Urhobo Historical Society

 

A Catalogue of Welcome Addresses Presented to
Chief the Honorable T. E. A. Salubi, President-General,
during His Tour of Branches, of Urhobo Progress Union, 1964

 


Kwale Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

(1)

 

A Welcome Address Presented to the President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union
by Members of the Urhobo Progress Union, Kwale Branch, on the Occasion of His Visit to Kwale on the 31stDay of May, 1964

 

We the undersigned for ourselves and on behalf of he Urhobo Progress Union and the entire members of the Urhobo Community in Aboh Division heartily WELCOME you to Kwale on this your maiden visit as the President-General since our official recognition as a full fledged branch.

 

It is with our greatest pleasure that we accord you and your entourage this reception in deep appreciation of the role you played in building up and projecting Urhobo as an enviable tribe in Nigeria, Africa and the World at large.  

 

Your visit is an evidence of your avowed determination to acquaint yourself and other officers of the Union with the affairs, problems, and needs of all Urhobo people by personal contact.

 

We quite realize that it is a difficult problem to bear the responsibility of directing the affairs of a people such as ours, but we pray that God should guide you along the path of truth, justice, love and fair-play to enable you acquit yourself honourably as in the past, in the great tasks ahead. We wish that God leads you safely back to Ovu after you stay with us, which we sincerely hope you will enjoy and cherish all the time.

 

We wish you also a successful tenure of office and many more years of devoted service to our beloved Urhobo land.

 

We are,

 

Chief D. U. A. EFEREKAYA.                                     J. E. A. AKPOKIGHE

        Chairman, Kwale                                                 Hon. Secretary

 

MR. W. E. AKPOKEYAN                                 MR. P. O. A. OROGUN

          Vice Chairman                                                  Executive Member

 

MR. SAMUEL UMAH

Executive Member

 


Ogwashi-Uku Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

(2)

 

An Address of Welcome Presented by the Urhobo Progress Union, Ogwashi-Uku Branch, to
Chief T. E. A. Salubi, O.B.E., the President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union
on the Occasion of His First Official Visit to the Branch  Union, 1st  June, 1964

 

It is with the greatest pleasure that we have to welcome and receive you here today on behalf of the Urhobo Progress Union and the entire Urhobo people in Ogwashi-Uku District  on the occasion of your first official tour to our Branch Union since you ascended the high office of President-General of our great and dear Union.

 

It may be a crime to say that we do not know the type of man and the position you are in Urhobo land. Every average Urhobo man has an idea of some good qualities which you possessed that make you stand high in the eyes of the world today. May we enumerate a few of these qualities and achievements since you assumed the high office of the President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union: to begin with, the Urhobo College has become a grant aided College through your effort. The Form Six Class was added or it has become a post Secondary College which an average man may not dream of in ten years time. Many new colleges were opened in the most interior heart of Urhobo land which were forgotten by the Western Regional Government of Nigeria.

 

Many pamphlets were printed giving the past and present history of Urhobo and her great Union. The Urhobo Progress Union’s Secretariat was built. Regular and up-to-date conferences were held hence the legislature is in progress. The unity and order of the Union became firm and lively. The regulations of the Union became systematic and unquestionable.

 

We cannot forget how you assisted the great Union with a part of your salary since you assumed the high office of President-General. Financial aid was not the end but you assisted morally, physically and with much endurance which enabled you conquer your enemies and approached them calmly. A word is enough for the wise.

 

We are her today to welcome you merely because our President-General has come. Most of us here have heard of your good name and had not known you. We are here to know the great hero of Urhobo Nation. We are to know the man born with spirit of love and zeal for his country. We are to know the retired man but tireless man working for ht promotion, culture, education, and unity of his country. In short you have created much in the life history of Urhobo.

 

May we bring to your notice that your first official tour of the branches is to consolidate the branches but sorry to say that the branches at home (Urhobo land) are every weak indeed. Minus the Union’s branches outside the Urhobo land, there is no Urhobo Progress Union. There are no branches of the Union in many parts of Urhobo land and even if they are, the branches of the Union in many parts of Urhobo land and even if they are, the branches are poor, weak and dwindling. Let us take for instance, the Ibo State Union, every Ibo man is a member wherever they live irrespective of party or so. If we believe that the Urhobo Progress Union, is above politics, why do Urhobo people not unite themselves forgetting their political ideology and pride? We have not objection to any of our leaders of members taking active part in politics provided he maintains the structure of the Union and brings home the progress of the entire Urhobo people. Can a solution be made to bring together all Urhobos as members of the Urhobo Progress Union at home and abroad? Can an appeal be made to our Clan heads and rulers, chiefs and elders in Urhobo land to establish branches of the Urhobo Progress Union in towns, villages and hamlets?

 

We feel the mother Union has no way of helping the branches abroad whereas the branches sprang up merely to take shelter under the mother Union against maltreatments and oppression of tribes that we might come across in our different dwellings.

 

A tree cannot make a forest; therefore our tribute goes to the other National Officers and leaders of the Union. We thank them for the lot they have done for the up-keeping of the Union. We beg them too to co-operate for the future. We thank the Under-Secretary, Mr. Gordon Mukoro for his unceasing and tireless effort for the progress of all Urhobo sons and daughters both at home and abroad. His spirit of work cannot be compared. May God bless him.

 

On behalf of all Urhobo people here, we thank the President-General, the Under-Secretary and other officers.

 

! ! ! THANK YOU ! ! !

 

 

OYIBO EDAFEYEYA                                                          P. J. OMOVIE  

        PRESIDENT                                                                    SECRETARY


 


Asaba Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

(3)

A Welcome Address Presented to the President-General of Urhobo Progress Union, Hon. Chief T. E. A. Salubi, O. B. E. and His Entourage
on The Occasion of Their Visit to Asaba on Monday, 1st June, 1964

 

 

We, the undersigned for ourselves and on behalf of the entire members of Urhobo Progress Union, Asaba, hereby express our great pleasure in you and the national revival team in our midst today. Without hesitation, we must thank you for your noble effort in trying to bring all Urhobos together in the fight for greatness and freedom which thus has brought peace to the whole nation. We cannot also forget your ideology of “man is a man to man” and your bringing our nation upper-most in this our great country. We wish and pray for your victory and God’s guidance in all y our undertakings. May we also bring before you knowledge the bitter mal-treatment that we have been encountering from the natives in whose land we live – such as arbitrary assessment, inciting Eastern Ibos to tap palm-wine in the bush where we are cutting and collecting our palm kernels, mostly now that there is not trade – all our oil and kernels are lying down unsold. The natives also take upon themselves to increase rents for their land often and deprive our rights on all occasion.

 

We cannot so easily pick up annoyance and think of packing off from their land for they themselves live in another people’s land, where they worked and pensioned and receive the good heritage therefrom.

 

We pray you, sir, to use your effort to fight for our peaceful dwelling without fear of tribalism. We also pray you to remember the Asaba Branch of our great Union whenever award of scholarship is in progress.

 

May we thank you once more for the battle of our national freedom and pray for the peace, power and prosperity from the Almighty God to be with you. We pray God also to lead you and your entourage back to your place of abode.

We are, sir,

 

      E. M. IDE                                                      S. E. OGEDEGBE

     PRESIDENT                                                   SECRETARY

           

 


Ogan Town Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

(4)

 

An Address of Welcome Presented by the Ogan Branch to Chief T. E. A. Salubi, O. B. E., President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union
on the Occasion of His Official Visit to Ogan Town, Via Agbor, on the 2nd  June, 1964

 

The President-General,

 

It is an exceptional honour to receive and welcome you here today on behalf of the Urhobo Progress Union and entire Urhobo people in the community, on the occasion of your first official visit to Ogan Branch of our great Union.

 

We have heard and seen your patriotic spirit of your give and taken, your national interest for the Division, the Midwest Region, the Federal Republic of Nigerian and your practical example of self-sacrifice. Our constant aim is to offer a balance diet of inspiration, information and personal guidance. Above all, we offer our Sincere, Friendly assurance that we are deeply interested in you that since you assumed the high office of the President-General of our world-wide Union, you have contributed too much to the Division, physically, morally and financially mostly on lines of Educational Progress.

 

It is a fact that our national unity is on trial. We therefore humbly and strongly appeal to you to use your good offices as “a God own chosen leader” to restore the dreadful threat to our National Solidarity. We implore you to lead us as a nation, with a view to seeking our differences but not too supreme powers. Our main and only concern is to see that an urgent reconciliation of the two warring factions are cemented together.

 

We will listen with much attention to your speech for we need sound advice. The Ogan Branch was founded on the 14th April, 1963 (by Mr. Taivieta Esienna of Aladja) with a total enrolment of 20 members and was recognized the same year. It is regretted to learn that many of her members have often refused to pay their monthly contributions, claiming that the National and Zonal Headquarters maintenance fund paid by branches is a waste to the branch and therefore it is unnecessary and unprofitable as agitated by these sorts of members. We wish to call on the President-General to take not that the day-to-day running of the branch affairs is a task of a few financial members.

 

We shall do our level best to see that you deserve our continued support in the years that lie ahead. We wish you, your wife and your entourage God’s Blessings and safe return to your family.

 

 

W. O. IGURIASE                                                         T. O. ESIENNA

    PRESIDENT                                                                SECRETARY

 

 


 

Benin Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

(5)

 

An Address of Welcome Presented by the Members of Urhobo Progress Union, Benin Branch, to
Chief the Hon. T. E. A. Salubi, O. B. E., President-General, Urhobo Progress Union,
on the Occasion of His Official Visit to Benin City on 2nd June, 1964

 

The President-General,

 

The Society of people you see around you this afternoon represents a cross-section of the Urhobo Community in Benin. It is with great pleasure to welcome you and your team to this City, which, by the grace of God, is the capital of Midwestern Nigeria, on this occasion of your first meet-the-people tour to Midwestern and Western Regions and the Federal Territory of Lagos. This momentous exercise, coming at this stage of our development, has in no small measure fulfilled the hopes of many of your admirers and adherents to the U.P.U. at home and abroad. Although the outcome will be beneficial not only to us in the South, but also to our kiths and kins in different parts of the World. Suffice it to say that your current tour is very timely and most significant, because it is bound to give our people an opportunity of hearing from you the plans for the future and the best ways of achieving them.

 

Never in the history of our great Union after the time of one of your illustrious predecessors, late Chief Mukoro Mowoe, has a nation-wide tour of this magnitude been promulgated and undertaken by officers of the U.P.U. the fruits of such tours are quite obvious. The founding of our National College, Effurun, the pioneer Scholarship Scheme, the tremendous success in the historic Sapele Land Case, to mention a few, were a direct result of the tours organised by the great and never-to-be forgotten Urhobo son and leader, late Chief Mukoro Mowoe-Alias “OYINVWIN”, whose death in 1948 left a vacuum for a number of years. Your election, therefore, as President-General during the General Counsel of 1961 restored the confidence of our people in the U.P.U.

 

Your experience, integrity, liberality and capability to lead have never been in doubt. Today, we recall with pride and thanks, some of your most valuable contributions to our great nation; the establishment of the National Day, the building of the National Secretariat, the free grant to the tune of two thousand pounds by the Emergency Regime of Western Nigeria to the Urhobo College, your personal contribution of a tenth of your basic emoluments to the U.P.U. during your tenure of office as Commissioner for Education in the Emergency Administration, in Western Region, your spirited National Day Messages often characterised with brilliant historical sequence and appeals for a greater degree of co-operation among our people, are glorious and memorable.

 

We are, however, compelled to mention our great anxiety concerning some of the recent developments at home, developments which are considered to be in no way conducive to the healthy and sustained growth of the Urhobo people and the attainment of our just aspirations. By its constitution, the U.P.U. is purely a cultural organisation, embracing Urhobo elements, of different walks of life irrespective of religious, political, social and clannish considerations. Strict adherence to this policy will, in our view, be an essential ingredient for mutual understanding, solidarity and an unalloyed loyalty to a cause. It is our charge, therefore, that the U.P.U. as a body should be insulated from partisan politics completely.

 

As the tour progresses, we expect you to endeavour to eliminate the internal forces which tend to militate against Urhobo unity and solidarity. Revive lukewarm branches and ensure opening of branches in places they are not yet in existence.

 

Mr. President-General, “Ughegbe ra ato”, “ Ono Rue Emu Na”, God’s guidance and protection and many more years of useful service to our great people. Once more, we say welcome. Thank you, we are 

   

For and on Behalf of the Urhobo Progress Union, Benin Branch.

 

 

CHIEF UDI JEJE                                               A. EKURE 

PRESIDENT                                                        SECRETARY   

 

 


(6)

 

Siluko  Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

3rd June, 1964

 

Urhobo Progress Union

Siluko District Iyekovia

 

A Welcome Address to the Hon. T. E. A. Salubi,
Member, House of Assembly, Mid-West Region, President-General, Urhobo Progress Union

 

 

We the entire inhabitants of Urhobo in Iyekovia do take this opportunity to welcome you and your entourage for your selfless, relentless and nation hood tour of our Historic District, Siluko Iyekovia.

 

2.       We also take this momentous day to congratulate you for your elevation, former Commissioner of Education, in the Regime, of Western Nigeria Administration, and member, House of Assembly, Mid-western Region, and we are to thank you with your team, deputy President, Secretaries, leaders and members of the Urhobo Progress Union at home and abroad. 

 

3.       EVER SINCE the foundation of the Urhobo Progress Union, today mark a symbol of price, Urhobo National price, to see and meet with “every President-General” of their Union in Iyekovia-Siluko. It is an avocation of U.P.U. and a promise of a faithful leadership to his people in the Midwest.

 

4.       Honourable Chief T. E. A. Salubi, the able and forceful leader, the man with lengthy letters and idioms, the presentable leader advocate plus honesty, we praise you, for your ability in visiting us, to show the environment of our back-stair.

 

5.       We have resolved to and thereby humbly beg to put before your honour and to pray for your positive help to achieve them where possible.

 

(a)     That Branches should be considered in the award of Scholarship.

(b)     That or branches to own his legal adviser, for in the case of Emergency.

(c)      That the virtue of Restitution of conjugal rights and divorce of Urhobo women should be constituted.

(d)     That system should be made to arrest disbelievers of the U.P.U. Decision, in accordance to settlement of dispute in each branch.

(e)      Siluko Branch inclusion in the Almanac for 1965.

(f)      Applying to create a “Branch chapter” in Iyekovia to maintain Administration of the remaining wards, to be recognised.

(g)     Urhobo College – EXTENSION of Entrance Examination Centres individual Branches of the U.P.U.

(h)     Urhobo secondary schools wanted in other parts of the Region especially in the headquarters.

 

We beg to welcome you once more to our town and pass our faithful vote of confidence on you.

                                     

We are,

                                     

Yours faithfully in national service,

 

On behalf of the entire Urhobos in Iyekovia District, Benin City.

 

SAMUEL OMONI                 ERHIRE                       G. AGADAGBA

SECRETARY                         PRESIDENT                 VICE RESIDENT

 

 


Iyasan Branch, Western Nigeria

(7)

A Welcome Address Presented to the President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union, Chief the Honourable T. E. A. Salubi, O. B. E.,
on the Occasion of His First to Iyasan Branch on 3rd June, 1964

 

 

In the first we are warmly delighted to receive the President-General of the Urhobo Progressive Union whom we dreamt not to receive in this area before.

 

Secondly, we are happy that we have such a man like you who stands to raise the name of Urhoboeverywhere.  

 

Thirdly, we are sure the President-General will ever succeed in his undertakings because you were not the first President-General ever existed but you are the first President-General who can arrange to tour the Union Branches. Therefore to this extent, we hope that riches and civilization in Ibo and Yoruba land which were secured to them by their prominent personalities shall soon reach us through your effort.

 

Now you stand as the father of every Urhoboman, wish you to be alert and listen to our cries as you have been listening to both people at home and abroad if such happen. As you are there for us, may the Almighty God spare your life in peace and prosperity.  

 

J. A. OPHIOHOREN                                         MR. P. O. OGWA

        PRESIDENT                                                             SECRETARY

 


Iyara Branch, Western Nigeria


(8)

 

Urhobo Progress Union,

Iyara Branch,

c/o St. Saviour’s Ang. School,

Ekama Camp, Iyara Ode- Irele,

Via Okitipupa.

3/6/64

 

The President-General,

Urhobo Progress Union

 

A Welcome Address to the President-General,

Urhobo Progress Union

   

Sir,

 

We are the young growers of Urhobo Progress Union, Iyara Branch, had prepared this welcome address to say welcome to you and to people who had made the long journey with you.

 

May the Almighty God protect you from the hands of all evil. Sir, to us the young developing branch, we want you to use your good offices to have us in your mind and to remember us always as one of your branches.

 

We were all of a sudden informed by the Urhobo Progress Union, Iyasan branch, that the President-General is coming on the 3rd June, 1964. This was learnt on the 23rd May, 1964. Sir, if this Welcome Address is taken, we shall be grateful.

 

We are,

 

The U.P.U. Iyara branch

 

 

J. A. UNOTADAVWERHA                     CHEF J. O. EKAMA

SECRETARY                                            ACTING CHAIRMAN

 

 


Owan Branch, Mid-Western Nigeria

(9)

 

Urhobo Progress Union, Owan Branch,

Midwestern Nigeria
4th June, 1964

 

 

THE PRESIDENT-GENERAL,

URHOBO PROGRESS UNION.

 

Welcome Address

 

I the Chairman of the Urhobo Progress Union, Owan Branch, Midwestern Region of Nigeria, with my members, highly welcome the Honourable President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union, for his visit to this village to rectify a good standing of the Owan Branch of the above Union. At the beginning of the inauguration of the above Union during time of the Honourable late Mukoro Mowoe, the President-General then, we the said branch went to Warri to make light of the above Union to come to us through his power then, but up to date there has never been such a conglomeration of this type as today’s.

 

As such we have to thank the present President-General for his special visit to this Owan branch of the Urhobo Progress Union.

 

The joy we have in mind for the President-General’s visit to us here this day is indescribable. May the Almighty God hear his Good Prayers and long may he reign over us to strengthen the Union to a good standard. Amen.  

 

I and the members of Owan branch union of the Urhobo Progress Union repeat, you are welcome, you are welcome.

 

D. G. AWAIRE                                                    OKORO ERON

CHAIRMAN                                                        VICE CHAIRMAN

 

THOMAS EMESI

SECRETARY

 


Sobe Branch, Western Nigeria

 

(10)

 

Welcome Address


Urhobo Progress Union
Sobe, Urhobo Community
June 4th, 1964

 

 

 

The President-General,

U.P.U. – On tour to Sobe.

 

Sir,

 

We on behalf of the Sobe branch of the Urhobo Progress Union and members of the Urhobo Community welcome you and members of your entourage to this historic town of Sobe which, fortunately, situated on the border of our Region, the Mid-West. The paucity of attendance to this reception does not represent full strength of Urhobos in this area but is only symbolic of the popular saying that ‘Many are called but few are chosen’.

 

Sir, when the choice was made of you to stem into the noble shoes left by Mukoro Mowoe, we here heralded the news with overwhelming joy, knowing you for your characteristic wisdom and formidable courage. We can now proudly claim, Sir, that our optimism has been vindicated by your determination to tour, no doubt to acquaint with your people and plant in them the essence of the solidarity of the Urhobos as a people and national unity. We wish you success in this endeavour.

 

The Urhobo Progress Union has grown up to be a great cultural organisation, and so therefore, you as its President-General, are confronted with the temptation of political infiltration. It is advisable, sir, that our great Union should be insulated from politics in order to give it free chance to grow and endure.

 

Our great organisation had and has been acting as an arbiter of peace and justice amongst our people since its inception. In this regard, you will agree with us, that litigation has been reduced to the barest minimum. This is a highly laudable achievement. But sir, there are those recalcitrant elements amongst us who defy invitation to amicable settlement of disputes. We would like to know the powers we have in dealing with this class of people as a branch union. 

 

We feel that it is high time a research is made on the possibility of writing a book on the Urhobo language and on the historical back ground of the Urhobo as a nation, in line with that written by Mr. Yamu Numa, ‘The Pride of the Urhobo Nation’.

 

We ask also, that in future all Urhobo National Almanacs should be representative of all the different sectors of our people.

 

Regular of scholarships should be encouraged in order to help reduce ignorance amongst our people. In this regard, we demand a share for a son or daughter parented by a member of our community in Sobe.

 

We need membership cards and would like to be treated as a separate entity of Benin branch all times.

 

Finally, we welcome you as our first honourable member of the Mid-Western House of Assembly to honour us with a visit. And we wish you and your suite a happy tour and God’s guarded safe return. 

 

We are,

 

Yours for National Progress   

 

OTIGBA ODUDU                                              ?         ?         ?         ?

    CHAIRMAN                                                     HON. SECRETARY

 

 


Urhobo Community in Ikare, Western Nigeria

(11)

 

Welcome Address Presented to Chief the Hon. T. E. A. Salubi, O.B.E., the President-General, U.P.U.,
By the Entire Urhobo Community in Ikare

 

Sir,

 

We the entire Urhobos in Ikare and sub areas whole heartedly welcome you to our midst this day.

 

To be candid, your visit is historical which must be remembered by us all, our children and our children’s children. This is so for a reason best known to all of us who have known you for long.

 

We, at this stage set our minds back to reckon some of your days as a civil servant you courageously started the battle for freedom, social and political rights of your fatherland, both direct and indirect.

 

During your time as the President-General of U.P.U there are much to say about the good works of your with the co-operation of other Urhobo Progressive elements.

 

To brief, we take time off to touch some of the remarkable activities of yours.

 

(a)     The Improvement of Urhobo College and the Opening of more Colleges during your time as a commissioner of Education in the Emergency Administration of Western Nigeria.

(b)     The building of our national hall at Warri. The hall is the visible image of the Union.

(c)      Increases in the numbers of U.P.U. branches both in Nigeria and outside.

 

As human-beings are concerned we still require you to use your good officers to see that the under mentioned requirements are met.

 

(a)     To settle the misunderstanding between our leaders caused by politics.

(b)     To remove the Union’s name from party politics.

(c)      To encourage girls Education among Urhobos.

(d)     For you to stand as a father to all Urhobos not minding their political understanding.

 

We at this point express our thanks and joy to the Union’s officers who co-operated with the President in the discharge of the noble duties attached to his great office.  

 

We like to say that your receive us with our little reception accorded you.

 

We wish you, your friends, the national officers who made this visit possible and all our admirers God’s blessing and safe journey to anywhere they go.

 

Thanks.

 

Yours in service of Urhoboland.     

 

 

EDWARD INELO                           J. OGBEVIREN EREVEREN

    CHAIRMAN                                                       SECRETARY

 

 


Ore Branch, Western Nigeria

 

(12)

 

URHOBO PROGRESS UNION,

ORE

 

5th June, 1964

 

A Welcome Address Presented to the Hon. T. E. A. Salubi, Member of the Midwestern House of Assembly and President-General , U.P.U  

 

 

1.  It is with pleasure that we have to welcome you and your entourage to ORE. We thank you very much for the precaution you have taken in touring the whole federation where Urhobos inhabit.

 

2.       The Honourable T. E. A. SALUBI a faithful and famous President, we the entire Urhobo people are very grateful for your visit to any town where there is a Branch of the Urhobo Progress Union.

 

3.       Ever since the foundation of the Urhobo Progress Union, today mark a symbol of price, Urhobo National price, to se and meet with “Ever President-General” of their Union in ORE, ONDO Province. It is a pride of the Urhobo Progress Union, and a sign of a faithful leadership to his people.

 

Sir, we hereby beg you to put before your honour and pray your positive help to achieve them where possible.

 

(a)     That we the Units of Onishere, Ebijor, Ore and Agbabu want to have a Branch of its own. For we want to have a Branch in ONDO Province.  

(b)     That system should be made to check disbelievers of the U.P.U. who refuse to co-operate with the Union.

(c)      That we the Mid-Westerner in the West should not be oppressed.

 

We beg to welcome you once more.

 

We are,

 

Yours faithfully in National Service,

 

 

OTERI AKPOCHA                                                     P. M. E. IYEDE

     PRESIDENT                                                               SECRETARY

 

J. U. UMUKORO

(VICE PRESIDENT)

 

ORE

 


Irele Branch, Western Nigeria

 

(13)

 

 

The Urhobo Progress Union
Irele Branch
P. O. Box 16
Ode-Irele
5th June, 1964

 

 

 

A Welcome Address Presented to the President-General of U.P.U. Headquarter, Warri, in Person of
Honourable Chief T. E. A. Salubi, O.B.E., President-General for His Official Tour
to Irele U.P.U.Branch on the 5th June, 1964  

 

 

The President, Chief G. J. Awatefe and his officers with entire members of the above U.P.U. branch, Irele welcome you for visiting them today.

 

Since U.P.U. have given birth of her branch to Irele with happy growth, this is the first time of the visit of the President-General to this branch. 

 

Since the existence of U.P.U. you are the fourth President-General that ever ruled. It is most interesting to note that during your time, the above branch received the official tour of the President-General of the U.P.U.

 

For the past years ever before you were elected to this office of President-General, the life of this our great Union, U.P.U., was between living and death, ever nearer to grave. The Almighty God to whom nothing is difficult send you in as Jesus to rise up our great Union, U.P.U.

 

For the few years you have worked in this our Union, your record must live in history as a remarkable occasion.

 

Once again the President of Irele branch and the entire members of the U.P.U., honour the President-General and all his followers to our branch today. May Almighty God guide you in this your tour to all branches.

 

Appeal to President-General

 

1.       We strongly appeal to you to keep us informed of any notice of scholarship to our great Union, U.P.U., at any time that it comes up.

 

2.       Again we still appeal to you to consider our branch picture that in next year 1965 Almanac. That our portraits may appear next year. Our branch will be very grateful if the President-General will consider the appeal. We thank you for great effort to have made the U.P.U. to gain their position in this our Country of Nigeria which they lost for the past years. It afford us with great pleasure the care you have taken to all what you have donated to this National Headquarters and every annual conferences held each year.   

 

We pray the Almighty God to spare you long life and prosperity and long may you rule in this office of President-General.\

 

MR. G. J. AWATEFE               E. O. EMEDOH                   MR. J. E. AGBAVBE

      (PRESIDENT)                  UNDER-SECRETARY        HON. SECRETARY

 

 


Ajagba Branch, Western Nigeria


(14)

 

A Welcome Address Presented to Chief the Hon. T. E. A Salubi
by the Entire Members of the U.P.U. Ajagba Branch, 5th June, 1964

 

Our Hon. President-General,

 

It accords us with immense joy, your presence in our midst this day. We are wishing you to accept our whole-hearted greetings on this your operation visitation. Joy, has made us exceedingly happy because of this your fine and handsome visit. We are particularly joyous on the ground that the Urhobos have been able to produce a man of your own integrity and calibre.

 

Just now we regret our inability to provide a more warm reception for you. We, the entire Urhobos here, at home and in abroad, consider you so eminent and a figure for fetching in our entire land of the Midwest Region. Your good name is eulogized not only here but in every land where there is any Urhobo born consanguinity. We sing your encomium not as means of flattery but because of your great activities for us all. Looking round, you will acclaim the crowd of people besieging you, a living testimony of this our statement. We look back into our steady and gradual progress, we see, you are an outstanding figure.

 

To start with, this Union was inaugurated ion the early thirties. This Address will be incomplete if we fail to mention the following personalities who had contributed largely to the enormous success of the Union – late Chief J. E. Jakporoba, late Chief Mukoro Mowoe, Chief J. A. Okpodu and Chief J. A. Obahor. We are greatly indebted to their great activities and their names will ever remain fresh and green in our memories.

 

We now come to our present President-General – Chief the Hon. T. E. A. Salubi. He is a man of great zeal and vigour, man of undaunted resolution, a man full of patriotism, and to crown all, he is political dynamite. Through his indefatigable efforts, the Urhobo College has attained the present academic standard, also he had helped in awarding Commonwealth Scholarship to Senator M. J. Ejaife – the present Principal of the Urhobo College, Effurun – Warri to study education system and management in Australia. He has also helped to extend the U.P.U. to various branches in Nigeria, Ghana and in the United Kingdom. These are enough evidences of your hard working and untiring spirit.

 

We the entire U.P.U. members of Ajagba branch humbly request the President-General to help us achieve the following objectives: 

 

(i)      Award of Mid-West Scholarship for our children to Secondary and University level.

(ii)     To obtain regional loans from the Mid-Western Region to help us establish co-operative palm produce society.

(iii)    To help to remind the home Secretary to dispatch our Registration Certificate at his earliest convenient time.

 

As you know, this branch has just been formed, and any present given could be accepted as a token of deep love and we therefore present the President-General with this meager but significant book gift, entitled, ‘Constitutional Law’.

 

Conclusively, we pray you long life and prosperity.
 

1.       Mr. George Oboba                            Chairman

2.       Mr. W. S. Onosigho                          Vice Chairman

3.       Mr. E. E. Ogorume                           Union Patron

4.       Mr. Gabriel Akpovi                          General Secretary

5.       Madam Okere                                   Chairlady

6.       Mr. Okoberhe Oborikpo                  Spokesman

7.       Akporie Orojoh & Ejenaye              Treasurers

 


Ado Ekiti Branch, Western Nigeria

(15)

 

A Welcome Address Presented to Chief the Hon. T. E. A. Salubi, O.B.E, President-General, Urhobo Progress Union, at Ado-Ekiti on the Occasion of His Visit  to Ado-Ekiti, June 1964

 

 

This branch of Urhobo Progress Union heartily welcomes Chief the Hon. Adogbeji Salubi, O.B.E., President-General of Urhobo Progress Union of Nigeria and abroad, and his able lieutenants, who fight for in our midst today. The Chief’s presence here in Ado-Ekiti is beneficial to this Branch of Urhobo Progress Union in many ways. It revives our spirit to a re-union where disgust seems to lay its cold hand. It gives us the opportunity to discuss certain matters jointly with him. In short, it affords us to know our boss and some of our National Officers by whose names we only knew all this time. Thank God to spare our lives to witness this great events.

 

Gratefulness

 

In view of what we read from the annual reports of Urhobo Progress Union, General Council of 1962, we thank all those who donated money, tools and accommodation that might have hindered the go-on of Urhobo Progress Union during a testing time to build the Union’s Headquarters Secretariat in particular and those who spared their time in the work in general. In these benefactions, we believe, history will tell for posterity. 

Requests

 

This branch hopes the guests of honour may not be offended if we seize this time to express our requests of what we want from the headquarters. Regards our letters dated 11th April 1964, we applied for a copy of Urhobo Progress Union Constitution. No reply up-to-date. Our boss may see with us that a citizen must be law-abiding and without the knowledge of the law a citizen may easily fall a victim of the law. It is said that he who does not keep the law of the land, he is not a true citizen. Therefore we still stick to getting a copy of our Constitution.

Facts

 

It is astounding to have got a letter signed by the Principal Secretary of Urhobo Progress Union dated the 12th Feb., 1964, announcing the newly formed “Urhobo Progress Union Reformation Movement” a split of Urhobo Progress Union caused by politics. If we really advocate that “There is not an atom in the universe that is not in motion” as our “Motto” why should we be tempted by political lure to divide the atom. This may, as a result of political ruse impede (a) the improvement, maintenance and project of our tradition and culture, (b) the fostering of good relationship among all Urhobo, and (c) the granting of amenities to Urhobo areas by Governments of the Midwest and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is a feeling that most of innocent Urhobo outside the area may grieve. 

 

Conclusion

 

On this historic date when your Lord-ship is paying your first  visit to Ado-Ekiti, we would like, on behalf of this branch, to express to you our sincere and warm congratulations for the high office into which you have been placed by providence.

 

We know that your integrity, hard-work, sense of duty and sound leadership are know secrets that merit for your choice as the President-General of this great Union.

 

In conclusion we implore you and your co-leaders not to be tired in lightening the way for us to see the way on, though hypocrites will blame their faults on you and seek to ruin your leadership. You should remember that “therefrom a truth, if thereto a persecution”. We wish you and your entourage God’s Blessings, Long Lives and safe Return to individual abode.

 

We are, your legal Urhobo of Ado-Ekiti 

 

 C. O. ONOACHA                                                       M. O. EDOH

    SECRETARY                                                            PRESIDENT

 


Ilesha Branch, Western Nigeria


(16)

 

An Address of Welcome Presented to Chief T. E. A. Salubi, O.B.E.,
the President-General, Urhobo Progress Union and Member, Midwestern House of Assembly,
on the Occasion of His Maiden Official Visit to this Historic Town of Ilesha, Nigeria on Sunday 7th Day of June, 1964

 


Our dearly Beloved President,

 

It is with great delight that we the undersigned on behalf of ourselves and the entire members of Urhobo Progress Union in Ijeshaland welcome you to this historic town of Ilesha on the occasion of this your maiden official visit to us as one of your branches to be visited throughout our great country, Nigeria.

 

When we look back into your progressive activities and patriotic spirit for the development of our race-the Urhobo, we are proud to have a person of your category and calibre as our President-General. In this connection we have the pleasure to express our joy at your becoming an Honourable member of the first Legislature of our own Region, “THE MIDWESTERN HOUSE OF LEGISLATURE.”

 

We appreciate your efforts in reviving this our great Union which once was becoming weak and now you have brought it up on a proper footing and we are thus proud that the strength of our Union as it is at present can compare favourable with any other, such ethnic group of Union in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You have done much to the progress of this Union few of which are:-

 

(1)     The building of the Union Secretariat and its office;

(2)     The raising of the Urhobo College to a dignified status and many other achievements.

 

Now our dear President, we feel we may seize this opportunity to speak to you as our father. Your exalted position as President-General is to us likened to that of Ovie of all Urhobos and consequently all Urhobos irrespective of class, creed or political opinions pledge our loyalty to you. We therefore beg of you to see that there is perfect unity among the Urhobos. Nowadays, it is an undoubted fact that politics are keeping friends asunder, and as such we are aware of the fact that it may be difficult for you to please all Urhobos, but remembering the adage of the greatest good for the greatest number, we feel that since you cling to and have your way with the majority, we could say that you achieved the best. Therefore, our President-General, Sir, the solidarity of the entire Urhobos is uppermost in our mind and this we know that with your ability tact, intelligence and sense of administration, you shall lead the Urhobos under one banner to the promised land and happiness and prosperity.

 

May the Almighty God give you the wisdom, tolerance and ability to carry out this onerous duty of solidarity amongst us all. AMEN.

 

Once again we welcome you to this town, Ilesha and we pray that the Almighty God may guard and guide your entourage and take you back home safely.

We are,

 

Yours truly,

 

M. C. O. UBIEBI             J. O. ONOGBO            T. O. OKORO

PRESIDENT               VICE PRESIDENT        CHIEF SPOKESMAN

 

 

P. M. AGBASHE             R. A. OJACHERE                  M. O. AYEYA

TREASURER               HON. SECRETARY                   MEMBER

 


Oshogbo Branch, Western Nigeria

(17)

 

A Welcome Address Presented to the Honourable Chief T. E. A. Salubi, O.B.E.,
the President-General to the Urhobo Progress Union by U.P.U., Oshogbo Branch on the 7th June, 1964

 

 

The President-General, Chiefs, Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the entire Members of the U.P.U., Oshogbo branch, we the undersigned people welcome you and your entourage whole heartedly in our midst on this occasion of y our August visit.

 

We are aware of your sound activities and improvements in the Union since your accession to the post of President-General and we appreciate them: such as:-

 

1.    Sound administration of the Union both in the Headquarters and the branches;

2.    Opening of new Secondary Grammar Schools in indigenous towns in Urhobo land; and

3.    The three Scholarships awarded to Urhobo sons under the responsibility of the U.P.U. through the Urhobo College, Effurun, in our Universities.

 

We pray that God may grant you more zeal, time and wisdom to do more greater things in the near future.

 

On this juncture, we seize this opportunity in putting it to you to dance to the tune of the first President-General, person of the late Chief Mukoro Mowoe “Oyinvwin” (May his soul rest in peace). He laboured selflessly and made all Urhobo sons and daughters to be one both at home and abroad, and made the Urhobo Community known in the world.

 

With view of the present political parties affiliations in Nigeria today, we want you to make it clear to you that as the President-General of the U.P.U., you are the Leader and Father to us, and it is profitable if you can keep yourself away from party politics. In doing so, you will have more opportunity, influenced, and a sound mandate in voicing out the opinion of Urhobo Nationals to our Governments and the outside world with dignity and power.

 

In conclusion we are very few, yet, we implore you to remember us while distributing appointments in the public services.

 

Wishing you the best of luck,

Yours,

 

MR. J. G. LECKY                                    MR. E. O. ERUKPORO

PRESIDENT                                                            SECRETARY

 


Apapa Branch, Lagos

(18)

 

The Urhobo Progress Union, Apapa Branch

 

An Address of Welcome Presented by the Urhobo Progress Union, Apapa Branch, to
Chief T. E. A. Salubi, President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union and National Officers
on the Occasion of Their Tour Of The Branches at Ajegunle on Tuesday 9th  June, 1964

 

 

Our dear President-General,
 

We, the undersigned and on behalf of the entire Urhobos resident in this area and members of the Urhobo Progress Union, Apapa Branch have the pleasure of according you and your entourage a happy welcome into this part of the country.

 

Our desire to see you pay us an official visit of this nature has been long expected, despite the fact that everyone of us has the opportunity of discussing with you individually on the prosperity and progress of Urhobo land. But today, we could discuss collectively and express views which are fundamental.

 

This branch would like it to go on record that official recognition was given to us during your tenure of office under forces of oppression from different quarters. The opposition acted as a stimulus to our courage and the spirit to be more united rather than for the total distruction of the fundamental human right entrenched in the country’s constitution.

 

We would like to congratulate you and your lieutenants and, Urhobo Division as a whole for the excellent performance during the referendum for the creation of the Mid-Western Region by excelling all other divisions in their votes, either in the “White” or “Black” box. We must   mention however, that the Regional Government commended the spirit by giving our legislature a considerable office when the first Government of the Region was set up. If tradition and custom is correctly interpreted, you will agree that these legislators holding offices of trust are within your authoritative jurisdiction and could be disciplined under the banner of Urhobo Progress Union whenever they go wrong; notwithstanding the political camp each of them may belong.

 

To achieve these objectives, you should procure a formidable front with your lieutenants. Let “Union” first and “Party” second be their Credo if they have ht bitterness of the tribe and working towards Urhobo progress in order to match in line with other tribes in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This reminds us of the petty squabbles that exist among our leaders at home. Attempts have been made by this branch including Lagos and Ibadan branches for an amicable settlement which proved abortive. This situation led to the inauguration of the reformed U.P.U. by some disgruntled elements in Urhobo. As the President-General, Sir, it would be advisable that you should forget the past differences and call upon the personalities concerned for an immediate settlement. The tribe  can not be governed efficiently when the leaders have diversity of opinions and nurse personal animosities among themselves. The nation will be filled with joy on hearing such reconciliation meeting is effected by you.

 

Mr. President General Sir, we should make the Government to understand the type of amenities which require priority in the division. 

 

1.       EDUCATION: When you were the Commissioner of Education in the interim Government of Western Nigeria under Emergency you were able to bring to Urhobo land four Secondary Grammar Schools, including the aid given to Urhobo College. We are in need of Technical institutions in our division, more Secondary Schools and the stability of Urhobo College.

 

In considering the national figures of education in Urhobo, it will be seen that we are in no less on a trial balance. Therefore it would be necessary that our children be awarded Government Scholarships to various fields of learning which has been one of the major programme in the new Region.

 

2.       INDUSTRIES:  It is understood that the Government of the region proposed to establish as many industries as possible. One will agree that Urhobo land will constitute a main site for as many industries, apart from the mineral products found in some parts of the division. To be specific, Ughelli Town should be made a model of a well established Township by propounding on a programme which is educational, economical, industrial that befits a model city.

 

3.       HOSPITALS: The American Baptist Mission deserves our praise for opening an Hospital at Eku which serves the whole Division including other parts of the Federation. We should pray the Government to open at least two modern hospitals sited at Orerokpe and Ughelli respectively, and dispensaries in all the Clan headquarters in our division.

 

4.       OTHERS: The roads in the division are in a mess; and need immediate attention. Post offices are necessary to facilitate easy means of communication with our neighbours in the hither land. Pipe-borne water and Electricity should be brought nearer to our homes. We are aware that these amenities are either the regional or Federal responsibilities, but we are propounding on a programme of work for our legislators which will be guarded by you through the medium of Urhobo Progress Union, the voice of the people and our Government.

 

Our President General, by this your tour, you have awakened the spirit of weak members in the Union including those who regarded the U.P.U. as an organisation for the Rich or selected few. Many failed to know that the Union is open to all Urhobo of good behaviour and desire to serve the nation. We will assure you that the Urhobos constitute a greater percentage of the inhabitants in this area, yet it was a great task to this branch to stand where it is today. This, we are convinced is lack of co-operation among many and can be combated through Clan Unions which will enforce it upon their sons or daughters. Clans should recognize the membership card of the U.P.U. as a Passport and membership card of clan as a certificate of citizenship.

 

In conclusion, we would like it to be placed on record that this branch appreciates your moral and financial contributions towards the progress of the Union in particular and to Urhobo land in general. We realize your sacrifices to this nation and it is our determination to labour strenuously so that we might build a glorious edifice for the young generation of our noble tribe.

 

Furthermore, to make the Union a real respectable and cultural organisation as being adduced, the National Executive Committee should work on a programme by which officers of the Union, both National and Branches, who have served well, will be made to benefit either by the conferment of some Urhobo titles or otherwise. This will definitely spur the spirit of all members and those who have not registered to action.

 

While according you and your entourage this welcome, we anticipate with pride that the National Officers will set down to work on arrival at home and we are confident of your leadership which is second to none since the death of our noble leader Chief Mukoro Mowoe, Alias, ‘Oyinvwin’. It is our fervent prayer that Almighty God may crown your untiring efforts including your lieutenants and lead Urhobo to a successful goal.

 

We welcome you and your entourage into Apapa.

 

For and on behalf of U.P.U. Apapa Branch.

 

PAUL E. O. MASHONE                                    P.  O. OKU

PRESIDENT                                                       SECRETARY

 

J. E. AYAVUARE                                              D. F. ARMAMA

TREASURER                                                     Un-Official Member

 


Ibadan Branch, Western Nigeria

(19)

URHOBO PROGRESS UNION,

         P. O. BOX 341,

              IBADAN.

                      11th JUNE, 1964

The President-General,

     Urhobo Progress Union,

              Ibadan.

 

The President-General,

 

Welcome Address

 

It is with great pleasure and pride that we, the entire members of Ibadan branch of the Urhobo Progress Union, welcome you and your entourage to this largest cosmopolitan city on the West Coast of Africa. We support your tour of all the branches of our great Union in this country, and hereby venerate the memory of this grand occasion by presenting you this Welcome Address.

 

Your past and present activities as the President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union have been sufficient to convince us that you are in every way an able leader upon whom we may safely rely for the advancement of our people. Your leadership has enabled us to accomplish much that we thought was well-nigh impossible. For example, our progress in the field of education is gratifying, many schools were approved and granted loans, and some of our boys given scholarhips. It also goes without credit to you the efficient administrative set up of the U.P.U. National Headquarters. These are just a few of the many things you have done for us. This bring so, what we not achieve under the inspiration of your leadership?

 

Although we have made satisfactory progress in certain fields, but there are pressing questions well worth your attention. It is impossible to disguise the fact that matters in our home are in a bad state. Our people are disunited as a result of political associations, greed and envy. We cannot afford to live in disunity. We must hit on some solution at once. Our national unity should transcend party politics.

          After all, the freedom to hold what religious views one wishes, the right of the individual to any political party, are conventional in our land, hence the U.P.U. constitution has not circumscribed these rights. Members are free to join political parties of their choice, provided such association of persons are not organised for usurping the functions of the Urhobo Progress Union. Efforts should therefore, be made to make the Union the laboratory of Urhobo National Unity.

 

There are other burning issues, Sir. All our people feel they will hardly live down their loss of prestige and birth right in Warri Township. The threat to our national hall, and the barring of our nationals from contesting elections in the area are the most recent and significant issues. It is hard to know where to start in a review of the situation and we humbly leave it to you for efficient handling. May we take this chance to remind you of our letter dealing with sitting of oil refinery in the East.

 

Once again, we are sincerely grateful to you for the many good things you have done for our people. We pray that God may give you long life and prosperity.

 

B. S. EDOHWORHU                                         H. H. ODUARAN­­­

PRESIDENT                                                        HON. SECRETARY

 


Lagos Branch

(20)

 

An Address of Welcome Presented to the President-General of Urhobo Progress Union,
Chief T. E. A. Salubi, and His Touring Team on the Occasion of Their Visit to Lagos

 

 

We the undersigned, on behalf of ourselves, the executive committee and the entire members of the Urhobo Progress Union, Lagos branch, present to you and your touring team, this 13th day June, in the year or our Lord, One Thousand nine hundred and sixty-four this humble address of welcome on the occasion of your visit to Lagos during your tour of Urhobo Progress Union branches.

 

In this address we shall not concern ourselves with a detail account of your life history, rather, we shall deal with that aspect of your life which is closely connected with the U.P.U. But however, concise, we cannot fail to say briefly how the “Elephant” who was bound to become the leader of Urhobo people grew up. For, in you life development and journey that took you to your present position, Urhobo youths have a lot to learn and emulate.

 

You were born in November, 1906, son of a farmer – Chief, at Ovu in the Western Sector of Urhobo Division. Not satisfied with the local School in your home-town you left Ovu to Lagos then a two-week journey by canoe through the creek. In Lagos you attended the St. Paul’s Breadfruit School and the Baptist Academy. It is with pride that we have to mention here that in order to live you had to work very hard as a house-boy.

 

In those days the few Urhobos who found their way to the Civil Service in Lagos had minor jobs. With you it was different. Immediately after leaving the College, you joined the Lagos Health Service as a Sanitary Inspector and with the help of Dr. Ladipo Oluwole, of blessed memory, promotions came steadily your way. It will be convenient at this juncture to recount your “FIRSTS:”

 

1.       You were one of the first six West Africans to pass the Royal Sanitary Institute Examination and finally passed the promotion bar to Senior Sanitary Inspector.

2.       In 1943, when it became necessary for the Nigerian Government to establish the Labour department you were recommended there on departmental transfer.

3.       You were one of the first three Nigerians to be sent to the United Kingdom on scholarship to train as Labour Officers. Thus, you again became the first Urhobo person to be sent to the United Kingdom on Government Scholarship.

4.       In England you attended the London School of Economics where you studied for and obtained a Diploma in Social Studies. And in 1945 you returned to Lagos a Labour Officer -- one of the first three Nigerians to hold this rank. You again became the first Urhobo to attain what was called in those days “Senior Service Post”.

5.       For the first time ever, the Union have a paid administrative secretary and a paid messenger who form the Staff of the Headquarters’ office.

6.       You have succeeded to fire new inspiration on the people resulting in many branches of the Union springing up with wonderful rapidity. It is gratifying to place on record that in all we now have eighty-one branches of the U.P.U.

7.       The U.P.U. Almanac which was last published in 1938 has been revived and published in 1964 under your regime.

8.       In 1957 you accompanied Alhaji I. Adegbenro, then Western Nigeria Minister of Labour, to the International Labour Organisation conference in Geneva, after which you were selected to study Labour administration in the United States for four months. Your selection was due to your international Labour Officer Fellowship.

9.       The last of the “FIRST” but by no means the least, when a branch of the Urhobo Progress Union was formed in Lagos you were the first Hon. Secretary, a post which you held in the branch for many years.

 

There are but a few of the achievements of the Union under your leadership. And for a leader to achieve all these within such a short time deserves the support and loyalty of all sections of the community. It is not magic therefore that you are liked by the people and your leadership is greatly cherished.

 

But we implore you as the father of the people, to always remember that in the Union you lead there are Urhobos of different political opinions. You should therefore not allow party political considerations to influence your actions in the Union. Embrace every Urhobo with open arms. Show affection and love to all irrespective of their political leanings.

 

Let us respectfully recall some of the public speeches you made in the past on the platform of the U.P.U., particularly the National Day Message of 1963. Some portions of the message were a direct attack on your political opponents and they have rightly used such attacks as materials to campaign against your leadership. This situation must be guarded against in future. As President-General of the Union, your public speeches must of necessity be divorced of bitterness and vituperations. The forces against your leadership are not insurmountable. Play your part honourably and leave the rest to God and posterity.
 

U. P.U Leadership and Politics:

 

On the 24th of July, 1963 a selected committee of this branch held discussion with you on the matter of active politics. At that meeting we held the strong opinion that although the U.P.U. is a cultural organisation catering for the welfare of all Urhobos, the President-General cannot be effective in the discharge of his duties and responsibility to the people unless he take active party in the politics of the country. At that meeting we strongly advised the President-General to go into active politics and make his presence felt in the political arena of the country.

 

Our President-General, you can now appreciate our pride as a branch; you will not fail to imagine the state of ecstasy to which your presence here has thrown us. It could not be otherwise, when the first Hon. Secretary of our branch has become the President-General and he is here with us to-day.

 

We of this branch are not unaware of the sacrifice you have made when after attaining the post of Industrial Relations Commissioner which is the professional head of Labour Division and acted as Permanent Secretary to the Ministry, you relinquished your post on pension for the service of your fatherland. There are many who may not know that on attaining the age of 55 years you were prevailed upon to continue in Service for another three years. You were intact offered attractive ambassadorial appointments which you aptly rejected so that you may devote the rest part of your life to the service of your father land.

 

Before December, 1961 the Urhobo Progress Union was at its ebb. There was no organic connection between the headquarters and branches. The Union had become a spent force. No meetings were held, the Central Executive Committee only existed in name and the general council only met after many years when the issue was forced. In fact, the whole functions of the Union had been swallowed up by Party Political activities.

 

It is difficult to recount all the achievements of the Union since you took over the leadership in December, 1961. But for the sake of records we shall mention a few here.

 

1.       The building of the National Secretariat at Warri and the equipment of the offices therein make the present administration unique in form and character.

2.       There is now organic connection between the headquarters and the branches with the result that branches which were defunct are now awake and revived.

3.       The Annual General Council now meets regularly and the last one held in December 1963 had a record attendance of 75 branches.

4.       There are now regular meetings of the Central Executive Committee and in addition you have introduced a platform at which all national officers meet. This is called the meeting of National Officers.

 

The stand of the Lagos branch on this matter has not changed. We are convinced now more than ever before that the President-General cannot wield any influence amongst his people if he is not directly engaged in party politics. We of this branch remain bold to give you our new charge: Go into active politics, identify yourself with any political party of your choice and whether in the Government or in the opposition, make your presence be felt as the true head of this Edifice of Urhobo people. 

 

We must not fail to mention the important contribution of your beloved wife, Mrs. Angela Salubi, in your onerous tasks of nation building. We have seen in your wife, Angela, a devoted wife, a life partner and a sincere comforter. We are grateful to you Angela. May the Almighty God give you health, long life, Wisdom and enduring love so that you can always be by our President-General.

 

Let us also seize this opportunity to express our gratitude to Mr. Mukoro, the Under-Secretary of the Union, whose services in the office at the Headquarters is invaluable. We thank you Mr. Mukoro and may God be with you.

 

In conclusion Sir, we would like to reiterate our stand about your leadership. We have always told you that Urhobo Youths have a lot to learn from you. As long as you do not part with the ideals for which the U.P.U. was formed, as long you continue to project the Urhobo personality in the Nigerian Community, as long as you do not compromise our interest for personal gains, so long shall we embrace and cherish your leadership and so lone shall we continue to give you our unqualified support and unswerving loyalty.

 

May the Almighty God give you Health, strength and wisdom to lead Urhobo people aright. We thank you.

 

LONG         LIVE           URHOBO

 

                             We are yours in the same struggle.

 

T. FOFAH                       ALICE SOROGHEYE                           M. P. OKUMAGBA
PRESIDENT                        LADY PRESIDENT                                       HON. SECRETAR
Y

 


Kaduna Branch, Northern Nigeria


(21)


Welcome Address Presented to President-General
on the Occasion of His Official Tour of Northern Nigeria, 18th - 20th, 1964, Kaduna

 

 

It is a great pleasure to have you and your entourage in this Capital city of Northern Nigeria. It is a unique occasion to us because this is the first time within living memory that a President-General of Urhobo Progress Union ever visited us in an official capacity. On behalf of U.P.U. and entire Urhobo people in Kaduna we say a hearty welcome to you all.

 

Sir, it is not our wish to dig into history, but this much we know. After the death of Chief Mowoe (on whom be peace) the affairs of U.P.U. (which is synonymous with the affairs of Urhobo people) suffered a decline and were on the verge of total collapse. This decadence has its effects on almost all the corners of our national life and prestige. The existence of U.P.U. was in fact only on paper. Many branches had nowhere to turn to for inspiration and they therefore became supine, the ills of U.P.U. then were too well known; they can better be left to the historian of that interregnum of our dark era, for even today this lethargy still persists and has turned many uninformed into inveterate antagonists of U.P.U. 

 

But the advent of your regime has wrought is inevitable change on the affairs of U.P.U. The Headquarters was consolidated by the building of office Block cum “hall” and the consequent election of that year brought in energetic officers. This wise move, coupled with the constant contact with branches mushroomed. To reflect further, the waning fortunes of our college was geared up and under Chief Okandeji as Chairman of the Board of Management, both finances and the entire affairs of the college, which were at their nadir, blossomed, and are, we hope, waxing stronger. We noted with joy that many Urhobo students have received scholarships from the Urhobo College and that efforts have been made this year to double-stream Class I. Particularly edifying, Sir, on moral plane, is the fact that you and your colleagues constantly kindle the fire of “Urhoboness” and the spirit of peaceful co-existence.

 

Naturally this glowing achievements must attract attention and envy. Detractors abound who may like to besmear you, your colleagues, and your work to Urhobo nation. But Sir, be not dismayed. We pray you to play your party according to your knowledge and circumstances of the age. With your memorable philosophy of “Urhobo First” and every other thing last, your work to Urhobo people will long remained unrivalled and certainly unsurpassed.

 

Urhobo Progress Union has long been established in Kaduna as will be testified to by our venerable Chief in you entourage. All along Kaduna has not shrank from performing the little it can to further the course of U.P.U. But our main difficulty is that we have tried to reach all Urhobo people in Kaduna to join the U.P.U. but to no avail. U.P.U. Kaduna is composed of an enthusiastic, strong few. Our fathers desert us; our virile and otherwise dependable young men who would have been marshals in the field, give us no hearing. Our dilemma therefore becomes complex.

 

However, Sir, our relations with our neighbours are cordial. The Urhobo people in Kaduna do comport themselves very well. Criminal propensity is non-existence among our people nor is any addicted litigious. The spirit of understanding and co-operation have germinated here in Kaduna; well watered and un-uprooted by detractors, it shall grow like the Biblical mustard seed. Granting us our human frailties, we hope to prod on.

 

Sir, we do not want to tedious you any further. We wish you and your entourage providential care throughout your Northern tour. We pray for your safe return to your homes. Once more, we say welcome.

 

J. O. Odessa

Hon. Secretary

For and on behalf of U.P.U. Kaduna

 


Zaria Branch, Northern Nigeria

(22)

 

A Welcome Address Presented by the Zaria Branch of the Urhobo Progress Union to
Chief the Honourable T. E. A. Salubi, O. B. E., President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union
on the Occasion of His Presidential Tour of the Branch Unions in Northern Nigerian

 

 

We, the entire members of the Urhobo Community in Zaria and suburbs, accord you and your entourage a hearty welcome to Zaria, this ancient city of her late Majesty Queen Amina of blessed memory.

 

Such an occasion as this would have been realized a year ago when our able President-General planned a Country-wide tour of all Branches of the Union, but this was shelved for obvious reasons. We are happy to have you in our midst on this day of all Branches of the Union, but this was shelved for obvious reasons. We are happy to have you in our midst on this day of all days when an honest and well-conceived dream of yester-year has become a reality.

 

We rejoiced whole-heartedly at your election to the Presidentship in 1961 and are mindful of your singular, intelligent and executive efforts in bringing a new life into the activities of the U.P.U. – the only Cultural Union in our beloved land that has economic fields. Our joys were founded on the conviction that your birth, nature of education, wealth of experience and status in the Federal Public Service would serve as a panacea to all our ills – a veritable round peg in a round hole.

 

We are alive to the many commitments, domestic, and otherwise, that make demands on your time and thought; but with your girt loins, you have threaded your way through to make this tour a reality. Nothing less that that supreme love of fatherland has urged you to visit your people abroad in order to acquaint and identify yourself with their short-coming, difficulties and aspirations in this their land of Sojourn. We embrace you therefore, with open arms and with filial love and say, “AVWAREN DEDWE”.

 

Our living in Zaria is not so highly favourably placed and our handicaps as a Branch Union are so manifest and legion that we could hardly measure up to the standard of feasting and souvenir that befits your status. Never-the-less, we would hesitate to present to you this souvenir – “THE HOLY BIBLE” – (the best as dictated by our Zaria standards) in the hope that you may take our will for the deed.

 

May we seize this golden opportunity afforded by your presence this day in putting across to you some of the knotty problems facing us and affecting our destiny as a people.

 

(a)     Difficulty in getting secondary school places for Urhobo indigenes in Northern Nigeria-creating a Centre in Zaria for Urhobo College Entrances Examinations by virtue of its central position and of being the educational centre in Northern Nigeria.

(b)     The adverse effect of party politics on the solidarity of the Union at home and abroad – split of the U.P.U. into Ometan and Salubi factions, engineered by Chief Obahor, Edewor, and S. Odje, abetted by an Itsekiri man.

(c)      The glaring threat of the influence of Itsekiri  nationalism in our national life which may lead ultimately to the loss of national identity in the very near future, perhaps not farther than a decade after the Mid-West 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 bidding to which the average Urhobo landowner falls prey.

 

In our candid, view Urhobo National interests must transcend the interests of party politics. We are not prepared to subject our national Union to the Whims and Caprices of successive Governments, otherwise, we should have advised your crossing the carpet. But we would appeal to you to explore all avenues open to you to settle the rift or resign politics in the interest of Urhobo Unity. We say this because after the late Chief Mukoro Mowoe (May His Soul Rest In Peace) we have never found a true leader but in you.

 

We pray that the shades of by-gone era in Urhobo may accompany you in this you’re an historic tour and that health, strength, and vitality may be your lot all through the way.

 

Go with the Iletus of Urhoboland and with God.

 

                                      We are,

 

                                            Yours brethren,

 

                                                In the service of our fatherland.

 

MR. OKORO UFIBRO               MR. DUVIERE OGIDI        J. R. O. KWALE

                   PRESIDENT                      SECRETARY                           VICE PRESIDENT

 

 

MADAM JANE OMOKRI             MRS. M. A. AKPOMUDJE

LADY PRESIDENT                         LADY EXECUTIVE MEMBER

 


Kano Branch, Northern Nigeria

(23)

 

Welcome Address Presented to Chief the Honourable T. E.A. Salubi, O.B.E. , M. H. A.,
President-General of the Urhobo Progress Union by the Urhobo Community in Kano on The Occasion of His Tour to Kano

 

 

Mr. Chairman, Elders, parliamentarians, Guest of honour, Ladies and Gentlemen. in the name of God, the Omnipresence, the Benevolent, the Merciful and the most Mighty, we the members of Urhobo Community in Kano, comprising the Urhobo Progress Union, Kano Branch, Urhobo youths of Urhobo), do hereby, on behalf of ourselves and of those not herein mentioned, bid your very Important Personality, Chief the Honourable T. E. A. Salubi, and your entourage, WELCOME to this great, ancient and historic city and town of Kano. We are happy you remembered us in the course of your good-will tour of Northern and Eastern Regions of this great Republic of Nigeria, our beloved country. 

 

We affectionately have this to say on Leadership of Urhobo nation: It cannot be argued to the contrary that the Urhobos did not feel demoralized for some good time following the death of Chief  Mukoro Mowoe of blessed memory in 1948. This worthy son of Urhobo, before his demise, did and was still doing all that was humanly possible to foster unity, love and understanding among the Urhobo people till he was snatched from us by the cold hands of death. When then you retired from the Civil Service in 1961, after a meritorious career of 35 years, to wear the mantle of leadership, we say Sir, without any fear of contradiction, that we heaved a sign of relief.

 

Within a relatively short item of your leadership you have caused to be built at Warri a magnificent house to reflect the grandeur of the cultural organisation of the Urhobo people, namely the U.P.U., and you have voluntarily given financial aid yet unexcelled to uplift that organization in the interest of Urhobo man’s good. And you did more. You made it possible for Hon. Senator M. Ejaife, Principal of the Urhobo College, to study education system under the commonwealth Technical Assistance and Co-operation with a view to broadening the educational stature of Urhobo people. And you crowned it all by helping, of late, a good number of schools formerly not approved, to be approved and recognized. These are only a few instances that could readily come up our mind just now by which you have demonstrated to us that you are a round page put in a round hole as far as the loss of Chief Mowoe is concerned. Of a truth, we recognize your leadership. We only need to remind you Sir, that leadership is not a bed of roses and to succeed you must be long-suffering, tolerant, and submissive to the wishes of the people. We pray God to give you the wisdom and courage to breast the tide.  

 

There is the wise saying that “unity is strength” and we can deduce that it is the bedrock upon which a nation can be built. We are of the opinion that at this stage of our country’s advancement to maturity the need for unity and solidarity among the Urhobo people cannot be over-stressed. We believed that only by unity that we can make our weight felt in the struggle for better living and take our proper place with the due respect among the heterogeneous tribes that make up this loving country of ours. But recently Sir, news filtering in to us here in Kano, have it that the unity which we have been trying hard to foster all these years, is on the verge of being thrown over-board. To be specific, that there is a sharp rift among our leaders at home especially among the rank and file of the U.P.U. This is horrifying indeed and we are not happy over it. While we are privileged this day to have you in our midst to hear the story from the horse’s mouth, we nevertheless feel disposed to point out to you that it so much devolves on you to bring such an ugly situation (if it exists) under control and effect a speedy reconciliation, not minding any financial loss it might bring to you personally. We say so Sir, because the lofty place you occupy in the Urhobo nation today and the confidence the people repose on you dictate this step.

 

We here in Kano have contributed and continue to contribute to the unity of the Urhobos over here. This hall which you now see, stands in our name and design, and is an eloquent evidence of the part we are playing over the issue of unity among us Urhobos. We will not drop our hands.

 

We feel like saying a word on community development in Urhobo land. We think our people are still lacking in knowledge of what is meant by “Community development”. The Urhobo man is too individualistic in his way of doing things. Our petty traders, contractors, transporters, farmer, etc., are yet to be educated to realize the importance of collective bargaining. It will yield great dividends if the abovementioned classes of people are taught to pull together their resources to form big combines which, if done with the spirit of co-operation and understanding, will eventually benefit the investors more as well as provide employment to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. This too is a step toward making the Urhobo nation great.

 

In concluding this address Sir, we wish to refer to your National Day Message of 1062 in which you 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”. It is our ardent hope therefore that you will not find any provocation, however highly mounted, to abandon the cause of Urhobos and quit the stage at this time. We again pray to God to grant you good health and long life to enable you carry on your pledge.

 

Chief the honourable Salubi, we hail thee! May God bless Urhobo land!

 

 

W. U. UVOH                                                       J. D. E. OMONIGHO

CHAIRMAN                                                        HON. SECRETARY

 


Nguru Branch, Northern Nigeria


(24)

 

Nguru, 23rd  July, 1964

 

Welcome Address  Presented to the President General – Chief T. E. A. Salubi,
on His First Tour to Nguru Branch of U.P.U

 

 

The President-General, his entourage, ladies and gentlemen, the Youths and the infants, greeting to you all. I have on behalf of Urhobos resident in Nguru, say welcome to the philanthropic here of Urhobos, (President-General) a person of Chief T. E. A. Salubi, and his entourage into our midst in this far-north

 

It was in 1962 and in 1963, this branch sent an agenda to the general Council of Urhobos that it would be very important that the President-General of Urhobos that it would be very important that the President-General take upon himself to tour the Federal Republic of Nigeria., in order to bring unity, understanding and love amongst the Urhobos. To teach and educate the need and usefulness of coming together to form a union. That the Urhobos may understand that they are people of one origin and descendent. The motion of your touring was also moved by one Mrs. Eduovie at Kano and one other branch.

 

We are really proud and grateful to you, to leave off the big task that is before you, to come to see us here from many thousand miles. We thank also those who have sacrificed their time to accompany you, especially you beloved wife.

 

For many passed decades, President-Generals of U.P.U. had not seized an opportunity to see the Urhobos abroad, or at home of how the union was being organised. They were directors who did not know the people they were directing. Many years that passed that the Urhobos abroad every enjoyed this opportunity of a visit of President-General and knowing him in person. This opportunity that we are enjoying today was first enjoyed by Urhobo Community and members of U.P.U. during the Presidentship of late Chief Mukoro Mowoe. His tour did at that age brought good in return to people of Urhobos. May his soul rest in peace, with a great tribute to his memory.

 

We are really very happy and grateful for your presence with us today. You being the 4th President-General of this great Union. You have shown your true philanthropy to Urhobos by many personal sacrifices. You resigned your appointment as permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labour in order to serve your people – Urhobos. You have worked to bring unity, progress, economics, and financial building towards the well-being of Urhobos. To name a few, when you were a Commissioner in the Emergency State Government of Western Nigeria, through your aid the Urhobo College got huge sum of money grant-in-aid, ten per cent of your salary went to U.P.U.; many Urhobos in you ministry and other ministries through your recommendation got promotions to top posts which they could not have dreamed of for next ten years. Time without number you made donations to the buildings and progress of U.P.U. and to the tribe.

 

Not minding the political danger that is confronting our tribe Urhobos, you still make chance to tour in order to strengthen the unity of Urhobos.

 

Conclusively, we the Urhobos in Nguru gratefully and happily say to you welcome, and your entourage. We pray God to guide and protect you in this your labour of nation building, and success in all your ways; Amen! Amen! Amen! With a vote of confidence in your leadership.

 

Yours in national service.

 

 

MR. J. B. ESIENAKIFE

PRESIDENT

 

NB.

Fate of our children in the North. – Admission to secondary schools in the north is very difficult due to Northernisation policy. To help us here it will be good to give us a certain number of pupils to be admitted yearly in Urhobo College or other institutions being run by Urhobos. If this help is given to us will help our children to get secondary education.

 

ESIENAKIFE










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