Ukonurhoro Diesode Omenih

Subject: On "Retrieving the name Okoro from other
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 2000 10:07:20 -0500
From: Urhobo Historical Society <UrhoboHistory@waado.org>
To: Urhobo@KinsFolk.com

While I agree in toto with Agbraghala [Dr. Smith Omonuwa], one gets the impression Mr. Agidigbin wants to rally all Benins together for some sort of jihad against the Igbos and Urhobo (the two main groups he perceived as having taken on the Okoro name from the Benins) and beat them into submission until they renounce the name. If this is his objective, I wish him luck.

Shouldn't Agidigbin have directed his energies at retrieving the enormous number of stolen ancient Benin artifacts that abound here in North American and European museums rather than pursue his Igbo and Urhobo brethren (assuming he's right) for a name he knows is safe with them right there in Nigeria, in Mother Africa? Besides, the thought pattern of Mr. Agidigbin clearly underscores how presumptuous and deficient we can sometimes be in "our know it all" approach to historical issues. Not minding pronunciation and meaning of the name "Okoro" to other ethnic groups or nationalities, I'm amazed that a Nigerian at this day and age would still subscribe to using the term
"tribe" to refer to either his people or his fellow Nigerians.

Last year, I met a gentleman, Dr. Oyibo whom I was almost certain is an Urhobo. A renowned mathematician by profession, Dr. Oyibo, who is a Tiv, hails from Benue State. Boy was I wrong! Also, a Ghanaian acquaintance of mine told me some years ago that my last name, Omenih (others among my Urhobo kinsfolk would spell it omitting the letter "h,") meant something not too
dissimilar from its meaning in Urhobo.

My view is that there is enough room in Nigeria for all Nigerians to be as creative as they wish irrespective of our differences. That is why the current pervasive mindset amongst a disturbingly large number of Nigerians that Nigeria can only be defined through the narrow prism of Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo dominance is exactly what will undo this artificial "giant."

Our strength lies in knowing and acknowledging that together, all the different ethnic nationalities in Nigeria have something unique to offer in strengthening the Nigerian polity. It's this simple. Only such a wholesome mutual understanding of our need to inter-connect and interdepend shall
the greatness that Nigeria so desperately craves materialize.

After all, Dr. Okoro Ademola Iyi-Eweka is right. Mr. Agidigbin and others like him ought to "let this Edo-Okoro go" on perpetual "sabbatical."


Ukonurhoro D. Omenih