URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

AN INTERIM REPORT
September 1999 -- March 2000


Source:
Subject: URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY: AN INTERIM REPORT, SEPTEMBER 1999 TO MARCH 2000
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 23:59:04 -0400
From: Urhobo Historical Society <Urhobo@KinsFolk.com>
To: Urhobo Historical Society <Members@waado.org>

URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
An Interim Report: September 1999 To March 2000




INTRODUCTION

Urhobo Historical Society was inaugurated on August 28, 1999. It received its mandate from an Inaugural Meeting. That mandate authorized two structures:
 

First, it authorized membership which would consist of two layers: Charter Members who wish to assist in paying a one-time $200 or more for the Association's start-up expenses in the first year and then regular membership fees in coming years; and Members who will pay $50 per year, starting 1999-2000.

Second, the Inaugural Meeting authorized an Editorial and Management Committee which was assigned the following five responsibilities:
 

"Duties and Responsibilities of the Editorial and Management Committee.
 

(a) Look after the affairs of the URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY until it has a duly elected Executive.

(b) Incorporate the Society as URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

(c) Establish and manage a web site to be called URHOBO WAADO.

(d) Organize an Annual General Meeting in a North American City in 2000.

(e) Make contacts with Urhobos in Europe and Nigeria for the purpose of establishing other chapters of URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY."

(Please see
http://www.waado.org/Organizations/UHS/Inauguration/UHSInauguralAgenda.html.)

The purpose of this memorandum is (a) to report to members and potential members on the activities of Urhobo Historical Society in its first six months ago (September 1999 to March 2000); (b) to report on future plans; and (c) to indicate in what ways you can help to advance the goals of Urhobo Historical Society.
 
 

ACTIVITIES OF URHOBO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SEPTEMBER 1999 TO MARCH 2000

Membership

We have been slow in pursuing our membership mandate. This is largely because we had to set up a Bank Account for depositing membership fees. It took a while to do so. Meeting bank requirements for four signatories who live in three different US states and in a Canadian Province could be quite complex. There was also a requirement that we obtain an Internal Revenue Identification Number for tax purposes. We have now opened a bank account at Buffalo on March 3, 2000. We can now pursue a campaign for recruiting members in fulfillment of our mandate.

We will eventually publish a comprehensive list of (a) Charter Members and (b) Regular Members for the period 1999-2000. Meanwhile, we wish to thank the following people who have responded to our earlier appeal for membership. Their payments have enabled us to open the bank account.

Mr. Joseph Ojevwe,
Dr. Jackson Omene
Dr. Perkin Foss
Mr. Daniel Kalegha
Dr. Isaac Mowoe
Mr. & Mrs Theophilus Agbuke
Mr. John Ofurhie
Dr. & Mrs Duke Ophori
Dr. Joseph Inikori

Payment of Membership Fees

We urge those of you who can afford it to opt for a one-time Charter Membership fee of $200 or higher. (This amount would include the 1999-2000 Membership fee.) We urge others to send the regular Membership fee of $50. Please send your payment to our treasurer at the following address:

Mrs Grace Ophori
Treasurer, Urhobo Historical Society
127 Berkeley Avenue
Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003

Editorial and Management Committee

In accordance with our mandate, we have set up an Editorial and Management Committee. It includes four offices of Chair and Editor; Deputy Chair; Secretary; and Treasurer. For the composition of the Editorial and Management Committee, please go to http://www.waado.org/EditManageCom.html.

Financial Status of UHS and Activities

In presenting the activities undertaken by the Editorial and Management Committee, it is important to stress that UHS has so far no funds to cover any expenses for its projects. Some members of the executive have volunteered their time for several projects that UHS has undertaken. In addition, the Chair and the Secretary have spent their own money in the matter of building URHOBO WAADO, Web site of Urhobo Historical Society. While it is possible that some of these expenses may be reimbursed û which is by no means certain û new and ongoing projects on the Web site will require even new funds to complete them.

The following report of activities by the Editorial and Management Committee should be understood and evaluated in the context of these limitations.

Incorporating Urhobo Historical Society

This is a mandate that we still have to fulfill. Now that we have a bank account, we hope to explore its prospects, including obtaining a Tax Exemption Status. If there is anyone who is familiar with the processes involved, then please offer your help by reaching me at Editor@waado.org.

Establishing and Managing URHOBO WAADO
Web site of Urhobo Historical Society

A major mandate of the Editorial and Management Committee is to build and manage a web site for Urhobo Historical Society.

Building and managing a web site is an expensive as well as risky business. It involves acquiring a good amount of cyberspace, currently ranging from 5 MB to 85 MB. It also involves registration with a Federal Government agency. We decided to go for the maximum space of 85 MB because we will need it for the type of documentation work that Urhobo Historical Society is interested in. For these charges, Peter Ekeh, Chair, and Andrew Edevbie, Secretary, have provided funds that allowed UHS to start fulfilling its web site responsibilities.

But the most time-consuming and expensive work of web sites is undertaken by web masters. Good web masters charge up to $200 an hour for their work. This prohibitive charge could amount to many thousands of dollars. Clearly, UHS could not afford such expenses. Instead, Peter Ekeh, Chair, as editor of URHOBO WAADO, undertook the task of learning to construct a web site. The result of this effort is there for you to see at http://www.waado.org. Building the web site has involved hundreds of hours, possibly more than 1000 hours by now, especially making room for initial time-consuming mistakes. As a policy matter, we decided to go for documentation which seems to distinguish our web site from other Nigerian ethnic web sites. We have also attempted to reach various people who can provide material for the web site. Apart from several attempts by Peter Ekeh and Andrew Edevbie to secure documents for the Web site, Igho Natufe wrote to the Orodje of Okpe for material for the Okpe pages. We also embarked on an "authorship" policy, which means that those who produce publications are recognized as authors in our Web pages.

We believe the results of our efforts and the impact of URHOBO WAADO have been handsome. We are pleased to observe that some older Nigerian ethnic web sites have begun to imitate URHOBO WAADO by embarking on documentation. More importantly, we have been able to influence the image of Urhobo in the internet. You may try this claim out by searching for "Urhobo" and "Niger Delta" û say in Netscape (http://search.netscape.com/cgi-bin/search?cp=srpwidsrc&search=Niger+Delta) and Fast Search (http://www.alltheweb.com/cgi-bin/asearch?type=all&query=Urhobo) which represent elite and broad spectrum search engines. Until recently, searching for "Urhobo" in the internet was painful because we were defined by references from Itsekiri and other web sites. Now we compete for attention by offering a positive image of references to Urhobo history and culture, rather than false accusations of "ethnic cleansing."

The next six months will be critical for URHOBO WAADO. Web sites are very competitive business. We must enhance the quality and range of our publications in URHOBO WAADO. This will involve considerable expenses and time. We urge you all to help in this task. Please see below in the section WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP for the various ways you can assist in making URHOBO WAADO a success.

Electronic Mailing Services

Some of the most important services that Nigerian ethnic communities in the US have offered their people are good email services. The Igbo, Yoruba, Benin, Ijaw, and Itsekiri have all been active in providing email platforms for news and discussions of Nigerian affairs. These services have been provided by pan-ethnic associations among these ethnic communities. Sadly, that has been missing in our case. Well up till November 1999, we relied on Edo Community email  services for voicing Urhobo concerns.

We have no mandate for this type of service. However, in the absence of any pan-Urhobo organizations undertaking this responsibility, we have, since about November 1999, offered limited email services of news and discussions in a UHS forum. What is enlivening in this venture is that we serve a number of people in the UK and Nigeria in addition to the Nigerian community in North America û thus building an interesting community for our people.

We must emphasize, however, that this is an assignment that we would be pleased to hand over to another organization. It is our prayer that the current TUNA crisis will be resolved in such a manner as will allow us to help its leadership to set up an email service, building on our current email data base which appears to be the most comprehensive of any pool of Urhobo email addresses anywhere.

Mediating in TUNA Crisis

Another set of activities for which we have no direct mandate concerns efforts to settle problems that have beset The Urhobo National Association (North America) in the last two years. Individual members of Urhobo Historical Society have sought to end the crisis that has threatened the performances of key functions by TUNA for the Urhobo community in North America. Recently, Igho Natufe, UHS's Deputy Chair, was engaged in this mediation process.

Organizing an Annual General Meeting
in a North American City in 2000

We have a mandate to organize an Annual General Meeting in a North American City in 2000. Following initial discussions, it was decided by the Management and Editorial Committee that Dr. Igho Natufe, Deputy Chair, should explore prospects of holding this meeting during a week-end on November 3-5 (Friday to Sunday) in Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. Four substantive panels are planned as follows:

* URHOBO LEADERSHIP: PROBLEMS & PROSPECTS
* URHOBO AND HER NEIGHBOURS
* URHOBO AND NIGERIA: TOWARD AN URHOBO AGENDA
* BUSINESS MEETING: Constitution for UHS, Election of Officers
 

Niagara Falls (Canada) has many advantages as a venue for this meeting. Its hotel facilities are cheaper than many US hotels. It offers excellent attraction to children who may want to see the Falls, even in the first week of November. Airport services are provided from Buffalo which now enjoys some low fares from a number of US cities. These rates will be provided when the requisite information is available.

In order to make this a credible gathering, we will need at least 15 families. We should be grateful if you would make room to attend this meeting with your family. If there are enough young people, we would like to organize sessions for them. In any case, plan to bring your family.

Making Contacts with Urhobos in Europe and Nigeria for the Purpose
of Establishing Other Chapters of Urhobo Historical Society

We were also mandated to make contacts with Urhobos in Nigeria and Europe for the purpose of establishing chapters of Urhobo Historical Society in future. Actually, the information about Urhobo Historical Society is already abroad in Nigeria and Europe among Urhobos. We have been in touch with key Urhobo intellectuals and leaders in Nigeria. We are still searching for some foothold in the United Kingdom. We are pleased that our email services go to a number of people in the UK and Nigeria. URHOBO WAADO, our web site, appears to be popular in the United Kingdom. We hope to pursue this mandate much further in the next several months.
 
 

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

The first six months of Urhobo Historical Society have been intense in several respects. However, its work has been concentrated in a few hands. This has been inevitable because of the nature of beginning a new process. What has been most heartening in these months is the number of Urhobos, in North America and Europe, who have expressed interest in contributing to the growth of URHOBO WAADO and other projects of Urhobo Historical Society. Now that we are settling down, we must come to you for help in three areas of our operations.

1. Membership Fees:
September 1999 --December 2000

We would like to repeat that we need every reader of this mail in North America to become a
member of Urhobo Historical Society. If you have not already done so please pay your membership dues as follows:

(a) Charter Membership: $200 or a higher amount.
(b) Regular Membership: $50.

Make money orders and checks payable to "Urhobo Historical Society" and send them to:

Mrs Grace Ophori
Treasurer, Urhobo Historical Society
127 Berkeley Avenue
Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003

2. URHOBO WAADO, Web Site of Urhobo Historical Society

(a) Suggestions of Material for Publication in URHOBO WAADO

The URHOBO WAADO Web site is designed in such a manner as will enable it to absorb more documents and new material in the next ten years or so. We need suggestions of documents for inclusion in the web site. This is especially the case with respect to those subject areas that are currently "Under Construction." We also need help for developing "Women Affairs" and "Youth Affairs." In addition, see what you can do to help with working on material that can be published in your name. An excellent example is Dr. Aruegodore Oyiborhoro's essay on Urhobo Names (see http://www.waado.org/UrhoboCulture/Names/UrhoboNames_Oyibo.htm).

(b) Documentation Project

There are many important books and documents that deserve to be included in URHOBO WAADO. As you probably know, we have published Mukoro Mowoe's Anniversary Lectures in our Web site. The power of the internet is that it can easily absorb 30 more such books.

But there is a peculiar problem with many of the books that we would like to reproduce in URHOBO WAADO. They do not lend themselves to meaningful scanning. The reason for this defect is that they were originally set on type-writers. In order to prepare them for inclusion in the Web site they have to be retyped in an electronic format, which costs approximately from $1.50 to $2.00 per page.

We need individuals who will volunteer to pay for typing these documents. We ask you to kindly consider adopting one or more of the following documents and books that will be electronically typed and then reproduced in URHOBO WAADO. We will amply acknowledge such assistance in our pages. The documents and books that we have identified, at least for now, are as follows:
 
 

Documents Estimated Costs Remarks
UPU Constitution
$200
Already adopted by Dr. Aruegodore Oyiborhoro
Idjerhe Fire Disaster: List of the victims of the Idjerhe Petroleum Fire Disaster
$200
Warri: Land, Overlords, & Land Rights (Ometan Vs Dore Numa). FACT, FICTION & IMPERIALISM By Daniel Obiomah
$150
Warri, Urhobo and The Nigerian Nation  By Daniel Obiomah
$100
Already adopted by Dr Isaac Mowoe
The Land Factor in Intercommunity Feud in Warri: A Colonial Legacy By Daniel Obiomah
$50
The Other Woman & Other Essays By Daniel Obiomah
$150
Member For Warri Province (Biography of Mukoro Mowoe) By Obaro Ikime
$250
Already adopted by Dr Isaac Mowoe
Okpe Kingdom By Onigu Otite
$250
Urhobo People By Onigu Otite
$470
The Birth of a University: Delta State University at Abraka By Frank Ukoli
$150
Already adopted by Dr Isaac Mowoe

Please send your views and offers for help to Andrew Edevbie, Secretary, at kevtrics@juno.com (copy Editor@waado.org).

3. UHS 2000 Annual Meeting, Niagara Falls

We need you and members of your family to attend an Annual Meeting of Urhobo Historical Society, in Niagara Falls, Canada, November 3-5, 2000 (Friday to Sunday). Full details will be discussed later.
 

We trust that you will help us to build an organization that will serve Urhobo history and culture in a manner and to a degree that will elicit your pride.
 

Sincerely,

Peter Ekeh
Chair
Editor@waado.org
Urhobo Historical Society
10 April 2000


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