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INTRODUCTION:

 

In a gathering of Urhobo think tank people recently (2007) in London, with such calibre of people and dignitaries as Chief Dr E. K. Clark, Chief S. S. Obruche the President of Urhobo Historical Society London, Chief P. A. Wanogho President of UPU London Branch for many years, Mr E. J. Okorode President of Urhobo Social and Cultural Club London and many other important personalities all in attendance, some of the attendees  observed that there exists a gap caused by disunity among the people of Urhobo as a nation and something was needed to be done about this. Weeks after this meeting, those attendees who observed the gap met about taking some action to do something about the situation. 

 

Historical Background:

 

The UPU:

 

At the forefront of organisations responsible for the co-ordination of Urhobo socio-cultural matters is the UPU. This is a formidable organisation formed several years back (1931) to represent the entire Urhobo nation in the gathering of nations that collectively formed the country Nigeria. The pioneers of UPU fought relentlessly to achieve this onerous task at that time. Then the UPU President was the singular voice of the Urhobo people. But over the years this seemed not to be the case as the Urhobo people became more individualistic and selfish doing their own thing their own ways. And as a matter of fact, Urhobo nation has over the years grown bigger, more diversed and more sophisticated than as the case was several years back when UPU was formed. So we see today that the unity required for the Urhobo people to have a singular voice is no more there and as such something needs to be done to restore and foster Urhobo unity or togetherness or solidity. The task is now onerous and should not to be left for UPU alone to bear.

 

In a speech presented recently by (Senator) Olorogun Felix Ibru at the 3rd General Convention of UPU 2007 here in London, he mentioned that Urhobo was likened to an Elephant (Urhobo K'eni) but now no longer an elephant and enjoined all Urhobos to look into the matter for something to be done urgently. In fact, the formation of this organisation is partly in response to this call from Olorogun Felix Ibru.

 

The Urhobo Social and Cultural Club:

 

After UPU, we have Urhobo Social and Cultural Club that emerged. And as the name is, the organisation as a club took the position of bringing to the fore the Social and Cultural perspectives of Urhobos as a people. But that has not totally catered for the yearning of the people in other aspects of life including Economic Development of the area.

 

The Urhobo Historical Society:

 

The Urhobo Historical Society then took upon itself with the role of enlightenment of the people with the historical development of the Urhobo people: their background, growth, development and individual achievements. These were recently compiled and published as a Special calendar for the year 2007. In fact, it is more than a calendar.  It is better described as a documentary piece of work. The UHS has done much to have published this for the consumption of the general public. But there is still a lot to be done. The disunity and individualistic tendencies of the Urhobo people still exists as a bane.

 

Other Groups :

 

There are many other smaller groups and clubs that operate at regional or local levels within Delta State or just within some local government areas. Some clubs are even within the scope of the town or city where they are formed.

 

The Ivies and Oloroguns:

 

Then at individual clan (or kingdom) level, we have the Ivies and Chiefs (Oloroguns) who are the fathers and custodian of Urhobo culture to whom all the other organisations and clubs associate with and obtain credence, support and advice. But the Ivies mainly operate individually within their respective clans. Although they formed the Council of Ivies, they have not been able to come up with one singular Urhobo voice for Urhobo people in the comity of nations of Nigeria.

 

So from these analyses we see that there is this gap in fulfilling the aspirations of the Urhobo people of producing an Urhobo voice/leader that represents the Urhobo people at State, National and International levels.

 

The Role of Chief E. K. Clark and Chief Benjamin Okumagba in recent times (2007):

 

In view of the vulnerable position of the Urhobo people in the present dispensation and the possibility of marginalisation of this populous and formidable group of people that is a force to reckon with in the Delta State as the majority and fifth group (or thereabout ) in the country, Nigeria as a whole; our able fathers of Chief E. K. Clark and Chief Benjamin Okumagba came together to work together to fight together for a common cause of purpose for the actualisation of our aspirations. This turn came as a result of these two leaders realising the problem of Urhobos not being totally united as a people but everyone operating individually. These two leaders have really fought for the Urhobo people that their contributions to the development and progress of Urhobo is worthy of commendation. We at Urhobo Bridge use this write up to say “thank you sirs” to these our able and patriotic fathers.

 

However, these two leaders are getting of age. They are in their seventies/eighties now. Their present crusade requires them to travel long journeys to different places for special meetings, negotiations, consultations, etc. Soon they will need to retire and rest to become advisers and consultants in Urhobo matters.

 

The URHOBO BRIDGE UK:

 

As the name signifies and from the background information above, this organisation is formed for the following reasons:

 

1.                  To provide the “Bridge” or “Link” or “Connection” among all the Urhobo people and organisations that serve the Urhobo people. It has been seen that the other groups and organisations are operating individually in their own sphere of formation. But the Urhobo people as a nation in the 21st century needed to operate more as a corporate body rather than individually. We see nations forming a larger organisation (but each component still maintaining their identity) to produce a big voice. For instance, the European Union that combines the forces of all its member nations gets things done faster and better for the benefit of member nations with that formidable might and voice from all member nations and producing one voice of purpose. The same is true of the African Union. Also the USA operates along similar lines. Urhobo nation should not and cannot be an exemption. We need one voice of purpose to move forward.

 

2.                  Urhobo as a nation needs to gel together all the individualistic groups (But not a merger advocated for) so that it will be possible to produce a singular voice that represents the voice of the Urhobo people like we see in other communities.

 

3.                  To provide the avenue for bringing together the activities and efforts of the individuals, clubs, groups and organisations that handle one aspect of Urhobo affairs or the other to bring about a holistic fulfilment of the aspirations of the Urhobo people. This connection will mainly be with the Ivies and Oloroguns in the "23" Urhobo Kingdoms (or Communities or Clans), UPU and Urhobo Historical Society, and other Urhobo Unions, Clubs and Associations.

 

4.                  To provide a “bridge” or a "link" between our present leaders and the generations following them so that there is “shadowing” or “mentoring” or “discipleship” or any such name that will happen along the line so that there can be smooth transition of leadership.

 

5.                 To provide avenue for enlightenment/education of the people and create ample awareness for the people from all aspects and works of life within the Urhobo people.

 

6.                 To foster peaceful and harmonious co-existence among the various groups and clubs (comprising of the Ivies, Oloroguns, Chiefs, elders, elites, “the eghweyas” and the youths) so that the focus will be a unified move for the actualisation and realisation of Urhobo aspirations and not individualistic and selfish struggle that hitherto tear us widely apart.

 

7.                  To foster the atmosphere of brotherly love for one another for our common goal of purpose within the comity of nations in Nigeria to be achieved.

 

8.                 To provide avenue that fosters a holistic Social, Political, Economical and Cultural development of Urhobo people in the Urhobo land and the Diaspora.

 

COMPLEMENTARY AND SUPPLEMENTARY SERVICES:

 

This organisation is formed with the intent of complementing and supplementing the roles of all the erstwhile Urhobo groups and organisations and linking one with the other to form what may be called a “chain” or “network”. Urhobo Bridge will be part of the "chain" or "network" and not an "umbrella" as some people may be thinking that we are trying to arrogate the power of becoming the "Umbrella" body. UPU will ever have that honour of being the Umbrella body of the Urhobos. This should be clear with every one.

 

With this "Chain" or "Network", there will be proper dissemination of information and healthy communication maintained that will bring about the realisation of the purpose we are striving for. We are indeed operating as a “Network” or a “Bridge” or “Connector” for the Urhobo people in the Diaspora connecting with the Urhobo people in Urhobo land and we aim to remain so.

 

To recap: UPU is the "Umbrella" and we are the "Bridge" or "Connector" or "gel" for the Urhobo people and organisations.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

In view of the foregoing, we need every support and co-operation for co-existence with the elders, Ivies, Chiefs, the "eghweyas", the clubs, groups, the youths, the children and all well meaning Urhobo people and neighbouring non-Urhobos. We have a vision for a brilliant and brighter future for the Urhobo people.

 

Please give us a chance and support us to make the vision become a reality.

 

Thank you very much for your time reading this.

 

Initiating Members at inception until enlarged later as Founding Members.

(Shadrack Okpako, Onajevwe Omo-Ejakpovi & Joseph Emaniru)

(Sept 2007).

We need to quickly state herein that Urhobo Bridge is NOT formed to compete or take over any position already occupied by UPU, UHS, Urhobo Social & Cultural Club, Urhobo Elite, Urhukpe r’Urhobo, ULA, etc. Neither is it to struggle with the Council of Ivies or Council of Chiefs. Very far from that!

 

This organisation is formed with the intent of complementing and supplementing the roles of all these erstwhile groups and organisations and linking one with the other to form what may be called a “chain” or “network”.

 

With that, there will be proper dissemination of information and healthy communication maintained among all Urhobos and that will bring about the realisation of the purpose we are striving for.

 

We are indeed operating as a “Network” or a “Bridge” or “Connector” for the Urhobo people in the whole Diaspora and in Nigeria and we aim to remain so.

 

People reading this should accept our position and do not jump into negative conclusion or implying what is not intended.

To view the list of our membership, please click on the Members button on the Navigation Bar. And if you wish to apply for membership online or make a Donation, please click on the button labelled Membership and Donations on the Navigation Bar.
 
We wish to use this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to you for your interest and support. Thank you.
 
Founding Members.

Urhobo Bridge is for the Solidity and Unity of all Urhobos in UK and the  Diaspora, Urhobos in Nigeria generally and particularly in Urhobo land. To provide awareness for the Political, Social, Educational, Economic, Cultural and Developmental emancipation of the Urhobo people.

Here is an imagery picture of Urhobo Centre to be developed. (Part of Our Vision)

A door frame; Size=240 pixels wide

urhobobridge@yahoo.com