LEADER OF MEN
Jerry Oshenye Lagos
I used to be told by my father that every Urhoboman is a warrior but that while some lived and died as warriors, some others were disarmed before their death. Chief Daniel Okumagba, the Olotu of Okere-Urhobo, and one-time Secretary-General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) died on July 27, 2000 at the ripe age of 78 years. And he lived and died as a warrior.
As a community leader, Okumagba championed the political, social, cultural and economic emancipation of Okere people. He gave them a unique community/clan identity. As an Urhobo national leader, he was always there for the people of the neighboring Agbarha in Warri. Of note is the fact that Okere and Agbarha make up substantially what today is Warri South Local Government Area in Delta State.
Chief Daniel Okumagba was a powerful dresser in Urhobo traditional atire and therefore was a cultural ambassador of the Urhobo nation. In politics, he was a source of inspiration to so many young men and women in Urhoboland and beyond. He had always initiated and nurtured acceptable political agenda for the Urhobo nation. He never betrayed Urhobo national interests. He, instead, was opposed to such deals and had done so openly.
Chief Daniel Okumagba was not only a teacher of Mathematics in the famous Urhobo College, Effurun. By his ideology and life style, he taught ethics, logic, political philosophy, moral values, religion and most of all courage and bravery to the larger members of the society. Many have said that he was controversial. Yes, he was. He was so because of his status in society and the roles he played. He was a family man, a man of industry and commerce, a believer in law and order, a hard-core Urhoboman who lived as a warrior and died as a warrior. He was never disarmed.
Were death not for humans Mowoe and Okumagba would not have died. By our judgement, both men have made it to heaven. We thank God for that. We are consoled. I will attend his interment when the time comes. May Jehovah grant him eternal rest and all of us who survive him, long life, courage and prosperity to continue from where he stopped.