By FESTUS AHON
UGHELLI — Delta State-based lawyer, Dr. Akpo Mudiaga-Odje, has decried the exclusion of the Urhobo ethnic group from the Federal Executive Council, describing the non-appointment of an Urhobo indigene as a minister in the country as gross marginalisation of the fifth largest ethnic group in Nigeria.
Odje, at Olomu, during the 25th coronation anniversary of the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom, said the Nigeria Federation owes the Urhobo nation an apology.
He said: “Without mincing words, it is a tragedy, not for the Urhobo nation in particular, but the Nigerian nation as a whole, that a people who have been so supportive, creative, industrious, majority of whom, by the grace of God, had made their wealth and contributed to this nation, cannot be seen in the Federal Executive Council.
“I think something is wrong with this government. Even if we have some issues relating to our unity, government itself must ensure, going by section 42 of the Constitution, that there is no discrimination against any particular group of people. We contribute oil and gas resources to this nation. It is not in dispute.
“The fact that we contribute means that we need a representative at the Federal Executive Council, where the resources that we produce will be shared and allocated. At least, we need somebody that will represent our interest by virtue of the fact that we contribute.
“We are not talking of demographic structure or strength, we are not talking about our population here; we are talking of our economic importance. We have Utorogun Gas Plant, we have Delta Steel Company, we have Delta Power Station, Ogorode, Sapele, power station, we have so many things that we host.
“The economic well being of this nation is also sitting at the foundation of the Urhobo nation. Then why are we denied ministerial apponintment? We should not be punished for political misadventure or any other oversight of individual as the case may be.”