THE President inaugurated the National Conference in Abuja on Monday. By so doing, he has fulfilled another promise of â€œthis nebulously packaged Transformation Agendaâ€. Another noise making gathering of the people has commenced. It shall produce nothing except the desires and wishes of the man who singled out everyone that is qualified to be member, and that is the President himself.
That is not to say that one or two people, or even a group or tribe, besides the President, shall not benefit from the gathering at Abuja. Yes, a few others shall definitely benefit from this jamboree that is meant to â€œdeceive most Nigerians a little moreâ€.
The Urhobo tribe of the Niger Delta has benefited majorly already, even before the inauguration of the Conference. This â€œluckyâ€ tribe which ranked the fifth largest tribe in Nigeria re-identified and reaffirmed all her enemies in one swoop â€“ courtesy of the selection of delegates. This is what the Urhobo Nation has benefited so far and there may be other groups or nationality that might have come into this category. But for now, l will limit my observation and comment to the Urhobo people only.
Who are these enemies of the Urhobo people? They are three, at least for now and these are:  Urhobo sons and daughters in politics,  Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan; Governor of Delta State and  Goodluck Jonathan; the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There is no way one can accuse these great individuals without verifiable evidence on ground. I shall attempt producing the evidences by presenting facts of conviction for everyone to peruse. But I need to say one or two things about the Urhobo of the Niger Delta region first. Who are they?
The Urhobo speaking people are geographically concentrated in the central senatorial district [or call it zone] of Delta State. It borders the Isoko, Izon, Ukwani, Itsekiri all around and with its numerical population strength, it has remained the stabilising factor of that region, ditto Nigeria as a whole. I will give only two examples of its stabilising facto role-playing for the purpose of this presentation.
Major General David Ejoor, a retired General and former Chief of Army Staff, is from Urhobo tribe. When he was the Governor of the Mid-West Region, he reverted the banishing of the Olu of Itsekiri to Ode-Itsekiri by the previous government of Western Region. He returned the monarch to Warri to the glory of the Itsekiri nation. What a beautiful role in proving to be oneâ€™s brother keeper.
The same David Ejoor, also as the Governor of Mid-West region, refused bluntly to yeild the geographical land of the region for Odumegwu Ojukwu exploitation when the later was on his suicidal voyage to annexing Nigeria. Odumegwu Ojukwu was to put a price of â€œeither dead or aliveâ€ on David Ejoor for no other crime but â€œkeeping Nigeria oneâ€ from his military point of view. This is the Urhobo Nation and her people that we are talking about.
However, the table has turned against this same people that would do everything to â€œkeep their brothers safeâ€ if it is even to their own detriment. Now, permit me to give brief details
First with the Urhobo politicians: They stand out in selling the collective political birthright of the Urhobo for their personal greed. Today, all of them queue up in Asaba for the handout from the Governor and the Governor, being such a dangerously clever political animal would always know what he wants and would always demand that he wants from them. And of course, these Urhobo politicians are willing, at all times, to pay the price of betraying the course of their people for the largesse they get from the man that controls the collective wealth of Delta State. Will posterity not question these politicians when our ancestors shall rise against them? Let us move to the second enemy.
This is the Governor himself, a man that can better be described to be Urhobo without doing injustice to his Itsekiri tribe. For the records, Emma Uduagha was brought to Urhobo land [Masogar] at a tender age of five years. He grew up cutting his teeth of wisdom in Urhobo, drank Urhobo water, ate its food and made his connection that was to eventually bring him to Asaba as a Governor. Yes, James Ibori; his predecessor in office might have been Itsekire maternally but it remains on record that the Urhobo made Uduaghan the governor. What the Urhobo are getting from Uduaghan now is an avowed stand of an enemy that must route out the people [Urhobo] politically. Time will judge as there is what is called nemesis, which shall visit every individual and their works at the end. How shall Uduaghan be judged? Only time will tell. Let us move to the third enemy.
During the general election of 2011 that brought Goodluck Jonathan to the presidency, every vote of all voters in Urhobo land was recorded for him. What do we have in return? Urhobo people that are not good enough to be minister no any important place at the federal level. Kenneth Gbagiâ€™s appointment as Minister of State for Education by Jonathan did not come out of a slot for the Urhobo people. That young man â€“ Gbagi â€“ worked his way independently through his Ikiagbodo godfather to get that appointment and of course, the honey moon did not last. But why will Jonathan be this ruthless with the Urhobo?
I must admit knowing the reason for his grudge with the Urhobo as being the inimical role James Ibori played, before, during and after succeeding the late Yaâ€™Adua as president. Ibori played it rough, l must admit. That being what it was, Jonathan became the President at the end to the glory of God. Ibori was later rounded up by the â€œlaw of Kamaâ€, with Jonathan hand though â€“ a hand that started from â€œtheirâ€ godfather in Ikiagbodo.
If Ibori has been this far disgraced, why will Goodluck Jonathan not willing, at this point in time, to let the sleeping dog lie? Has every Urhobo man become James Ibori that must be treated like leper?
For now, it is only lamentation for the Urhobo people. There is a word of comfort however for this forgotten tribe of the Niger Delta. Somebody should announce to them that their hour of glory shall soon come whenever they are ready! The challenge is theirs!
GODWIN ETAKIBUEBU, a public affairs commenator , wrote from Lagos.