Urhobo Historical Society


The Annual General Meeting of the 2002 Conference of Urhobo Historical Society, held in London, United Kingdom, authorized five Urhobo Service Awards with the following descriptions:

Chief Mukoro Mowoe Service Award

This would be an award that reflects service that has as its focus and impact the entirety of Urhobo history and culture. Chief Mowoe's life epitomizes such service. There is  in it an element of the unknown. In other words, this type of service should carry such marks and risks of a pioneer. The quest here is to advance Urhobo collective welfare with endeavours that are pioneering and difficult, but with consequences that benefit all Urhobo.

Criterion: This type of award should be for a life time of service that approximate the above attributes.

Omorohwovo Okoro Co-Leadership Service Award

Urhobo Brotherly Society was the ancestor of Urhobo Progress Union. Its founding leader was Omorohwovo Okoro, an Ovu trader in Warri in the 1920s and 1930s. Professor Obaro Ikime, Chief Mukoro Mowoe's biographer, tells us that  Omorohwovo Okoro voluntarily relinquished leadership to Mukoro Mowoe, because he thought the complexities of the new colonial setting required younger and better trained energies. He preferred to work for the advancement of the Urhobo people by serving and working with other leaders. This is a virtue that has served Urhobo well. Those who work with others in leadership positions help to advance our common welfare. Their work should be fully recognized and encouraged. Those modern Urhobo who deserve this award should come from the ranks of selfless public servants who seek out Urhobo issues and work for their success, even if the credit is claimed by others.

Criterion:  Recipients should show life time commitments of service to Urhobo causes by working with other leaders, without fighting for higher offices all the time.

Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Service Award

Agbotanren Udih was one of the three Trustees of Urhobo Progress Union when it was incorporated in 1946. Chief Udih was resident in Benin City and was President of the Benin City branch of the U. P. U. for many decades. But he was famous throughout Urhoboland for a unique type of service that he rendered to Urhobo travellers who went through Benin City. Many Urhobos went to Okitipupa through the creeks in the 1920s. But with the establishment of motor transportation in later decades, Benin City became the corridor through which most Urhobos travelled to various locations outside Urhoboland. Those were dangerous times. Armel's Transport Services and other transportation companies, through whose vehicles many travelled, passed through Benin City. Chief Udih arranged safe haven for Urhobo travellers. Those who had nowhere to rest, especially at night, went to Udih's abode. Moreover, he provided important leadership to the Urhobo community in Benin City and Benin country. Such service to diaspora Urhobos was crucial for the survival and expansion of Urhobos throughout West Africa.

Criterion: Those who would be recipients of this award would be men and women who have served Urhobo diaspora communities, outside Urhobo land.

M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award

Urhobo College was an educational endeavour that deserves to be emboldened not only in Urhobo history, but in Nigerian history. Many people sacrificed their time and money to conceive and implement this dream. M. G. Ejaife was the chief steward of these efforts. His service as Principal of Urhobo College helped to create the momentum for the expansion of education and the craving for education in Urhobo land. This award would be to individuals who have served to advance the fields of education, acting as models for others to follow.

Criteria: This award should be to individuals who have made major achievements in education and have helped to advance educational vocations that have benefited Urhobos.

Adogbeji Salubi Urhobo History Service Award

The University of Ibadan honoured three untrained historians for their work in advancing the histories of their people. These were Chief Jacob Egharevba of Benin; Chief Akiga of Tivland; and our own Chief Adogbeji Salubi. Each of these adventurous men wrote important historical accounts of his people.

Chief Salubi did many things for Urhobo. His history of Urhobo College and the UPU will be published in our web site whenever we acquire it. His account of British colonialism in Urhobo land is seminal and is already published in our web site. His account of the origins of Sapele is superb. It seems important that we create an award for those who advance the native history of the Urhobo people. It was for that reason that the University of Ibadan awarded Chief Salubi its valuable D.Litt.

Criterion: Those who advance Urhobo history in the tradition of Chief Adogbeji Salubi deserve this award. Service in this area is rare, but an award of this type will encourage it and produce more recipients of this service award.
The Annual General Meeting (2002) also approved the following: "that an Awards Committee be set up for the purpose of selecting worthy men and women whose lives and services to Urhobo history and culture resonate the ideals, commitments and passions of those after whom these awards are named. In future years, preferably during Annual Conferences of Urhobo Historical Society, the recipients of some or all of these awards will be named as part of our responsibilities."

Furthermore, "
The [2002 Annual] General Meeting, by consensus, authorized UHS Editorial and Management Committee to set up UHS Service Awards Selection Committee to be made up of two individuals each from North America and Europe and three from Nigeria, as committee members."

On account of the above mandate, the Editorial and Management Committee of Urhobo Historical Society in 2004 set up an Awards Committee made up of the following:

North America: Dr. Aruegodore Oyiborhoro, Chairman; Dr. Emmanuel Ojameruaye.

United Kingdom and Belgium: S. S. Obruche; Mrs. Felicia Emesiri-Akusu.

Nigeria: Chief Johnson Barovbe; Chief Vincent O. Awhi; Rev. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Dortie.