My Pacts With Urhobo Youths –Olorogun Moses Taiga
LAGOS NOVEMBER 28TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Emome v’iniovo me, wado (my children and my brothers and sisters, I greet you). As you are aware by now, I am vying for the position of the President General of Urhobo Progress Union. I did not just get up to contest this position; I did it after a deep introspection and a reflection on the present precarious state of the Urhobo Nation. One of the easiest ways for incompetence to prevail is for people of substance to stay or shy away. We are a sighted people and should not be led by the blind.
I have taken time to enumerate my manifesto; today, I want to break it down as it concerns the Urhobo youths. My administration intends to renovate Urhobo College, Effurun and improve on its academic capacity. Beyond being a symbol of the Urhobo Nation, Urhobo College is a citadel of learning that has produced many great Urhobo sons, my humble self inclusive, and is still producing more till date. Unfortunately, the Urhobo College of today is not what the founders envisaged both in infrastructure and quality of learning. My administration will surely work to stem the tide and redress the situation.
The Ogor and Sapele Technical Colleges are two other schools my administration intends to pay attention to. Today, there is widespread unemployment among our youths. Many technically gifted youths have nowhere to hone their skills. The number of artisans of Urhobo origin is shrinking. When our people build houses at least 80 per cent of the labour cost goes outside Urhobo land, sometimes as far as Cotonou and Lome. Yet we have able-bodied men and women in our midst that could have done the job. Money that could have circulated among our people to create further wealth goes out thus impoverishing us the more. With your help and cooperation, I intend to stem this tide.
You would also have heard of the desire of my administration to establish a university in Urhoboland named after the pioneer President General of UPU, Chief Mukoro Mowoe. This university is not going to be like your usual university. Today many university graduates are without jobs due to no fault of theirs. The problem is with the curricula that train them for nonexistent jobs, instead of training them to be self- starters, employers, entrepreneurs, not job seekers. Consequently, the Mukoro Mowoe University will be structured differently to address the shortcomings of existing universities.
Also, I intend to encourage wealthy Urhobo sons and daughters to come home to establish industries to provide jobs for our teeming youths. But this comes with a proviso. Nobody invests in an environment where there is uncertainty and insecurity. Urhobo youths, therefore, need to shun kidnapping, armed robbery and other vices. The youths who do these things are in our midst. We need to identify them and get them to shun these criminal activities for legitimate means of livelihood. The UPU under my leadership will partner with the youths to come up with programmes to see to the success of this transformation.
Now, some of my opponents have been campaigning that I am Lagos-based and that Urhobo needs a home-based PG. But it is well known that I built my house in my hometown, Okpare, long ago and I have been coming home and living there as the need arises. Rather than being a drawback, my national and international exposure has equipped me with great ideas and given me unbelievable contacts to move the Urhobo Nation forward. With all humility, none of my opponents has my level of national and international reach. I will use these for the benefit of Urhoboland.
My opponents also say I will be too busy to have time for the Urhobo people because of my extensive business interests. Let me state again that I did a lot of introspection before I put myself forward for the PG position and I intend to give UPU all the time it needs. As I have explained before, my businesses run on auto pilot and do not need my day-to-day attention. But let me also state that the UPU PG position is not for idle people who are looking for financial rehabilitation. That is partly why the Urhobo Nation is in a mess today. From the beginning the position of UPU PG was for accomplished Urhobo sons who come to render service not to enrich themselves.
My opponents are also disputing the N35m I donated to the Benjamin Okmagba-led UPU for land. The financial secretary then has come out to acknowledge the donation. Rather than play cheap politics, those of them who were in the executive of UPU then and are disputing the donation should tell the Urhobo Nation what happened to the money since they claim that they got the Uvwiamughe land free of charge. My subsequent pledge of N40m is also ready for collection, although, like many other concerned Urhobos, I have issues with the quality of work, the amount realized during the 2005 launching and the amount of work done so farm and the current state of the UPU House in Uvwiamughe.
Emome me v’iniovo me, the Urhobo Nation is at cross road. The future belongs to you, our children and grand children coming hereafter. You have a responsibility to make the right choices. This world is watching and the future generation will be shaped by the choices we make today. Miyeri.
Olorogun Moses Taiga