Vice President of the Urhobo Peoples International Assembly, UPIA, Chief Godwin Okporoko, has expressed dismay at the attitude of some political leaders in the state who tagged the group as anti-government without taking time to study what they stand for, adding that the group is totally apolitical and he cannot be in a group that will fight Governor Okowa.
Okoroko gave the assurance during the maiden meeting of the group and election of National Officers at Orho-Agbarho, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State with a huge crowd from all 24 Kingdoms of Urhobo nation in attendance.
He said: ‘’I am an Executive Assistant on Security to the Governor. I can’t fight the man that feeds me. We are only fighting for Urhobo interest and bringing what belongs to Urhobo to Urhobo. We are in support of the Governor on all issues that will bring progress to Urhobo. By 2023 the governor will give order to those of us in PDP and that is what we will follow. The same applies to APC members or members of other political parties who would take directive from their leaders. The group belongs to all political parties but we are here to fight for Urhobo.
‘’Let me emphasize that as members of this group, we have the right to visit all party leaders to discuss the way forward for Urhobo. We can visit anybody whether in PDP or APC or any political party whom we believe can bring results to Urhobo. If there is an Ijaw man, Ibo or Akwa-Ibom man whom we believe has Urhobo interest at heart, we shall visit him. I therefore appeal to all Urhobo patriots to close ranks with this group to move Urhobo forward’’, Okporoko added.
On his part, former member of the Delta State House of Assembly and National President of the group, Hon Chief Keston Okoro Muhammed Al-Amin has also assured that the whole essence of the group was to fight for Urhobo interest and not to fight any political leader, urging all Urhobo to close ranks to bring back the lost glory of Urhobo nation.
Addressing the gathering, the National President who described the group to be apolitical, listed the objectives to include to protect, enhance, promote the socio-cultural and political interest of Urhobo when ever any threats is identified, promote the spirit of oneness and love amongst Urhobos, initiate moves towards industrialization and quality education among the people, protect Urhobo and secure the land at all times, to stand firmly as official mouth piece of Urhobo on issues of national interest at all times, be committed to the protection, preservation and promotion of Urhobo arts, culture and cultural heritage through concert, carnivals and such other events and to always propose and advice government on areas of interest for Urhobo people towards bringing solution to identified problems.
‘’This group is not out to fight any individual but to fight for the pride of Urhobo nation. This is not a personal battle but a collective one. We shall address issues of common interest to Urhobo be it economic, political or cultural. This group is not political but socio-cultural. We are not here to fight Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and there shall be no reason to fight him. We are not even going to fight the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege or President Buhari. We are here to look at issues bordering on Urhobo welfare and pride so as to collectively tackle them and bring solutions instead of fighting our leaders’’, Hon Keston Okoro Al-Amin added.
He recounted many battles fought by Urhobo youths together with youths from other areas and the results derived from those fights, adding that the average Urhobo man was a man of courage and guts.
‘’Far back 1927, Urhobo, through Chief Oshue Ogbiyerin of Orhuwhorun, held the colonial government hostage over tax matters and we got results. Why are our people afraid to take challenges and fight for our rights today? The time to fight for Urhobo interest is now. UPU is divided and we must do everything to get Urhobo united behind one leader. We should not divide ourselves. Everybody should surrender whatever they have to fight for Urhobo, be it physical strength, spiritual, religious or intellectual strength’’, he said.
Among those elected and sworn-in at the meeting to the executive council of the body are Hon Dr Liege Lord Keston Okoro Muhammed Al-Amin, National President; Chief Godwin Okporoko, Vice President; Chief Matthias Efe Olowu, National Secretary and Prince Kingsley Oboruruaria, National Treasurer.