Moves are underway to address the long-standing disunity in the Urhobo community in the UK as Council of Urhobo Chiefs and Heads of Urhobo Kingdoms call an Urhobo Unity General Meeting.
The combined group which has been referred to as the Urhobo Leadership Forum had earlier in, October 2015, alerted the community to its efforts to end the 3-years long dispute in the community. The crisis followed Urhobo Progress Union elections of 2012 which led to the emergence of two UPU factions; and has created real divisions in the community.
There has been a number of interventions both from parties in the UK and from UPU headquarters in Nigeria, but no sustained progress has been achieved to date. As the two factions approach the end of their tenures, the Council of Urhobo Chiefs, responding to calls from the community to intervene in the interest of unity, called an Urhobo Leadership Summit which held in October 2015. According to a press release from the summit, the leaders in attendance, representing Council of Chiefs and Presidents of all active Urhobo Kingdom unions in the UK, affirmed their commitment to the unity of Urhobo in 2016.
The group is said to have been working behind the scenes, consulting and engaging to secure a united Urhobo and have recently written to all Urhobo people in the UK to attend a General Meeting where they will be updated on progress to date, discuss next steps and proposed forward plan. Click Here for details of the meeting.
President of Council of Urhobo Chiefs, Chief Philip Emagbetere said that:
There can be no doubt that the division is hurting the community, nobody wants it anymore, and we must all do everything possible to achieve unity. We want the Urhobo people to come to this meeting and have their say on the way forward.
The heads of all active Urhobo Kingdoms have been instrumental in the drive for unity, the President of Agbarha-Otor, Mr Sam Irivie said:
Pride is a valuable human attribute and Urhobos have it in abundance; the issue is that people should know what point to set aside their pride for a good cause otherwise pride can become a problem. I urge all Urhobo people to reassess themselves and embrace the vision of unity which has always been a central goal of the Urhobo nation.
Urhobo young people have also raised their concerns about the division in the community and participated in the summit to add their views to the way forward. One of the younger people, Mr Onos Chanoms said:
I am very excited about the present moves by the joint collaboration of Council of Chiefs and Heads of Urhobo Kingdoms in calling the first of a kind meeting to discuss the way forward for Urhobos in the UK. As youths, we are tired of talking about unity, we need to get over these challenges so that we can focus on making progress in all areas.