Urhobo Historical Society
A Narrative Report of Presidential Tour of Branches of Urhobo Progress Union in
By T. E. A. Salubi
the tour of the Midwest,
Most of the branches to be visited up in the North could be reached by train but I could not think of myself traveling that entire journey at the speed and the scheduled timetable of the Nigerian Railway. I am sure I would be bored stiff and frustrated. With motor transport, I could move at my own speed and whenever I liked. In spite of all its hazards, I certainly prefer motor transport because I am an impatient person when it comes to having to wait for a person or a vehicle.
order, therefore, to provide additional transport, I requested my
Ignatius O. Akpodia, Electrical Contractor,
It cost me a total of £31 to put the car on the road. That was ever before the tour was started.
had occasion to discuss the last tour with Chief Obazunu Arebe Uyo of
when he visited me in June. He volunteered to accompany me on the
tour was to have begun as from the 15th July – exactly a
month of my
return from my previous tour. Before then, however,
could do with the two days saved by not visiting
Mr. Gordon Mukoro, the Under-Secretary, was to sleep the night of the 14th July at Ovu so that we could reach Sapele early enough to pick up Chief Uyo and to take the first ferry at 6.30 a.m. on the 15th. But Mr. Mukoro did not turn up at dawn he was not to be seen. My party, consisting of myself, Mrs. Angela Salubi, my personal clerk, two servants and two drivers, therefore set off to Warri for Mr. Mukoro. In order not to miss him, we halted nearly every car (particularly taxi cars) that came from opposite directions. We got to his house only to be told that he had gone straight to Sapele to wait for us! It was annoying but the circumstances were understood.
We now set off for Sapele, picked Chief Uyo from his house (Block B Plot 10, Court-Road). The poor Chief had been waiting for nearly three hours from 5 a.m. and was wondering what could have caused our delay.
third ferry crossed us to the
roof of the
T. E. A. Salubi
July, 1964 –
minor fault on car LH 2250 was put right at a cost of £3: 6: 3. At
the President-General and party left
breakfast, we set off at 7.45 a.m. for
to emphasise how disappointed the President-General and his party felt
this strange news. With the negative replies from
it has since been ascertained that Mr. Rerri, Secretary-General of the
one may be permitted to state in parenthesis that the amended itinerary
taken. While still at
story from the 18th July now continues. At night, Mr. S. O. Oyinbodudu,
host of the President-General, threw a party in his house in honour of
distinguished visitors. At this party were present three Union members
all the way from
Sunday, 19th July, 1964: KADUNA
5 p.m., a reception was held for the delegates at the Community Centre,
next item was the reading of a Welcome Address. The address recorded
other things, that after the death of Chief Mukoro Mowoe, the Urhobo
Union suffered a set-back followed by a decline which nearly resulted
total collapse of the Urhobo nation. That at that time, the
President-General’s reply was, in general, on the lines of the
address which has already appeared in a prior chapter. In
however, the President-General referred to the branch’s annual report
1963 Council where a complaint was made that two other Urhobo
were not cooperating with the branch. The organisations were given as
Urhobo Community Union and the Urhobo Youth Movement. There was also a
complaint that certain Urhobo Senior Service people were not interested
regard to the Urhobo Community Union and certain Senior Service Urhobo
Uyo who spoke next referred to his connection with
the course of a brief speech, the Under-Secretary advised the
Many questions asked by members were satisfactorily answered by the President-General. The branch was directed to refer to the Annual General Council the suggestion that additional columns be provided in the membership card for the purpose of recording any donation or gift made by an individual member.
The reception was at the stage shifted to the Ambassador Hotel where the President-General and his entourage were entertained with drinks and dancing. The branch donated £2 towards transport expenses of the party. The happy function was formally brought to a close at 10 p.m.
But that was not the end of the day. The women dancers and some members accompanied the President-General to his lodging which was quite near the Ambassador Hotel. Here further dancing and merriment continued. A friend of Mr. Oyinbodudu, an Officer of the Army, took the party to the Army Restaurant for further entertainment and there was no end to it all until late in the night.
regard to the distance (56 miles only) between
a point about 6 miles to
The President-General and Mrs. Salubi were lodged in one chalet while Chief Uyo and the Under-Secretary occupied another. All the other members of the entourage were accommodated at the Holywood Proprietary Club in the town (Sabon Gari area).
At 4 p.m., a reception in honour of the delegates was held at the Club House of the Railway Amateur Athletic Club. After prayer and formal introduction of branch officers and other local leaders, a Welcome Address was read. After paying tributes to the many qualities of the President-General, the branch seized what was termed a golden opportunity to put across some of the problems facing its members and affecting their destiny as a people, namely,
(a) Difficulty in
getting secondary school places for Urhobo indigenes in Northern
Nigeria – lead
to a request for creating a Centre in
(b) The adverse effect of party politics on the solidarity of the Union at home and abroad – resulting in a split of the U.P.U. into Ometa and Salubi factions, engineered by Chiefs Obahor, Edewor, and Odje, abetted by an Itsekiri man.
(c) The glaring threat of the influence of Itsekiri nationalism in our national life which may lead to the loss of our national identify in the very near future, perhaps not farther than a decade after the Midwest Creation.
(d) The threat of Ibo Nationalism to disenfranchise us in the very near future by their avowed policy of settlement, growth and land acquisition in Urhobo land through high biding to which the average Urhobo landowner falls prey.
The Address was presented together with a beautiful souvenir -- a white leather-bound Holy Bible - to the President-General.
this reply, the President-General thanked the branch for sending three
members to Kaduna to ascertain whether the touring party had arrived,
waiting to usher them into the town and for honouring them in a dancing
procession to the comfortable accommodation arranged for them at the
Rest House. If there was anything like perfect arrangement, he would
a more specific way, the President-General touched on each of the four
enumerated in the Welcome Address. As regards (a), he was already aware
problem which was general to all branches in the North. He promised to
the matter up at the next General Council. With respect to (b), the
President-General denied emphatically that there were Ometa and Salubi
more, the President-General thanked
Uyo who spoke next traced the history of the Urhobo Progress Union
achievements from the time to time. Finally Chief Uyo associated
the President-General in thanking the
“Juri” dance was staged by Zaria Urhobo women under the leadership of
William Ojagberu, alias “IKPUTU”, of P & T,
breakfast, the President-General and his entourage were conducted out
a point 14 miles to
a point 10 miles distant from
arrangement was that the party be taken straight to Urhobo Hall, No.
In a motorcade of about twenty cars, preceded by three outriders, the President-General and his entourage were conducted to the outskirts of the City. Because of a current police ban on procession, the Police allowed only the outriders and three cars to escort the party into the town. Other cars had to stagger themselves so as to give impression that no procession was formed. We arrived at the Hall at 2 p.m. In the Hall and around it, the visitors witnessed a most colourful scene or Urhobo community.
fact that that day was a public holiday contributed in no small degree
unprecedented attendance. The President-General was exhilarated. A
life-size portrait of the President-General hung on the centre to the
Within the last three years, the Urhobo Welfare Community of Kano (which term includes the local branch of the U.P.U.) decided to build a Hall befitting Urhobo name on the plot was not yet built. The Hall, slightly larger than the National Secretariat, is a stone building. It was built entirely by community effort at a considerable cost.
At the informal gathering, the question as to whether the formal reception be held later in the day or on Saturday, the 25th July, was discussed. As the majority favoured later in the day, the reception was therefore fixed for 5 p.m.
The President-General with his wife and servants were lodged with Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Okena, 72, Church Road; Chief O. A. Uyo with Mr. and Mrs. B. M. Jokoh, 41, Abaide Street; Mr. Gordon Mukoro with Mr. F. M. Okotete, 6, Emir Road; and Mr. Aloysius Adjekpovu (one of the servants) with Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Ekuvero.
5.0’clock reception by the Urhobo Welfare Community was opened with
Mr. H. E. Okena. That was followed by introduction of officers and
and an opening speech by Mr. W. U. Uvoh, the Chairman of the Community.
behalf of the entire Urhobo people of
Mr. J. D. E. Omonigho, the Secretary of the Community, then read a Welcome Address. In the Address, the Community expressed gratitude to the President-General for remembering to visit them; for his various financial assistance to the Union; for assisting Senator M. G. Ejaife to visit Australia on an educational tour; for building the National Secretariat; and for approving a number of colleges in Urhobo land during his tenure of office as Commissioner for Education, Western Nigeria. The Address described the President-General as the only peg in a round hole ever discovered since the leadership of the late Chief Mukoro Mowoe.
Address sounded a note on the essentiality of unity and solidarity
people. Recently, says the Address, a horrifying news has reached
Finally, the Address recalls to mind a part of the President-General’s National Day Message of 1962 in which he said, inter alia. “It had always been my fervent wish to be able to retire in good health from the Civil Service so that I might devote the rest of my life to your service through the auspices of the Urhobo Progress Union.” Accordingly the Community expressed an ardent hope that the President-General would not find any provocation, however highly mounted, to make him abandon the cause of Urhobo people and to quit the stage at this time. In conclusion, the Community prayed to God to grant the President-General good health and long life to enable him carry on his solemn pledge. On behalf of the Community, an Hausa fan of coloured feathers, set in leather work, was presented to the President-General by Miss Eunice Okena.
In opening his response to the Address, the President-General first referred to the visit to Kano in December, 1946, of Chief Mukoro Mowoe, the first President-General of the Union, and the unforgettable role played by two Isoko women, namely, Mrs. Asaba Mafena and Mrs. Umutor Cameroon, by their contribution to the Urhobo Educational Scheme in spite of the general non-co-operative attitude of Isoko people towards the Scheme. He did not know whether the two women or any of them were or was in the Hall at the moment. In any case, said the President-General, he would like to pay tributes to both of them for the magnificent role they played on that memorable occasion.
Responding further to the Address, the President-General, on behalf of himself, his wife and the entire members of his entourage, expressed grateful thanks to the Urhobo Community for the unprecedented welcome accorded them. Everywhere they visited since the tour, there had always been something different and peculiar in the receptions accorded them. Kano distinguished itself not only by the impressive car procession which led the party from ten miles into the town, not only by the number of people that waited to honour them, but more so by the fact that a wonderful reception of that day was being held in a magnificent Hall of their own. In congratulating the people for the Hall, the President-General added that he would have felt very small, indeed greatly ashamed, if they of the headquarters had not built a similar edifice at home. Here the President-General recalled the fact that Urhobo people away from home had built their own halls. The first was a humble building at Siluko.
President-General respectfully acknowledged the glowing tributes paid
to him on
account of the humble achievements attained since his assumption of
declared that Officers of the
a more serious vein, the President-General directed his reply to the
disunity among the leaders of the
President-General assured his audience that as long as he was on the
would never permit party politics to disintegrate the
The President-General disclosed that if there was one who did not want any disunity among Urhobo leaders, he was the one. When the disagreement (between him and Chief J. A. Obahor in particular) was rearing its ugly head, he approached the Right Revered Agori Iwe, the Bishop of Benin, in April, 1963, to summon a meeting of Urhobo leaders and progressive elements so that the disagreement might be resolved. The Bishop, he said, was a living testimony as to who failed to respond to his peace summons. Throughout his tour, continued the President-General, he never touched upon this explosive matter, unless of course, he was urged, as in this case, to do so.
In conclusion, the President-General again thanked the Community for the wonderful reception.
Uyo, who spoke next, dwelt on the history of the founding of the Union
how many years ago he himself founded the branches at
Under-Secretary, Mr. Gordon Mukoro, spoke last. He said that, from what
heard before and since coming to
view of the disturbing allegations with respect to misunderstanding,
disagreement and division among the people in
After the guests and the audience had been lavishly entertained with drinks, the scene shifted from the Hall to the open yard to enjoy the two groups of women dancers. The one was “ISIO” group and the other “ODJOBORO” (interspersed with the Uvwie songs) group. The merriment continued till 10 p.m. when the function was brought to a close.
Wednesday, 22nd July, 1964: MALLAM MADURI
consultations, the President-General decided to proceed to Nguru by
railway. A beautiful road of some 115 miles goes from
D. O. Umuze, of Umuze family at Oha in Okpe, resides at Mallam Maduri.
Umuze is a retired employee or the C.F.A.O., now doing private business
own. He and his wife traveled down purposely to meet the
were among the people who welcomed the party to
President-General and party left
In the dilemma, a Shell Company bitumen tanker came along. The driver kindly responded to waving by pulling alongside his heavy vehicle. The argument as to whether the engine-oil was at the correct level or not helped no one. The President-General’s driver maintained strongly that he checked and round the oil correct in the morning before the journey was begun…well!
shell driver had a wire rope. He would not take less than £2 to tow the
The next idea worked. Push the car into a nearby Hausa village and abandon it there under the care o f a “megad” (watchman). To explore the possibility of this idea, the President-General, accompanied by Chief Uyo and Mr. Gordon Mukoro, went to the village and enquired for the village headman. He was not in but a man who called himself his son was found. The difficulty was how to converse with him. He could not speak English nor could we Hausa. Chief Uyo tried his little Hausa vernacular and it worked as he was able to put desire across. The man asked us to push the car down to the village and agreed to be the “megad”.
After watching the villagers’ long and tedious process of drawing water from a well (very deep) in the village with a long rope and a leather bag, they went with us ostensibly to help us push the car; but they would not touch it unless and until they were given some money. Such was their insistence on “dash” that we told them to keep away. Thank God, the car was a small one, and there was enough man-power of our own to push it. One could never have believed that the Hausa youths in that remote village had become so sophisticated and money-minded! Their attitude was a shocking surprise and a sad commentary on Hausa youth’s kindness. Without the youths, car was soon at the village. A “dash” of five shillings to the “megad” earned a broad smile from his face. He indicated to us by signs that the car would be perfectly safe under his watch. There the car was left.
then remained for us to adjust ourselves into the
So the journey was continued. Gumel, the only town of any consequence on the way, was soon passed. A few miles before Mallam Maduri, we saw Chief D. O. Umuzo driving down to look that we were not involved in any transport difficulty. He had to make the journey. How nice this!
We arrived Mallam Maduri at 4.50p.m. Here Chief Umuze and his family entertained the President-General and his entourage in a most lavish way. A bottle of white Horse Whisky, Guinness, etc. and the sum of £3. 3/-. Whatever any one might have to say today against the President-General, said Chief Umuze, he was convinced that Chief Salubi was a patriot, a born leader of Urhobo people.
based his conviction on an anecdote which went as follows. At Sokoto in
he wanted to buy an air gun from
President-General confirmed that Mr. Tunji Adefarasin was a son of Mr.
Adefarasin, a Charge-Nurse, at the
Umuse entertained the President-General and his entourage to a most
lunch. But the problem of the abandoned car had to be solved. It was
that the kit-car with the party’s two drivers and one of the boys,
return to the village to tow car down to
At about 5.30 p.m., a telephone call came from the Urhobo people at Nguru enquiring about the President-General. Chief Umuze informed them that the party was already at his place waiting for the train to arrive. They asked that the President-General should rail his car along with him to Nguru. But as may well be appreciated, there was no car by now to be railed.
is the terminus of the
The train arrived Mallam Maduri at 8 p.m. and in half an hour, it began the journey to Nguru, arriving there at 11 p.m. Met at the station, was a group of dancing Urhobo men and women. The song specially composed for the occasion meant something like this. “We are very pleased that you came to see us, dear President, in this far land”.
The dancers in a procession led the President-General and his entourage to the National Independence Hotel where they were lodged. Dancing and general merriment continued on the roof garden of the Hotel till 1.30a.m. Water supply in the Hotel was cut off but the Urhobo women made sure that the party was in no way inconvenienced by water
the Officers and members left the party for the night, it was agreed
Gashua be visited in the morning (of the 23rd) and that a formal
Ngugu be held in the evening. The Urhobo Community here is a very small
active one. At the time of the visit, it was comprised of 18 men and 17
only. The distinction of Nguru branch is its claim of 100% membership
people resident there. Every Urhobo was a member of the
Thursday, 23rd July, 1964: Nguru – Gashua
9. 25a.m., the President –General and his party, accompanied by local
headed by Mr. J.B. Esienakife, the President of Nguru branch, set off
Gashua in a Land Rover placed at the disposal of the branch by the
of the National Independence Hotel. The Proprietor was an Hausa
He had heard of the President-General in his political party circles.
which is 42 miles north-eastwards, is connected to Nguru
Border, only a few miles form the former French territories in that
Africa south of the Sahara. The nature of the country gave the
one was already in the
party arrived at Gashua at 11.45 a.m. and made for the house of the
President, Mr. Alfred O. Obukefe. It was raining. and some one was sent
inform the President of the party’s arrival. As the party was wondering
did not return in time, the wife of the President came out. Her answer
effect that her husband was at home cleared the doubt as to whether he
traveled. Later, a message came back stating that the President refused
the President-General and his party. What could have caused this! Mr.
was reported to have said that the party should go to one Mr. R. I.
Before the journey, it was known that there was a quarrel between the
Gashua which had affected the
The party then went to Mr. Kalegha’s house. Mr. Kalegha received the President-General and his entourage very warmly entertaining hem with drinks. He sent for one Mr. Josiah Onoyivbeta who at once organised a meeting at his house. Shortly afterwards, the Urhobo women in Gashua, under the leadership of Madam Tobrise Esomitoje, quickly organised a dance in honour of the visit.
Mr. Onoyivbeta presented some beer while the women presented a bottle of White Horse Whisky, soft drinks and a large Hausa feather fan as a souvenir to the President-General.
Before the business of the meeting was started, the President-General directed that the President, Mr. Obukofe, be sent for. The message had no effect. After some waiting, the Under-Secretary, Mr. Gordon Mukoro, volunteered to go. He met Mr. Obukofe and his secretary, Mr. Peter Ekorhi. Mr. Mukoro knew them – one or both of them being his schoolmate(s). At last, both of them turned up together.
President-General then addressed the meeting outlining the ideals of
Mr. Obukofe and Ekorhi appeared to be insolent in their address to the meetings. At that stage, the President-General, who had all along adopted a soft attitude, dressed down these two men in a very sharp language. He told them to be ashamed of their disrespectful behaviour towards him. If for no other reason, declared the President-General, he was fully entitled to some respect from them. The two men quickly apologized saying they meant no disrespect to the President-General.
Ekorhi then took the floor and spoke on the weakness of the Gashua
in his opinion, was not due to personal grievance. The branch became
weak as a
result of lack of sufficient interest on the part of members.
the members slacked for a long time. He was the Secretary of the
Messrs. Onoyivbeta and Kalegha disagreed and maintaining it was personal grievances between members that caused the union’s downfall. Madam Otobrise Esomitoje, the President of the women, appealed to all concerned to forget the past, rally round the President-General so that he could effect amicable settlement for them. Mr. J. B. Esienakife, President, Nguru branch, gave a detailed account of the trouble among the members at Gashua. Chief Uyo and Mr. Gordon Mukoro also spoke appealing to the members for a change of heart.
Finally, the President-General wound up the discussion. After making the leaders to agree to a revival of the branch, an informal resolution to that effect was unanimously taken. The local President, Mr. Obukofe, was to convene a general meeting where new officers would be elected. The meeting was closed at that stage. The women accompanied the President-General dancing to Mr. Kalegha’s place.
At 3.50 p.m., the President-General and his party left Gashua for Nguru arriving there at 5.30p.m.
8 p.m., the branch held a function at the President’s house in honour
visit. After prayers and introduction of the officers, Mr. Esienakife
speech. A dance by the women preceded the reading of a Welcome Address.
main theme of the Address centred round the great joy of the people at
the President-General in their midst in the far North. That was their
for the special song composed for the occasion. After paying glowing
to the work of the President-General since his assumption of office and
especially during his tenure as Commissioner for Education in Western
the Address proceeded to demand consideration for admission of Urhobo
born in the North to
The Address was presented with drinks,
the sum of £3. 3/-. This was followed by three other speakers – two men
woman. Thereafter, the President-General responded. He thanked the
for the honour accorded him and his entourage by the warm reception
them form the Railway Station up to the time of the function of that
the course of his tour, he had been to many places but never had he
place where all Urhobo immigrants in the place were members of the
regards the question of admission of Urhobo children born in Northern
The function was brought to a close at about 12 midnight.
President-General and his entourage left the Hotel at 7.30a.m. and at 8
the train steamed off to Mallam Maduri arriving at 10.45.am. As Chief
car taking the President-General to
11.55 a.m., the President-General, Mrs. Salubi and Chief Uyo left
in Chief Umuze’s private car for
the evening Mr. and Mrs. B. M. Jokoh threw a fabulous party in honour
President-General and his entourage at their fashionable house, 41,
party was exclusively Urhobo in attendance. Practically all Urhobo who
a speech at the function, Mr. Jokoh, disclosed that he decided to
honour the President-General
for two main reasons. His first reason was that Chief Salubi showed
him when he visited
Jokoh added that as Chief Salubi might have forgotten the 1949
would like, with his permission, to recall the details of it. At that
said, he was a young man of no consequence who came from Gusau to visit
a short conversation, Mr. Jokoh continued, Chief Salubi asked his
take him out with his car for sight-seeing or to wherever he wanted to
Later, he took him to his house at Ebute Metta and told him not to stay
hotel again whenever he visited
other speakers – Mr. W.U. Uvoh and Mr. J.G. Edwin Ogun, -- followed.
in one way or the other related to Mr. & Mrs. Jokoh. They
themselves fully with tributes already paid to the President-General by
Jokoh. Each in turn, with his wife standing by him as Mr. Jokoh did,
acknowledging with grateful thanks the kindness of
behalf of himself, his wife and his entourage, the President-General
Mr. and Mrs. Jokoh for their kind generosity and lavish entertainment.
many things he was said to have done to many others years ago, he had
completely the act of kindness attributed to him by Mr. Jokoh. In fact,
could not remember seeing Mr. Jokoh anywhere before he met him in
Here, the President-General re-stated his post Public-Civil-Service career policy of unflinching service to his own people until the end of his life. In this, said the President-General, nothing could detract him from the tract of his conviction, belief , and philosophy.
In conclusion, the President-General thanked Mr. and Mrs. Ogun, Mr. and Mrs. Uvoh for their gifts and the rest of the people for coming to honour him.
The happy gathering came to an end at 11.30 p.m.
The first engagement today was to see the Engineer, Mandilas and Karaberis, about the damaged car. The President-General confirmed that the repairs be proceeded with. As the work could not, however, be completed in less than two days, probably more, the President-General decided to leave the car behind. The driver and a servant were to wait for it.
President of the
It will be remembered that on the 21st July, a meeting between the President-General and representatives of the groups in the Community was fixed for today. At 7.50p.m., in the Urhobo Hall, the meeting was declared open with a prayer. The President-General, supported by Chief Uyo, Mr. Kani and Mr. W. U. Uvoh, presided.
Group interests represented were as follows:
Urhobo Welfare Community – represented on clan basis
U.P.U. Woman Wing – 2 representatives
Urhobo Youth Movement – 2 representatives
It was agreed that the drinks presented be not served till the end of the meeting. Mr. Omonigho, the Secretary of the Urhobo Welfare Community, then produced the following agenda.
(a) Re-organisation of the U.P.U. on clan representatives
(b) Indiscriminate selling of our lands at home [in Urhoboland].
(c) Reconciliation of the President-General with opposing factions at home.
(d) The Under-Secretary’s remarks at the reception for the President-General
In an opening speech, the President-General expressed surprise at the curtness of the agenda before the meeting, the absence of any item concerning the alleged disunity leading to the weakness for the Union, and, the last but not the least, the inclusion of item (d). In regard to that item, the President-General at once registered an objection that he was not prepared to subject his Under-Secretary, who, after all, was their guest, to trail by his hosts. After some explanation as to intention for including the item, the meeting was continued.
Re-organisation of the U.P.U. on Clan representation
idea was promulgated by the Urhobo Welfare Community. It was their
the branch be re-organised on clan representation basis instated of a
present situation where the branch was composed of individual
opinion was strongly expressed that the
his reply, the President-General said that the suggestion was
the annals of the
was however aware that at
Indiscriminate selling of our lands at home [in Urhoboland]
The Urhobo Welfare Community expressed a desire that land in urban areas like Oghara, Sapele, Ughelli in Urhobo Division and such other areas in Warri Division, under ownership of Urhobo families, should not be let out or sold at random. The President-General in his reply traced the history of the impact of European civilization on the above-mentioned towns resulting in the settlement of non-natives. He hinted that in Sapele, the land in the urban area had nearly been exhausted. As for Ughelli, he could not say whether non-Urhobos owned many plots. With regard to Warri, he portrayed a sorrowful picture of the land owned by the Urhobo of Agbarha and Okere, being taken away from them by the Itsekiris under the cover of the Communal Land Trust and Town Planning Authority.
On the other hand, Agbarha people were in the habit of selling plots of land to non-Urhobo people. There was always litigation upon litigation over land matters among them. There was nothing any could do in such circumstances.
Reconciliation of the President-General with t opposing Factions at Home
The desire of the Welfare Community tended to indicate that the President-General should personally take the initiative to settle the rift between him and Chief Obahor’s group. The President-General gave detailed account of the rift and how he had approached the Right Rev. Agori Iwe, Anglican Bishop of Benin Diocese, to settle the rift. The President-General ended by saying that a third party should arbitrate in the matter.
Under-Secretary gave account of the moves at settlement made by Dr.
at the instance of the Urhobo Renascent Convention, Warri. And the
Ivie summoned by the Orodje of Okpe. The conciliation meetings were
Chief Obahor and his group. He revealed that the
The Under-Secretary’s remarks at the reception of Chief Salubi
this matter was discussed, the President-General gave a warning that it
be unbecoming of the Urhobo Community in
Under-Secretary in explanation said that he was in possession of
information at Warri that there was a rift among Urhobo in
Assistant Secretary of the U.P.U.,
(i) Chief J. A. Duvie wanted the President-General to reveal the source of information which necessitated his having to write to him (Duvie) sometime ago that he was working against him (Chief Salubi). This matter was not pursued; it was so personal that the meeting was not considered a suitable forum.
The President-General thanked Mr. Uvoh for his wise ruling that the matter be not taken. As for himself, he would not have entered into any discussion about it since the point on which he wrote Chief Duvie was political in character.
(ii) Mr. H. E. Okena at this stage raised again the question of the existence of a rift among Urhobo of Kano. He confirmed as a fact that a rift existed and appealed to the President-General to endeavour to settle it. Mr. Okena’s statement sparked off a lengthy debate, and accusations and counter accusations were made. Mr. Adeda of the Urhobo Youth Movement vowed that his Movement would for ever support the U.P.U.
The Secretary-General appealed to members to disband the splinter organisations opposed to the U.P.U., sink their differences and unite under the banner of the U.P.U. He suggested immediate election of officers after the people would have come together.
this juncture, the President-General made his last and farewell speech
a most vigorous and touching appeal was directed to each of the Local
to sink their differences and ensure a revival of the past glory of the
In that connection, he referred to the brilliant record of performance
After thanking the Urhobo Welfare Community, the Urhobo Progress Union and the Urhobo Youth Movement once more for their wonderful hospitality, the meeting was brought to a close at 1. 30 a.m.
commencing the President-General’s personal visit to the homes of
members of the Urhobo Community, Mr. Omonigho, the Secretary of the
called on the President-General and handed to him the sum of £10 (ten
being Kano’s contribution towards his transport expenses. In this
it must be recorded that since returning home from the tour, a further
of £6 (six pounds) had been added to this item. The amount, according
Okena, was the balance of money given to him by the Community for
guests. Mr. Okena thought it would be better to donate the balance
heavy expenses of the tour than to return it to the Community. Thus
by Mr. H. E. Okena, the President-General spent the grater part of the
visiting individually the leading members of the Urhobo Community. Not
a great many were met. The President-General was warmly received. The
visit to their homes was regarded as a special honour to them and their
families. Here again each of the leaders visited displayed what might
now be regarded
President-General repeated his appeal. This time he was able to ram it
personal basis. From the immediate reactions of those seen by the
President-General, the personal visit was a good rounding-up of the
round off our last day in
It was a most successful party in which men, women, and all enjoyed themselves. Speeches by Mr. Jokoh, the President-General, Chief Uyo and Mr. Gordon Mukoro, the Under-Secretary, were tape recorded.
grand finale of
Monday, 27th July, 1964
agreement that we should leave
rest of the touring party with their loads had “to make-do” with the
“I cannot forget to mention the name of
wife whose activities and co-operation with you are praise-worthy. I
greatly surprised when your wife vacated the front seat of your kit-car
Chief Arebe Uyo at
5.30 a.m., Mr. Okena and Mr. Jokoh led the party to the outskirts
town where we said goodbye to one another. But it was a goodbye for a
while only. Still within
to describe how all concerned felt in a situation such as then faced
Okena at once directed that the vehicle be taken to the mechanic, an
young man, working under the Niger Motors Ltd.,
no word was coming from the mechanic, the President-General was driven
house, No. 41,
At the workshops, every possible immediate attention was given with no success. The party reverted to Mr. Okena’s house. Breakfast and lunch came and went, still the vehicle did not respond to treatment. At 4 p.m. the President-General saw the Service Manager. Mr. Dawson, for the second time. After analyzing the fault, Mr. Dawson advised that we should proceed with the journey. “The car, he said, “will take you home provided you do not over-fill it with engine oil and your speed does not exceed 55 miles per hour”. In fact, he gave a note for the President-General to call to any Niger Motors Worship on the way, should the vehicle give any more trouble.
Mr. Dawson was very sympathetic. The time spent on the car would have made the bill heavy but since, as he said, they were unable the total expenditure on the kit-car came to £4 : 15: 5d. That brought the total expenditure on the kit-car to £52 : 15 : 9d.
Dawson’s advice and attitude encouraged the President-General and party
proceed on the Journey. Accordingly, the homeward journey was started
at 6. 16
p.m. surprisingly enough the car gave no trouble at all. At
Tuesday, 28th July, 1964: KONTAGORA
made Kontagora at 7 a.m. and settled in No. 1 Chalet only for a couple
hours. Here we bathed and took our breakfast. At 9. 15 a.m., we
the move again arriving
After unloading, Mr. Gordon Mukoro was taken to Warri and the driver had peace at last.
Friday, 31st July, 1964
Volkswagen car arrived with a total cost of repairs and incidentals at
£120:1:9d. It will be remembered that £3 : 8 : 3d was also spent on
this car on
the 17th and that £52:15:9 was already spent on the
Thus ended this historic tour of the North.
T. E. A. Salubi
29th September, 1964.