Call for Nominations for

Urhobo Historical Society (UHS) is calling for nominations of deserving Urhobo men and women to be chosen for the following seven different categories of awards during its forthcoming annual conference in Effurun and
Ovu, Nigeria, Novemberer 26-29, 2009.  Please e-mail or fax a brief biography of your nominee and reasons why he/she should be selected.  All nominations must be received no later than October 31st, 2009. We regret the late date for this call. But we would be delighted if you would nonetheless accommodate our deadline. Please address your correspondence to:

Dr. Aruegodore Oyiborhoro
Chair, UHS Awards Committee
E-mail:  ovwa22@aol.com
Fax:    718. 622. 1908

Background History:

The Third Annual General Meeting of Urhobo Historical Society, which was held in
London, United Kingdom, on November 3, 2002, created five categories of awards that were named in honour of eminent Urhobos who served Urhobo history and culture in significant ways and are now deceased. The first awards were made at the Fifth Annual Conference of the Society at Agbarha-Otor on October 31, 2004. Chief Mukoro Mowoe Service Award was given to Chief Michael Ibru; Dr. Chief F. E. Esiri received Omohwovo Okoro Co-Leadership Award; Chief P. A. Wanogho, from London, U.K. received Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Award; Professor F. M. A. Ukoli received M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award; and Chief Daniel A. Obiomah received Adogbeji Salubi Urhobo History Award.  At the Sixth Annual Conference, two of these awards were made. Professor Joseph Akpokodje received the Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Award while Mrs. Rose Inisiagho received the M. G. Ejaife Education Award. In 2006, at the Seventh Annual Conference, Professor Obaro Ikime received the M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award; Mr. Johnson Adjan received Omokomoko/Ogute Urhobo Music Award; Chief D.O. Ohwovoriole  received  Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award;  while Chief  Chief Johnson O. Omajowa (of UPU Ibadan fame) and  Chief  Humphery Idisi jointly received  Agbotaren Udi Diaspora Service Award

At the Sixth Annual Conference, which was held at Effurun in  October 2005, two additional awards were created. They were named  as  Omokomoko Osokpa and Ogute Otan (joint)  Urhobo Music Award and M. O. Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award.

This announcement is to call for nominations in all seven categories listed below. The Award Committee reserves the right not to make awards in all or some of the awards in any year. This year's awards are scheduled to be made at the venue of the Thanksgiving Ceremony of the Eighth Annual Conference which will be held at Ovu on Sunday, November 29, 2009.

[1]    Chief Mukoro Mowoe Service Award

This would be an award that reflects service that has as its focus and impact the entirety of Urhobo history and culture. Chief Mowoe's life epitomizes such service. There is in it an element of the unknown. In other words, this type of service should carry such marks and risks of a pioneer. The quest here is to advance Urhobo collective welfare with endeavours that are pioneering and difficult, but with consequences that benefit all Urhobo.

Criterion: This type of award should be for a life time of service that approximates the above attributes.

[2]   Omorohwovo Okoro Co-Leadership Service Award


Urhobo Brotherly Society was the ancestor of Urhobo Progress Union. Its founding leader was Omorohwovo Okoro, an Ovu trader in Warri in the 1920s and 1930s. Professor Obaro Ikime, Chief Mukoro Mowoe's biographer, tells us that Omorohwovo Okoro voluntarily relinquished leadership to Mukoro Mowoe, because he thought the complexities of the new colonial setting required younger and better trained energies. He preferred to work for the advancement of the Urhobo people by serving and working with other leaders. This is a virtue that has served Urhobo well. Those who work with others in leadership positions help to advance our common welfare. Their work should be fully recognized and encouraged. Those modern Urhobo who deserve this award should come from the ranks of selfless public servants who seek out Urhobo issues and work for their success, even if the credit is claimed by others.

Criterion:  Recipients should show life time commitments of service to Urhobo causes by working with other leaders, without fighting for higher offices all the time.

[3] Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Service Award

Agbotanren Udih was one of the three Trustees of Urhobo Progress Union when it was incorporated in 1946. Chief Udih was resident in Benin City and was President of the Benin City branch of the U. P. U. for many decades. But he was famous throughout Urhoboland for a unique type of service that he rendered to Urhobo travellers who went through Benin City. Many Urhobos went to Okitipupa through the creeks in the 1920s. But with the establishment of motor transportation in later decades, Benin City became the corridor through which most Urhobos travelled to various locations outside Urhoboland. Those were dangerous times. Armel's Transport Services and other transportation companies, through whose vehicles many travelled, passed through Benin City. Chief Udih arranged safe haven for Urhobo travellers. Those who had nowhere to rest, especially at night, went to Udih's abode. Moreover, he provided important leadership to the Urhobo community in Benin City and Benin country. Such service to Diaspora Urhobos was crucial for the survival and expansion of Urhobos throughout West Africa.

Criterion: Those who would be recipients of this award would be men and women who have served Urhobo Diaspora communities, outside Urhobo land.

[4] M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award

Urhobo College was an educational endeavour that deserves to be emboldened not only in Urhobo history, but in Nigerian history. Many people sacrificed their time and money to conceive and implement this dream. M. G. Ejaife was the chief steward of these efforts. His service as Principal of Urhobo College helped to create the momentum for the expansion of education and the craving for education in Urhobo land. This award would be given to individuals who have served to advance the fields of education, acting as models for others to follow.

Criterion: This award should be to individuals who have made major achievements in education and have helped to advance educational vocations that have benefited Urhobos.

[5]    Adogbeji Salubi Urhobo History Service Award

Chief Salubi did many things for Urhobo. His history of
Urhobo College and the UPU has been published in our web site. His account of British colonialism in Urhobo land is seminal and is already published in our web site. His account of the origins of Sapele is superb. It seems important that we create an award for those who advance the native history of the Urhobo people.

Criterion: Those who advance Urhobo history in the tradition of Chief Adogbeji Salubi deserve this award. Service in this area is rare, but an award of this type will encourage it and produce more recipients of this service award.

[6]  Omokomoko Osokpa and Ogute Otan (joint) Urhobo Music Award


Urhobo music traditions are ancient. Two late maestroes who were great teachers and exponents of Urhobo traditions of music were Chief Omokomoko Osokpa of Orogun and  Ogute Otan of Udu. Omokomoko consolidated Urhobo traditions of folk dance and music for modern mass culture. Ogute promoted the Udje genre of dance and music, making it accessible to the generality of the Urhobo people.

Criterion: This award is for those who promote Urhobo traditions of dance and music for mass distribution.

[7] M. O. Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award

The efforts to promote a uniform style of literacy in the writing and reading of Urhobo language date back to 1948 when Urhobo Progress Union set up Urhobo Literacy Committee. Unfortunately, it floundered. In 1952 a revival effort was made under a new name of Urhobo Language Committee. Under the able leadership of Mr. M. O. Ighrakpata, who championed the new effort, Urhobo Language Committee effectively standardized Urhobo orthography and made the reading and writing of Urhobo language a common exercise across Urhobo land.

Criterion:  This award is intended for anyone who has made a major contribution to the development of Urhobo literacy, including the reading and writing of Urhobo language.