THIRD ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND MEETING London, England November 1-3, 2002
MINUTES OF THIRD ANNUAL GENERAL
November 3, 2002
GoddisRestaurant, 126 New Cross Road, London SE14, United
Prepared By Onoawarie
Edevbie Secretary, Urhobo Historical Society
Present: Grace Aghoghovbia, Benjamin Akposheri, Omorotu Ayovuare,
Johnson Barovbe, Clever Edefah, Abel Edeki, Andrew Edevbie, E. T.
Eghweree, Richard Ekaragha, Helen Ekeh, Peter Ekeh, Felicia
Emessiri-Akusu, Edirin Erhiaganoma, Isaac Mowoe, Asame Obiomah, Daniel
Obiomah, Lily. Obiomah, Simpson Obruche, Comfort Ogbomo, Francis Ogbomo,Godwin Oghenede, Wilson Ometan, Onajevwe
Omo-Ejakpovi, Francis Omohwo, Victor Omokughegbe, Christopher
Onomijega, Aruegodore Oyiborhoro, Ejiro Ughwujabo, Alice Ukueku, Simon
Udu, Felicia Uwejeyah, Mejero Uwejeyah, Moses Uwejeyah, Philip Wanogho
and Lily Wekpe.
General Meeting opened with prayers said by Moses Uwejeya.
The meeting proceeded along the following issues with Peter Ekeh, Chair
of Urhobo Historical Society, presiding.
on the Role and Authority of the General Meeting of Urhobo Historical
Society by Peter Ekeh to indicate that
the General Membership Meeting provides members
the opportunity to exercise its authority to set the agenda for UHS
activities for the ensuing year.The
Membership also delegates such authority to implement the agenda, to
the Editorial and Management Committee which in turn, assigns
functions and duties involved, to its executive.
Membership Meetings are held once a year, usually on the first weekend
of November at the end of UHS Annual Conference.
the mission of UHS is to serve the history and
culture of Urhobo people. History does not have to be left only to
academicians to write but should be opened to anyone who has a story to tell. School
teachers, church ministers, parents, village elders and members of
the masses, including traditional custodians of the knowledge of how
our people lived, can write history.
Adoption of the Minutes of the 2001 General Meeting
Ekeh called on members to point out for discussion and for necessary
correction, any errors or omission of facts, which theymay have discovered in the minutes.
Copies of the minutes had been distributed prior to and at this meeting
There were no
comments on the minutes as presented. A motion to adopt the minutes as
written was subsequently made by Isaac Mowoe. The motion was seconded
by Aruegodore Oyiborhoro and passed by the house.
Matters Arising from the 2001 Minutes
Planning for the 2003 UHS Annual Conference and General Meeting
Oghenede suggested the adoption of London
as the venue for the 2003 Conference and General Meeting. He felt that
the Urhobo in London have come to know what the UHS mission is, and
are better prepared than any other group of people, at this point in
time, to host another UHS Conference and General Meeting.
wanted to know how much was being done and how much is expected when
hosting a UHS Conference. Francis Ogbomo directed members present to
the youthfulness of Emejero and asked the house to congratulate her for
her initiative. The house complied by giving her a round of applause.
Barovbe reminded members of an observation he made earlier that UHS is
destined to become a frontline major force in dealing with issues of
interest to Urhobo Nation. Although UHS has been in existence for
sometime now, and has successfully held conferences in the United
States and now in the United
Kingdom, many of our people are still
not aware of UHS activities. He therefore urged that the 2003 UHS
Conference and General Meeting be moved to our homeland of Nigeria.
including Felicia Emessiri-Akusu, Lily Obiomah and Lily Wekpe contended that UHS is not sufficiently
prepared neither isNigeria
stable enough to host the conference in 2003. Francis Ogbomo, however,
admonished members to understand that Nigeria
has not been a stable country for sometime now, and that UHS should not
have to wait for Nigeria
to become a perfect environment for it to be considered a conference
asked the house to consider the amount of funding needed before
choosing the appropriate venue to host the conference.
discussions about the choice of a site for the 2003 UHS Annual
brought to a close with a general consensus that the conference will
return to London for
the year 2003. The General Meeting also urged the Editorial and
Committee to strongly pursue all efforts towards the possibility of
holding the 2004 UHS Annual Conference and General Meeting in Nigeria.
Plans for the Growth and Future of Urhobo Historical Society
Discussions on the Establishment of Urhobo
Society Endowment Fund led by Peter Ekeh
opened the discussions by walking members through how Urhobo Historical
Society as an organization, came into being. The Society, he stressed,
been funded through the generosity of members of its Editorial and
Management Committee and members of Urhobo Historical Society. The
Society also received a one-time donation from Senator David Dafinone.
Since its inception in August 1999, the activities and responsibilities
of the organization have grown immensely to the point where it is
increasingly difficult to rely solely on the goodwill of members.In order for UHS to continue its important
mission of serving Urhobo history and culture, Peter Ekeh called for
the establishment of UHS Endowment Fund, to generate funds necessary
for running the affairs and services of UHS.
also talked about the earlier forms of funding which include two levels
of membership dues, namely regular and charter membership dues. Regular
annual membership dues were set for $50.00 and those who can afford
it were asked to pay to the extent of their ability, $200.00 or more.
Occasionally, UHS also received help from benefactors like David
who at one time donated $2000.00 that was used to buy computers and
much needed accessories. While these forms of help from members and
benefactors are praiseworthy, they are not expected to be enough to
satisfy UHS needs in the long run, hence the current calls for a better
and a more reliable method of funding. Members of the UHS Editorial
and Management Committee believe that an endowment fund is the way to
endowment, both Isaac Mowoe, an attorney, and Godwin Oghenede, a chartered accountant, went on to
explain, the capital or the amount collected and invested, is left
intact and only the returns on the
investment is to be used. About 10 percent of the returns are expected
to be channeled back into the fund to boost the original capital.
If UHS wants
or likes to proceed with the idea of establishing the fund, Isaac Mowoe
and Godwin Oghenede called on UHS
Executive to speed up its efforts to register the Society as a non
profit organization, both in United States and the United Kingdom,in order to
qualify for tax exempt status which could go a long way to encourage
and assure prospective donors that donations into the fund will be
should also be made, Isaac Mowoe advised, to establish an endowment
outside UHS to administer the fund. Under this arrangement, UHS will
be required to submit its budget to the board for approval. The
budget by law must be implemented or spent according to the approved
agenda. A bank will also likely be nominated to provide officers to
work with UHS in handling the proceeds from the fund.
Omo-Ejakpovi suggested that the endowment board when established, should be based in Nigeria
but have working relationships with people in North America
Obruche supported the idea of endowment, which he said, is becoming
citing the current efforts by Ughelli Anglican Diocese to raise some 30
million naira for developmental projects.Following
this endorsement, the General Meeting as indicated by consensus,
adopted the idea of an endowment.
Meeting also acted on a suggestion by Peter Ekeh, to appoint an UHS
Endowment Fund Exploration Committee to devise the plan for
fund. The committee members so appointed, to undertake this task are
Johnson Barovbe in Nigeria, Godwin Oghenede in the United Kingdom, Isaac
Mowoe and Andrew Edevbie, both in the United States.
Johnson Barovbe cautioned that in raising money for the
endowment, UHS should consider asking individuals or groups to pay
a pre-assigned amount of money. Relying on voluntary donations has
not in the past, worked well for our people.
Uwejeyah while expressing her gratitude to current members of UHS,
Urhobo people in London to
organize themselves and to help UHS to
including Simon Udu and Grace Aghoghovbia,
supported the ideas put forward by Felicia Uwejeyah and Johnson Barovbe
but advised UHS to consult with individuals and various Urhobo groups
Simpson Obruche called on interested individuals to take
responsibility and act on behalf of clans or unions. Onajevwe
Omo-Ejakpovi pointed to the possibility of using the clan or union
leaderships as units for collecting assigned money.
Godwin Oghenede drew the attention of the house to the
distinction between membership dues and contributions towards the
endowment fund. Johnson Barovbe urged others to contribute generously
the fund, in addition to paying their membership dues as required.
Oghenede proposed to the house to establish two ranks of membership
namely individual memberships and corporate memberships. Under this
arrangement, it would be possible for interested persons as a group say
as members of a union or clan, to take up corporate membership, in
addition to signing up
for membership on individual basis. Both Grace Aghoghovbia and Lily
Wekpe successfully persuaded the house to shelve the idea of corporate
membership. Members seemed to prefer that UHS remain for now, an
owned, supported and managed by individuals who subscribe to its
6. Establishment of UHS Service Awards
Authorization of Service Awards
presented the UHS Editorial and Management Committee’s proposal of the
Service Awards by calling on Aruegodore Oyiborhoro to read out to the
hearing of the General Meeting the text of the proposal.
as read by Aruegodore Oyiborhoro was intended to honor the memory of
individuals of Urhobo ancestry, who have distinguished themselves in
their services or contributions to the cause of Urhobo history and
culture in their life times. The awards will be presented to recognize
those men and women who have made, or who are making contributions,
which mirror the life-long dedication and commitment to the cause of
Urhobo nation as shown by those after whom the awards are named. The
text recommended five service awards namely Mukoro Mowoe Service Award;
Co-Leadership Service Award; AgbontarenUdih Diaspora Service Award; M.G. Ejaife
Education Service Award; and Adogbeji
Urhobo History Service Award.
Aruegodore Oyiborhoro’s presentation, Mr. Francis Ogbomo
asked the house to pay tribute to the brave and illustrious men for
whom the proposed service awards are named, by rising for one minute
of silence in their memory and in gratitude for their services to the
cause of Urhobo Nation. At the end of the minute silence, the Chair,
Peter Ekeh, offered a short prayer in their reverence.
Christopher Onomijega praised UHS Editorial and Management
Committee for the proposal and added that he personally knew two of
the men cited, M. G. Ejaife andAgbontaren Udih whom he met in 1941. He indicated
that these men were among those whom Urhobo people looked up to as
heroes and role models in the times past.
On a motion
moved by Edirin Erhiaganoma and seconded by Simpson Obruche, the
Meeting approved on a voice vote, the proposal to institute the five
UHS Service Awards as presented.
Establishment of UHS Service Awards Selection Committee
approval of the UHS Service Awards, Peter Ekeh called on the house to
set up a Committee to undertake the task of making recommendations for
Meeting, by consensus, authorized UHS Editorial and Management
set up UHS Service Awards Selection Committee to be made up of two
individuals each from North America and Europe
and three from Nigeria,
as committee members.
Reconstitution of Editorial and Management Committee of Urhobo
Historical Society and Authorization for Establishment of UK &
Europe Coordinating Committee and Authorization for Exploring the
Possibility of Establishing a Nigeria Coordinating Committee of Urhobo
called on members to authorize the reconstitution of UHS Editorial and
Management Committee (EMC) which manages the affairs of UHS.He suggested that the General Meeting grant
the authority to createseparate
working groups to look after the affairs of UHS in North
America, Europe, and Nigeria.
Christopher Onomijega proposed to the General Meeting to
retain the current set up in Europe.
urged UHS not to overlook the need for some working relation between
the different international groups for the purpose of coordinating
activities. He suggested that the groups in Nigeria
and Europe can work to provide the North
American group with valuable assistance that will help UHS to fulfill
On a motion
moved by OnajevweOmo-Ejakpovi
and seconded by Christopher Onomijega, the
General Meeting adopted the resolution to authorize thefollowing:
(a). the reconstitution of EMC,retaining all of its 9 active members and adding new members for
a total of 15.
setting up of a UK & Europe Coordinating Committee, with members
drawn from active members of the United Kingdom & Belgium
Organizing Committee of UHS Third Annual Committee and other members in
the area, for a total
of nine . The new set-up will coordinate the affairs of UHS in Europe
and work with the EMC.
Meeting charged members of the Conference and Communique Committee --
Mowoe, Aruegodore Oyiborhoro, Edirin Erhiaganoma and Andrew Edevbie -- to come up with a communiqué
that will reflect all of the concerns expressed during the three days
of the conference.
Obruche asked the committee to pay particular attention when preparing
communiqué, to issues dealing with the survival of Urhobo
and culture, and the awfulness of environmental degradation of
He called the attention of the Annual General Meeting to the existence
of Urhobo Language Vetting Committee.
of General Meeting
Ogbomo in anote
of gratitude to all those who were present, called on the Editorial and
Management Committee to write to thank those who contributed to the
the conference. He also called on Urhobo Scholars and intellectuals
wherever they are, to rise up to the challenge of the times by writing,
speaking and deliberating on matters of interest to Urhobo Nation.
gave a vote of thanks to all those present, including all speakers and
presenters; Johnson Barovbe for helping to publicize the conference in
newspapers such as The Guardian and Urhobo Voice; members of the Conference
and Communiqué Committee, namely, Isaac Mowoe, Aruegodore
Oyiborhoro, Edirin Erhiaganoma and Andrew Edevbie; and members of the
London Conference Committee namely Simpson Obruche, Wilson Ometan,
Francis Omohwo, Godwin Oghenede, Felicia Emessiri-Akusu (Belgium),
Ogboru, Aghogho Natufe, and Ejiro Ughwujabo
for their contributions.
the General Meeting was about to conclude its 2002 session, Johnson Barovbe asked all those present to rise as he
led them in singing Urhobo Anthem, Orere R’ Ijesa