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Published On: Tue, Jun 19th, 2018

UPU: Urhobo Ancestors Are In Tears – A Rejoinder

UPUPresident-General Olorogun Moses Taiga


By Uruemuesiri Obah-Young
LAGOS JUNE 19TH (URHOBOTODAY)-I refer to a 1,438-words piece with the above caption, published on page 18 of Vanguard, Wednesday May 30, 2018, in which one fictitious Urhoboyovwin Ufuoma, a cowardly goon of spoilers and enemies of Urhobo Nation, woefully attempted to taint the unity, peace and intelligence of the Urhobo Nation with falsehood, while putting on the garb of a patriot.
One hates to join this petty-minded, faceless and childish traducer in further dragging Urhobo through the mud, but as a member of the UPU, a true born of Urhobo and one who refuses to stand mute in the face of misleading and lingering verbal tyranny, this response becomes necessary in setting the records straight.
There is no faction in the Leadership of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU). UPU is one, indivisible and is currently led by Olorogun (Dr.) Moses O. Taiga, JP. It is an organisation governed by rules and regulations and greater than any individual, no matter how highly-placed. Factions or a factional President-General (PG) exist only in the twisted mind’s eyes of the tiny band of Urhobo enemies. The ancestors of Urhobo and Urhobo People worldwide know who their PG is, and like the Kegites say, “the gods are very wise,” the spirituality surrounding this pan-Urhobo umbrella body is mysterious, none can bring it down. Urhobo and UPU detractors are advised, again, to be wary of the wrath of God, the mortal kiss of Karma and the sledgehammer strike of history.
The tenure of the immediate past UPU administration expired December 2016. Following this, the highly-organised Urhobo people ignited the constitutional process to elect new UPU National Officers. On Monday, January 2, 2017, during a General Election conducted by the UPU Board of Trustees that lasted over 16 hours, constitutional delegates from 23 of the 24 Urhobo Kingdoms (one kingdom presented no delegate) and from branches, within and outside Nigeria, unanimously elected Olorogun Moses Taiga as the UPU PG. The election was monitored by the Electronic and Print Media, and was also witnessed by majority Urhobo Royal Fathers, PGs of Urhobo Kingdoms and eminent Urhobo personalities. It also had as Chairman, Electoral Committee respected Major General Orho E. Obada, (rtd,), with other distinguished Urhobos as members.
Olorogun Taiga is non-partisan, not a politician and cannot be swayed by financial/material inducements. He swore to an oath to serve and protect the Urhobo Nation. Calmly and undeterred, notwithstanding the unsuccessful distractions by anti-Urhobo agents and fifth columnists, the UPU PG is abiding by that oath of office. So, it beats one’s imagination why the Ufuomas of this world would still be contending with God, be arguing with the ancestors and fighting jujitsu with the unanimous choice of the Urhobo People? Why the attempt to paint and create an atmosphere of instability in the Leadership of Urhobo, when none exists? Could these antics be linked to this political time, to woo unsuspecting 2019 political office seekers? Is Moses Taiga an obstacle to these greedy schemes and a greater anti-Urhobo agenda, so he must be pulled down? Buyers Beware! It’s good to get Sense, before following Slogans.
One is thankful that conjured Ufuoma re-echoed one of the countless, albeit silently, pan-Urhobo patriotism, philanthropy and activisms of Olorogun Moses Taiga by informing readers that he fully sponsored the publication of Olomu And Development of Urhobo Land & Western Niger Delta, UHS’ priceless book on his Olomu heritage. Olorogun Moses Taiga is a proud and worthy son of Urhoboland, from Okpare-Olomu. However, in picking from the book, conjured Ufuoma spewed historical fraud in the desperate and devilish bid to denigrate the UPU and smear the towering image of its PG, Worldwide. The malicious catchphrase that ‘Taiga is Ijaw’ is an insult, brutal slap and a mockery of the people of ancient Olomu Kingdom that proudly produced “legends, intellectuals, notable kings and elder statesmen.” Moses Taiga, the Adjerese of Olomu Kingdom, was PG of Olomu Kugbere Union (umbrella body of Olomu People worldwide) for many years, until his election as UPU PG. Taiga’s position as PG of Olomu has not been replaced; his deputy currently acts in that capacity.
As usual of mischief makers, phantom Ufuoma, displaying pathetic ignorance of Olomu history, irritatingly ignored accounts about the origins of Olomu documented in Section 111 of the book. That section contains accounts from British Colonialists’ Intelligence Reports and that of the current monarch of Olomu, HRM Richard Layeguen Ogbon, Ogoni-Oghoro 1.
There are different versions of the origin of Olomu. However, OGHORO, ALAKA, IGBOZE and OLOMU feature prominently in most versions, and all versions agree that OGHORO is from Kiagbodo. Renowned Urhobo researcher/author, Prof. Michael Nabofa, at page 141 of The Urhobo People, 3rd edition, by Prof. Onigu Otite (Member, UPU BoT), explains: “Descendants of at least four principal immigrants constitute the present day Olomu. These are the Igboze group from Benin, Olomu, the father of Alaka group from Igboland, and Oghoro, the friend/son-in-law of Alaka from Kiagbodo in ijoland. There is also the fourth group from Ogor.”
At page 169 of UHS’ book, the revered, 101-year-old Ohworode of Olomu, HRM Ogbon, Ogoni-Oghoro 1 writes: “Olomu’s origin is unique in that the founders (Alaka, Oghoro and Igboze) of the Kingdom came as immigrants from three different tribes, namely Igbo, Izon and Benin…” At page 191, Ohworode informs that the town, Okpare-Olomu, is founded by “Pa Etako, a descendant of Oghoro…”
It is a fact that seven towns in Olomu have their origin in OGHORO, a Kiagbodo man. At page 116 of UHS’ book, S.E. Johnson, a Colonial Officer, listed the villages of Olomu Clan; grouping them into Uhurie and Umuoghoro Sections. Under the Uhurie group, the following towns were listed: Agbon, Akperhe, Oviri Olomu, Okpe and Okpaverhe. While listed under Udumuoghoro are Ovwodokpkpor, Umolo, Ovwor and Okpare (Taiga’s hometown). The offshoot villages/towns from Umuoghoro are: Ighwre-OGONI from Ovwor, Ofuomanefe from Ovwor, Ophorigbala from Ovwor and Aloba from Umolo. The ancestral tie with the progenitor Oghoro of Kiagbodo, no doubt, explains why the title of Ohworode of Olomu, HRM (Dr.) Richard Ogbon, includes Ogoni-OGHORO 1.
One asks, if dizzied Ufuoma’s ancestors moved from a location to another, long before the arrival of the white man, how many years/centuries ago would that be? When did the white man arrive Urhobo/Niger Delta? Again, when has it become a crime to trace and identify one’s ancestry dating back Centuries? The people of Olomoro in Isoko trace their ancestry to Igboze of Olomu, are they now Urhobo? President Donald Trump’s paternal ancestry is traceable to Germany, does that make him non-American? Dr. Ben Carson, US Presidential aspirant and world renowned neuro-surgeon announced that he traced his ancestry to Africa, that did not stop him from being American? The Fernandez, Dasilva, Marinho, Agusto, Pereira, among other prominent families of Lagos Island proudly traces their history to Brazil, are they no longer Lagosians? The list is endless.
Olorogun Moses Taiga is from three prominent families in Ughelli North and South Local Government Area of Delta State, and directly from Okpare-Olomu. The UPU PG is from Erhokaire Family of Orhokpor (Isiokolo) in Agbon Kingdom, Ethiope East LGA, and aside from Okpare, he is also from the Oroh Royal Family in Edjekota, Ogor.
On Sunday May 20, 2018, being a grandson of Prince Oroh Uwague (Patriarch of the Oroh Family) Olorogun Moses Taiga received a carnival-like, hero’s welcome to Edjekota-Ogor, and to the Ogwah of the Oroh Family. The visit to Edjekota was part of the UPU PG’s tour of Oghwoghwa Territories, under the aegis of Urhobo Historical Society (UHS) Eleventh Conference. Edjekota was agog in festivity; cultural dancers and traditional canon shots boomed in joy, elders and prominent personalities in Oroh Family and Ogor Kingdom were on hand to welcome the UPU PG, who is their beloved son in whom they are well pleased.
Contrary to conjured Ufuoma’s claim, Moses Taiga’s mum, Mrs. Mamie Taiga (nee Enaphie) hailed from Ughievwen, and was the first daughter of Chief Enaphie of Agbohwiame from Ukpedi sub-clan, Ughievwen Kingdom, Ughelli South LGA. However, Chief Zeze Taiga (Taiga’s father) was from the Okorogbosu Royal Family of Okpare. He was born, bred, lived, married, died and buried in Okpare. He became the Leader and was Okpako-Orere (eldest man) of Okpare at the time of his death, aged 106. Taiga Zeze’s elder brother, Zeze Ogigba, and his (Taiga Zeze) five sisters were all born, bred, lived, married and buried in Okpare.
Conjured Ufuoma’s reference to Olorogun Taiga’s siblings and the lie that they identify themselves as Ijaw is malevolent and disgusting. Haba! All siblings of Taiga are proudly Olomu and identify with Urhobo; indeed some are Urhobo traditional title holders. . All deceased siblings of Taiga, including his cerebral immediate elder brother, Dr. Abraham Taiga (renowned Agric. Economist) were interred in Okpare. It must be emphasised that all through Moses Taiga’s primary, secondary (Urhobo College, Effurun & Government College, Ughelli) and tertiary education, he, as well as siblings, never denied Urhobo.
An injury to one is an injury to all. Anyone attempting to alienate a critical cultural unit of Urhoboland like Olomu, by maliciously labeling their beloved son a foreigner, is undeniably anti-Urhobo peace, unity and progress. Urhobo cannot afford any of its cultural units seeking autonomy because of the misguided, vindictive and selfish antics of a few. We need to encourage successful, outstanding and patriotic personalities who have offered to serve Urhobo and not resort to mudslinging. Those involved are advised to swallow the pills of caution and wisdom.
Mr. Uruemuesiri Obah-Young, a member of Urhobo Progress Union, writes from 18 Okere Road, Warri.

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