|Urhobo Historical Society
Introduction to Report of Tour of Branches, 1964,
by the President-General, Urhobo Progress
By T. E. A. Salubi
For many years it has been the expressed wish of the Union that the President-General should visit the branches of the
I was elected President-General on 30:12:1961 - twenty days after leaving my official desk on leave preparatory to retirement from the Federal Public Service. I needed time to settle my personal affairs at
Shortly after the population Census, a period of Emergency was declared on
In February, 1963, I went with Chief the Honourable D. C. Osadebay on a tour of
When the Governments of the Federation set up a commission, now popularly known as “Morgan Commission”, in October, 1963, I was appointed a Commissioner. The work of the Commission ran up to the end of April, 1964. In the midst of it, I had to run for an election into the first Mid-Western Nigeria House of Assembly.
It was at the end of those series of events that I could, as President-General of Urhobo Progress Union, think of touring to the branches of the
I have purposely catalogued my major public engagements from January, 1962, to April, 1964, in an attempt to show how difficult it could be for any person, especially one in public life, to make himself available for a tour such as the one under discussion. However, I was determined to have rest for the whole of May and to begin the tour in June, 1964.
By this time, two and a half out of my three years tenure of office had run out and I had only six months to do whatever I could by way of touring. Today, I am extremely happy to be easy as many people think. As I write, there are three branches north-east of Northern Nigeria, five branches in Eastern Nigeria and all the braches in Urhobo Divisions yet to be visited. And what about the eight branches in
Before commencement of the tours, the following five branches, for various reasons, telegraphed that they were not fit to be visited. They were Gbogan in Western Nigeria, and
Many local persons of importance were introduced to me as Leaders of the Branches. There was an approximate attendance of some 5,000 at the 29 meetings held. Practically everywhere, a group of happy dancers, mostly women, hailed me and my entourage. Altogether 195 gun salutes were fired by 10 braches in the rural areas in honour of my visit. That was unbelievably so oven under difficult physical conditions. The £57 : 11 : 0, shown under column 9 of appendix XIII was spent in the form of presents to those groups of elegant women dancers.
Without taking into account the mileage by a second car, the tours covered a distance of some 4,070 miles -- about 1,830 in the South and 2,240 in the North. The tour of the North was a battle of great distance. While the average mileage to a branch was 448 in the North, it was only 59 in the South! More than 323 gallons of petrol and 6 ½ gallons of engine oil, both at a cost of £79 : 7 : 1d, were used throughout the tours. The largest single item of expenditure was on the care, maintenance and repair of vehicles. The damage to the Volkswagen and the heavy expenses on the repair of the
Altogether, I spent a total of £74 : 5: 6d presented to the party by branches as off set against that amount, there would, therefore, be a net expenditure of £272 : 8 : 4d. What is really important is that whatever expenditure that was involved was incurred without any hope of recovering it. Before I set on the tour, I was fully aware that the
In order to make this report readable, I have directed that it should be written in a narrative form. I therefore sincerely hope that many will find it readable in spite of its length. With this same end in view, we have tried to include many minor but interesting facts and information, stating them as they vary from branch to branch.
In conclusion, I would fain to record my warm thanks, gratitude and appreciation to all who in their various capacities helped me to make the tours the great success that they certainly were. First among them is, of course, my devoted wife who is ever prepared to cater for my health and comfort wherever I may wish to go and under any circumstance. She is, by nature, a simple woman and has been accustomed to “hard-lying” from the time I was a Labour Officer. The commendation she earned from various people during the tours is a glorious testimony which any good wife must be proud of. I am most grateful to her for her ever-present affection and companionship.
Mr. Gordon Mukoro, the Under-Secretary and Financial Secretary-General of the
It is not often these days that one meets a person who is not working purely for remuneration and personal gains. Mr. Gordon Mukoro who serves the
A group of members headed by Mr. T. Rerri, the Principal Secretary, accompanied me to Kwale and
Chief Udi Jeje of
My personal Secretary, Mr. Joseph (Omo) Gbenedio; the two drivers, Johnson Okpadanyota and John Oniogbo; and my two personal servants, Loysius Adjekpovu and John Evwianure, were of great assistance. They showed enormous capacity to take the brunt which occasionally came from me.
The last but by no means the least, I must express profound gratitude to all the branches, especially to such of their members as played hosts to us. Here I do not propose to single out branches or individuals, and I have no doubt that my reason for not wishing to do so will be fully understood.
Words are not adequate for me to describe their generous hospitality to me and my entourage. I felt extremely proud of all of them. My special thanks must go to the women who danced so beautifully for me. Some of them had children on their back, some pregnant and yet they danced and danced energetically, all because I came to see them.
May God Bless All of them.
T. E. A. Salubi