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Urhobo kingdoms and political staff of office

When Orwellian duplicity is theatricalised in any collectivity, it precipitates a  neurological obsession with recondite divisive spirit. Is this what is wrong with ambitious politicians, kings and kingdom mongers in Urhoboland?

The Urhobo people hail from DeltaState and have numerical superiority over every ethnic group in the state.

They are the fifth largest ethnic group in Nigeria, 15th largest in Africa and consistent with statistical data, they are the 51st largest ethnic group in the world.  One of the largest oil producing in Nigeria, the 21st in Africa and the 45th in the world.

But the Urhobo people are hewers of wood and fetchers of water in a state and nation where they hold numerical superiority and such a great fiscal height. They are in government, but not in authority and power.

Are they even really in government? This is as result of a Neanderthal brand of placebo Republicanism that has made the Urhobo people their own worst enemies as brothers are turned against brothers befuddled by psychotic treachery, the dog eat dog syndrome.

In the midst of power and fiscal drought in Urhobo land the people have turned against themselves. A kind of implosive Paleolithic eviscerality and power acquisition by hook or crook.

This is compounded by the manipulative political shrewdness of our state government in the politics of creation of new kingdoms, kings and selective handing over of staff of office and the official seal of the staff of office to political stooges and surrogates masquerading as traditional rulers.

Is it the state government that should pick our traditional rulers through its political acrobatics or the people of that kingdom?

This politicisation has led to the balkanization of the kingdoms and the wanton proliferation of kings in Urhoboland and DeltaState. Once the laid down kingship procedure, historical precedence or tradition is jettisoned, it stimulates splinter groups who create their own kingdoms and kings.

It is clear that the Ibori/Uduaghan administration have given more staff of office to traditional rulers and created more kingdoms in DeltaState than any other administration. Indeed, there are more political kingdoms in Urhoboland than traditional kingdoms.

At the last count we have 24 kingdoms in Urhobo land approved by the Delta State Government, namely: Agbon, Agbarho, Aravwarien, Agbarho-otor, Olomu, Udu, Ogor, Uwherun, Evwreni, Ughievwen, Ewu, Okparabe, Effurun-otor, Oghara, Ijerhe, Mosogar, Oruarivie-Abraka, Umiagwa- Abraka, Okpe, Orogun, Okere-Urhobo and Uvwie. But some of the kingdoms and their kings are no longer at ease as they frequently resort to litigation and press wars.

The political implications are too gruesome to contemplate. In the 1953 elections the vast majority of Urhobo people pitched their political tent with the NCNC, whilst some major tribal groups in the Western Region pitched their political tents with the Action Group, AG.

The devastating political consequences before and after the elections are still with the Urhobo people till today as the Itsekiri monarch became the traditional ruler of Warri Kingdom. We pitched our political tents at various levels with the MDF, NPN, SDP, and PDP. But now the Urhobo political machine is now between Scyllas and Charybadis, between the Devil and the deep blue sea and in schismatic political entropy torn between the PDP/DPP/APC, etc.

With the Urhobo political structure and interest dichotomized along political, monarchical, kingdoms, kingship lines, how can we move forward? The death of the legendary Senator Pius Ewherido has brought out the political beast in the Urhobo politicians in their knack for a ‘no compromise’ approach to politics.

Some  of our kingdoms and kings that are supposed to call the politicians to order have been compromised by the government that gave them staff of political office and not traditional kings . Some of them have become surrogates, stooges and fifth columnist to the government.

We expect our Urhobo people to be proud of themselves and shun low self-esteem that is the cause of shameful receipt of base bribes and fighting to balkanize kingdoms and carryout profane quest for power.

As we approach 2015, let our politicians and the totality of the Urhobo nation say ‘No’ to disunity, shameless quest for kingship and proliferation of kingdoms. The people of the GreatUghiewenKingdom are one and nothing on earth should divide them.

Let our Urhobo people learn from the EdoKingdom, ItsekiriKingdom and from our own OkpeKingdom, etc. We must note that the balkanization of kingdoms and the proliferation of kings is of our making.

*BOBSON GBINIJE, founder of the Mandate Against Poverty, MAP, wrote from Warri.


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