The Urhobos in Delta State have again restated their appreciation for the development strides of former governor of the state, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, promising to build on his legacy.
They expressed this position during a get-together organized by the Oghara Elite Forum (OEF), held at Oghara, the headquarters of Ethiope West Local Government Area of the state.
The forum said that every Urhobo should feel proud to identify with the achievements of Ibori and to brace up for the desired new agenda for Oghara Kingdom as being championed by the elite forum.
The state Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, was also honoured with outstanding achiever’s award alongside several distinguished Oghara sons and daughters at the occasion, including the state commissioner for works, Mr. Ben Igbakpa.
Igbakpa, who represented Governor of the state, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan during the colourful ceremony that attracted several eminent Urhobo citizens, noted that the governor’s visible achievements in Oghara and other parts of the state were in tandem with Ibori’s track record of establishing a solid base for human and infrastructural development.
According to him, it was to Uduaghan’s credit, for instance, that the traditional kingdom of Ughara was evolving into an important medical destination not only in Nigeria but the West African sub-region, through the state-of-the-art Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH) Oghara.
Recent medical feats at DELSUTH, particularly the kidney transplant this month have raised the international leadership profile of Governor Uduaghan, Igbakpa noted, saying the OEF’s award in recognition of his remarkable contribution to peace, security and development in Delta State was a befitting addition to the string of local and international awards so far garnered by Uduaghan.
A lecture by the Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor, titled “Oghara: What Does Tomorrow Hold?”, lamented that politics have tended to polarize the community and made agreement on important matters affecting industrialization and general development of the area.
The lecture harped on the need to set new agenda that would include articulating a common position for participation by Oghara Kingdom in the proposed National Dialogue as well as as the sustainable development of the area through the revitalization of the culture of hard work of the Oghara people.
Ugolor, who was also a recipient of the forum’s honours award, however sued for unity among all Oghara and Urhobo people so that the development pace set by Ibori could be sustained and taken to greater heights especially by addressing youth restiveness, which the activist said had been scaring away from Oghara even indigenes interested in investing in the area.
Also speaking, the President-General of OEF, Mr. Tony Omene as well as a former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Emmanuel Ighomena, urged the people to eschew rumour mongering and other divisive tendencies but to support the leaders who are committed to the advancement of Oghara.
Ighomena, while commending the contribution of Ibori, noted that he was personally part and parcel of positive force in the area having made significant input into most of the developmental projects established in Oghara.
Nonetheless, Bishop Blessing Erikafa, warned those in privileged positions to regard such as God-given opportunities to touch lives, instead of amassing wealth that would ultimately constitute a source of insecurity to them and their community.