Moses Taiga: The Messiah of Urhobo Nation
By Erikefe Obah
LAGOS NOVEMBER 30TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Only the very gullible, mischief makers and anti-Urhobos will disagree that the Urhobo Nation is experiencing her worst moments in history. It is heart-rending that a land that produced departed greats like Chief Mukoro Mowoe, Chief T.E.A Salubi, Chief Jereton Mariere, Chief Daniel Okumagba, Chief Johnson Ukueku, Chief James Ogboko Edewor, Dr. Gamaliel Onosode, Benjamin Okumagba, Olorogun Michael Ibru, among others, and living legends like HRM Richard Ogbon, Ohworode of Olomu; Olorogun David Ejoor and Senator David Dafinone, to mention a few, is seemingly and presently ignored in the Nigerian Federation.
The once proud, respected and vibrant fifth largest ethnic group in the universe’s most populous Black Country has become a ‘Sleeping Giant.’
More pitiful is the infrastructural state of Urhobo Land and its socio-cultural, political and economic affairs, but even more pitiful is the cluelessness of the present leadership of the umbrella body of the Urhobo people worldwide, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU); a cluelessness that is richly garnished with gluttony, myopia, blind scheming, divisiveness, ego trips and gross disrespect for traditional institutions and values; a cluelessness that has turned teeming, educated Urhobo youths to ‘Keke/Okada’ riders and ‘deve’ chasers because their socio-cultural leaders, who ought to firmly demand for infrastructural and socio-economic development from Governments at all levels, and who should be creative and pro-active, should government turn deaf ears, are disinterested in the welfare of the people. They are only interested in self-aggrandizements and self-serving political patronages from those who do not want Urhobo to tower to its rightful height as one of the ethnic giants in Nigeria, and Mother Earth.
From our neighbours, we get jeers and taunts for having a trepid UPU leadership that is leading us further into the abyss of socio-political extinction, a UPU leadership that is playing the fiddle like Emperor Nero, while the people get suffocated by the flames of their cluelessness and greed.
The awful disorganization of our beloved Urhobo Nation, due to lack-lustre leadership, will continue to haunt us, and castrate our collective ego, as a people, until we rise as one and say Enough is Enough, and take very concrete steps to reorganise. And yes, now is the time for reorganization, and reorganize we must.
The first step towards reorganization is cleaning the UPU. Who leads it as President-General? It involves enthroning a good, compassionate, tested, capable, experienced and passionate Urhobo, with the right networks and contacts to get things done and open vista of opportunities for Urhobo nation and its people. We don’t need a local ‘warlord’. It is not by gra- gra. We don’t need a leader, whose ‘belle’ comes first, you shouldn’t make money serving your people; you should even sacrifice your own resources.
And who does the cap fit?
With the suffocating stench of bad leadership in UPU becoming unbearable, reaching even to the heavens and dangerously widening the cracks in Urhobo unity and cohesion, who is the personality most suited to reorganize Urhobo nay UPU and restore her to the glorious days of the Mowoes and Salubis? It needs no crystal-balling. No one else than Olorogun Moses Taiga, the man, who, being homegrown and has firm grasp of the issues confronting us, proffered solutions as far back 2005.
He saw tomorrow. Eleven years ago, Taiga called on the Urhobo Nation to reorganize. In a paper titled, “Political Reorganization As A Pre-Condition For Economic Success In Urhoboland” (see http://waado.org/Geography/development/taiga_urhobo_nation.htm; The Urhobo Voice, November 7, 2005, page 7) presented at the 6th Annual Conference of Urhobo Historical Society, held at Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun , October 20 – 23, 2005, Olorogun Moses Taiga warned that disorganization is a threat to corporate existence of the Urhobo nation, and he equally noted that “Lack of political organization and cohesion has led to economic stagnation typified by poor infrastructure and widespread unemployment in Urhoboland.”
He noted then that “the Urhobos have not been able to exert their influence on the central government as other ethnic tribes have done to their advantage”, and lamented that “as a key oil producing area, the Urhobos have hardly benefited from decades of oil exploration in their area, in spite of its environmental impact…Nigeria has enjoyed an oil boom with hardly any impact on Urhoboland. For example, oil revenue increased 167% to $23bn between 1999 & 2004, whilst quality of life in Urhoboland is declining.”
The visionary Moses Taiga enumerated that reorganization of Urhobo will bring the following benefits:
“Social and political reorganization Urhobo nation will enhance competition for and access to national cake. One of the bitter consequences of the disorganization and absence of a common goal is the shortchanging of the Urhobo nation in national issues and appointments.
“Economic development cannot be possible without an organized political structure and strategy. Even if the entire oil wealth were handed over to Urhoboland, we must be organized in order to effectively utilize and distribute the wealth amongst ourselves. Disorganization will breed discontent, waste and self-destruction.
“An organized Urhobo nation will be able to address properly social problems like Illiteracy, unemployment, youth disaffection and delinquency as well as ethnic conflict/communal crisis, crime, armed robbery and kidnapping. These factors are threats to the economic progress of the Urhobo nation.”
As initial move to put things in the right perspective should he be elected, Olorogun Moses Taiga has promised to toroll out five initial projects.
One of this is the renovation of UPU Cultural Centre, Uvwiamuge to a befitting world-class state.
“With a very conducive and classy environment at UPU headquarters for regular interaction, consultations and discourse with all groups, associations and interests, a “clear-cut articulation of a common objective for economic survival and political emancipation,” will be established. Many Issues including conflict resolution will also be addressed,” Taiga disclosed while interacting with newsmen in his country home at Okpare, Delta North LGA, Delta State.
He promised to establish an Urhobo University to be named as Mukoro Mowoe University and upgrade Urhobo College to the status of standard secondary school equipped with modern educational amenities and qualified staff.
According to him, such project will address historical, cultural and educational issues as well as youth, sports and social development, adding, “an Urhobo-owned University will fully promote the study of Urhobo language in schools and fluency in Urhobo language. It will equally enhance research and identification of natural resources and how to exploit them. The higher educational needs of our youths will also be catered for.”
Fourthly, Moses Taiga promised to establish a microfinance scheme for Urhobo women stressing that the scheme will bring economic empowerment to beloved Urhobo mothers and sisters, empower the family institution, spiral the Urhobo economy directly and indirectly create employment through cottage industries and small medium enterprises.
He equally vow to resuscitate the moribund Sapele and Ogor Technical Centres for the training of Urhobo youths.
“With this our youths will be self-reliant, develop employability skills; gain job-specific skills, be exposed to viable opportunities and respond to labour market demands. It will equally address issues of peace and security,” he said.