By Daniel Dafe
The traditional council of Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom, has deposed Chief Peter Onojake over his refusal to handover the leadership of the Council of Urhobo Chiefs in Lagos and actions leading to disunity amongst Urhobo people in Lagos State.
The decision was taken today after a meeting of the council presided over by the Ovie, HRM (AVM) Ochuko Ararile (rtd.), Avwaeke 1.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the Spokesman of the kingdom, Chief Nath Anho, disclosed that there has been a misunderstanding of two rival groups of the Council of Urhobo Chiefs in Lagos, saying that in the past, the matter was looked into by Urhobo Traditional Rulers Forum, but was referred to HRM (AVM) Ochuko Ararile (rtd.), Avwaeke 1, Ovie of Umiaghwa-Abraka kIngdom, since the leaders of the two factions at war are indigenes of the kingdom.
He said: “Before now we took a decision that Chief Vincent Ahwh should be the Osu IV of Lagos, while Onojake should be the Speaker; that a constitution should be drawn for the group and a tenure system of five years be introduced so that other persons will have the opportunity to hold such positions.”
According to him, Onojake has consistently disobeyed the Council of Chiefs in the kingdom and the entire Urhobo Traditional Rulers Forum, adding that Onojake’s actions can best be described as gross indiscipline.
He continued: “We told him times without number to embrace peace and unity. He disregarded this order and rather went ahead to form another body, the Urhobo-Isoko group which to us is a move to disunite and destablise Urhobo people in Lagos.”
He wondered why many persons in Urhobo land are not ready to unite and rather, always coming up with splinter groups.
Speaking further, he said that after a thorough consideration of the matter, the kingdom has decided to withdraw Onajake’s title, saying that he is no more an Okakuro of Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom and also ceases to be a member of the traditional council.
Furthermore, the Traditional Prime Minister of the kingdom said the disciplinary measures meted on Onojake were to serve as a deterrent to Urhobo people who like to cause divisions in Urhobo Nation.
He added: “Apart from the sanctions on him, we have also directed that no one in Urhobo land should interact with him and have anything to do with him until further notice.
“We will soon communicate our decisions to Lagos Sate government because he is no more a member of the council of chiefs in Umiaghwa-Abraka Kingdom and he cannot also be in Lagos.”
He called on the Council of Urhobo Chiefs in Lagos to unite and serve as a vanguard to canvass for Urhobo people to be united, stressing that the group must continue to promote Urhobo cultures and traditions.
The Urhobo Traditional Council of Chief Lagos State, Nigeria, was founded in the year 1954 by a group of Urhobo Chiefs residing in Lagos State and its environs. The founder and inaugural chairman of the council, late high Chief Johnson Okpako Okoloba (JP) was also the first Osu (Traditional Ruler) of the Urhobos In Lagos State.