MR Abel Oshevire is the National Publicity Secretary of the apex Urhobo cultural organisation, the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, worldwide. He was elected alongside Olorogun Moses Taiga and others on the 2nd of January this year at the Urhobo cultural centre, Uvwiamughe-Agbarho.
In this interview, Oshevire spoke on critical issues affecting the union, particularly the seeming factionalization of the union with Chief Joe Omene leading a faction. Excepts:
By Festus Ahon
GIVEN claims by Chief Joe Omene to have been elected at a parallel congress, would you agree that the UPU is factionalised?
It can’t be said in any way that the UPU is fractionalised. We have one UPU Worldwide, which is led by Olorogun (Dr.) Moses Taiga, a man of high integrity and impeccable character, that is sanctioned and recognised by all stakeholders in the Urhobo nation.
The election of Olorogun (Dr.) Moses Taiga and other members of the National Executive Committee at the national emergency congress held at the Urhobo House on Monday, January 2, 2017, was in accordance with the constitution of the UPU. The Union’s constitution empowers the Board of Trustees (BoT), to hold forth in the event of a vacuum, as witnessed when the tenure of the Chief Joseph Omene-led executive expired on December 2, 2016, and were prevented by a competent court of jurisdiction from conducting any election. But Chief Omene picked a handful of people of and went to his house in Mosogar to organise a UPU election.
Who were the delegates? Yet, he is still going about saying he remains the President-Gen of UPU. Which UPU? The man needs to apologise to the Urhobo nation, particularly our royal fathers, that he has insulted.
Do you see the Jan 2, 2016 emergency congress held by three BoT members as fulfilling the provision of the constitution?
With the prevailing situation, the BoT had the option of perpetuating itself in office longer and wait for the annual congress before organising elections, but the members, in their wisdom and patriotism, chose to call an emergency congress to conduct the elections and constitute a proper executive to run the affairs of the Union. Members of the BoT deserve commendation. As to the number of BoT members, all past President-Generals are automatic members. But how many of the former President Generals are alive today? None, except Omene.
Do you see the Moses Taiga-led exco being able to achieve unity in Urhobo land?
Of course the UPU slogan of Urhobo Ovuovo is very much on course with the election of the Olorogun Moses Taiga – led executive. The emergency congress was attended by more than half of the traditional rulers of the Urhobo nation and delegates from all the 24 kingdoms.
No person of substance in the Urhobo nation was left out, apart from those in government so that they don’t use their positions to influence the outcome of the elections. Again, Olorogun Moses Taiga has the capacity to lead a united Urhobo nation.
The constitution in Article 5(4) provides for the kings to participate in the decision making of UPU. Two years ago, the kings purportedly sacked Omene exco and installed Ofotuku exco as interim committee. Again, the king also championed the election of the Taiga-led exco on Jan 2. Would u say the kings action is constitutional?
The kings constituted the Chief Ofotoku interim administration to rescue the UPU from the claws of a desperate man who was bent on turning the Union into his personal estate. So, in collaboration with the BoT and other stakeholders, the emergency national congress was organised to properly elect an executive committee to pilot the affairs of the Union. The congress and elections of Monday January 2, are legal and constitutional.
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