable Mukoro Mowoe wanted to found the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, he decided to hold the meetings for that purpose in Orerokpe, ancient capital of Okpe.

Not only did Mowoe fix these meetings for the founding of the apex Urhobo body to be held in Orerokpe, he also ensured that they were chaired by a legendary Okpe man, Chief Ayomanor of Sapele.

As a matter of an incontestable fact of the history of the Urhobo people, the UPU, the umbrella body of the great and ancient Urhobo nation, was founded in Okpe at gatherings of the Urhobo ethnic nationality, presided over by an Okpe chief!

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Instructively, the UPU had realised from the onset that Okpe formed a critical and indispensable part of Urhobo and for good reason.

Indeed, at the time, Mowoe and his fellow Urhobo patriots, including the unforgettable Chief Omorohwovo Okoro of Agbon, who would go on to become the first President General of the UPU, had been yearning for an Urhobo king with a realm big enough to rival or even surpass that of any other traditional ruler in Delta Province and were all too happy to receive the cooperation of Okpe chiefs and elders in that regard.

Okpe is not just the largest Urhobo kingdom; indeed, within the context of the old Delta Province and the present Delta State, Okpe is not just a force to be reckoned with but is in many respects a first amongst equals. In fact, in present day Delta State, the Orodje of Okpe has more subjects than any other monarch in the entire state, with his kingdom encompassing the present Okpe and Sapele Local Government Areas within which he has no rival monarchs of any classification or hue!

Moreover, during the period or interregnum in the kingship of Okpe, when the colonial masters encountered problems with their policy of indirect rule in Urhoboland, they were all too willing to cooperate, both with the Okpe Union and Urhobo Progress Union to restore the monarchy in Okpe as a crown solid enough to hold its own in any respect in Delta Province.

They didn’t stop there but went ahead to make Orerokpe the headquarters of Western Urhobo District!

If Okpe is removed from Urhobo as some of our enemies and detractors have been scheming for quite some time now, Urhobo will thereby be rendered a clear and unmistakable minority in Delta State!

Even today, many Urhobo patriots still miss the forthrightness, pointedness and result-oriented stint of our late leader, General Newton Aziza as UPU President General. His, was an administration which sort a calculated and strategic restoration of Urhobo fortunes on the national landscape, an approach which resulted in the appointment of the last Federal Minister of Urhobo extraction till date.

Come 2023 the Governorship of Delta belongs to the Urhobos. It is not a question of “no Urhobo, no Governor” but a matter of “no Urhobo Governor, no Delta State” for we, the Urhobos, shall by no means be rendered a minority in this state!

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As those who would seek to deny Urhobo its just turn to govern Delta State in 2023 gather to make their puerile, brainless, baseless and highly vexatious arguments for some other tribe to take our slot when we are actually the one and only tribe, properly so-called, that occupies an entire Senatorial District, and as such are the natural owners of the Governorship come 2023 within the tripodal configuration of Delta, we the Urhobos must aspire to total unity, synergy and amity as we not only insist on, but go ahead to claim that which is ours as a matter of natural justice, equity and good conscience!

Okpe is not just part and parcel of Urhobo, it is the very heart, soul and center of Urhobo! Orerokpe was the epicenter of the explosion of patriotism and activism that led to the epic revival which birthed the Urhobo Progress Union!

Since Independence in 1960, four Urhobos have held the mantle of leadership from the era of the defunct Midwest Region to the present Delta State. They are, Jereton Mariere, David Ejoor, Felix Ibru and James Ibori.

Within the present eight local government structure of the Urhobo heartland of Delta Central, Okpe alone makes up a quarter of Urhobo as a whole, and as such should have produced a Governor by now.

Were Okpe to produce the next Governor of Delta State come 2023, its turn to produce the Governor would have been long overdue and it will be only getting what has been its just entitlement long before now!

As we march steadily toward 2023, confident that Urhobo’s right to the Governorship of our state is a forgone conclusion and not something to be negotiated with anybody, we would do well to seek our preferred candidate for the Governorship of Delta from Okpe in order to put those who seek to tear Urhobo apart to shame; to do justice to every part of Urhobo; to do equity to the biggest kingdom in Delta State; and, to demonstrate that at the end of the day, we are one Delta!

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Onokpasa, a lawyer and member of the Okpe Cosmopolitan Forum, wrote from Sapele.
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