-Says He Wants Community To Be A Model For Others In Urhobo Nation
-As UDA Moves To Setup Sanitation, Traffic Committees
By Daniel Dafe
President General, Urhuoka Community in Oruarivie-Abraka Kingdom of Delta State, Evang. John Avwenaghegha, has warned against cultism and criminality in the area, saying that his administration will not tolerate criminality and is committed to reconciling every aggrieved person, family and quarter together so that they can speak in one voice to protect the community’s slogan that states that “Urhuoka is one and if Urhuoka is progressing, it’s for all of us.”
Avwenaghegha and other members of the new executive were sworn in on the 26th of December, 2021 to pilot the affairs of Urhuoka Development Association (UDA), the umbrella body of Urhuoka community.
Speaking to Oasis Magazine recently, he also lamented the invasion of the community’s land by the government of Edo State, wondering why their land was willed out by Edo State government to a company called Presco Nigeria limited, adding that his powers are limited, but noted that the traditional ruler in the area is on top of the matter.
The PG recently visited the Urhuoka women folk to get them abreast of his administrative blueprint, just as he asked them to caution their children against involvement in cultism, stealing, rape, robbery and every other criminal act that can ridicule the name of the community.
Continuing, he said he urged the women in the community to be calm and not be seen taking actions that will not bring glory to the community.
According to him, so many policies have been enacted by his administration, saying that the policies are going to be doggedly enforced through stringent efforts.
Speaking about the policies, he said: “If you look at Urhuoka from River road to Benin express Road, people build shops on top of the tarred road and it is not good for us. It poses danger to road users. So we told the women to advice these people to remove these structures from the road so that they can be protected and not endanger the lives of road users. Road users could be me, you or even them themselves.
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“We have also asked them to restrain their children from involvement in cultism because it has no role to play in the life of humans. For instance, I have always made mention of this advice; if i am a managing director of a company that Is owned by myself and I am into cult, if I am not the entire head of the cult and anybody who is also my cult member is seeking for a job and that person is higher than me in cult, I cannot hire such a person because the person will use that aspect of our lives to subdue me as the managing director and by that, the company will collapse. So cultism does not pay. It only pays when you have an evil intention against your neighbours. I plead with cult members in Urhuoka to always at anytime if they have issues and cannot resolve it to let the President General know.
“I am also still appealing to my brothers, children and to my subjects who by one way or the other got themselves involved in cultism, that there is still room for them to say “I am no longer a member.” So, they can renounce cultism and live a free life. Renunciation has been and it will be approved because little children that are into cultism today did not know the importance, effect and further implications of the association they belong to, but as a UDA President General, I have a focus and the focus Is to sensitize my people to the development of the only Urhuoka community we have. “
He continued: “So therefore, in Urhuoka, I need decency because in the history of the Urhobo people, Abraka is said to be the first Urhobo origin that settled in Urhobo land and going by this, Abraka has Urhuoka as the senior son and this automatically makes it possible that I am the foremost community President General in Urhobo land. So I need decency. I want Urhuoka community to be used as an example of good conduct in the whole of Urhobo nation not just in Abraka.”
He called on people in the community to take the things of God seriously, noting that one with God is majority.
“When I assumed office, I told the women that PHCN was not forth coming but there was need for dialogue and we dialogued, then light started coming. But everybody is not a lover of light. So, there must be people who will want to do the otherwise. But I am promising the women that where we are going, we will arrive there safely. Prosperity awaits Urhuoka community,” he averred.
Furthermore, he thanked the cleric that was invited on the 18th of November, 2021, for the liberation of the land through prayers, stressing that the prayers were answered “because since that time till date there have been good results and changes.”
“We are also telling the women that any policy that has been put in place must be adhered to in order for us to progress. Our road that was tarred for us is a narrow one unlike the express road and therefore we have advised our subjects, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers not to park their bikes along the road if they have anything to do with buying and selling nearby. They should always remove their bikes from the tarred road if they must spend more than 2mins. Then if you know you won’t spend more than 2mins, remain on top of your bike so people know that you are not parking. This is also applicable to vehicle owners. Very soon, the executive of Urhuoka Development Association shall inaugurate a tire lock Committee which we call traffic committee.
“We are also going to inaugurate a sanitation committee because so many persons are deviants. They have turned all accessible roads to a dumping ground. More so, this life of fraud, people no longer cooking in their houses but believe in restaurant foods and dump takeaway packs, polythene bags and empty water cans anywhere they like. We will not have any regrets by the time we catch one person we can use as a scapegoat to serve as an example for others,” he added.
Speaking further, he took a swipe at the vigilante in the area, stating that “they have never lived up to expectations.”
Adding: “If it is left for me, I will recruit my heart desired men to do the work of security even without them bearing the name of vigilante in the area.”
“We are still trading in our market by the grace of God and we are still pleading that our women should allow neighboring friends and traders to come to the community and sell freely. What makes Obiaruko market to be popular is that they permit east, west, north and south to come in and trade freely. The only difference is that if you are smart, you get a lock up store or a shade but if you are not smart, you still have an open space to trade. So our women should encourage women from other tribes to come and trade with them.”
He said: “I wrote personally to the chairman of the Local Government but because of his party ambition in the upcoming elections, he refused to act when I requested of him to approve that all those small structures that are posing traffic threats to road users be removed he could not act and I am so disappointed; I am saying this without regret and I can be quoted. We need decency in this community. If the community is good under your administration it is your credit but if you disappoint the leadership of the community to do the otherwise, it will be seen as if you are a corrupt leader of the local government but in any case, we promise him that this administration will work closely with him. It is left for him to reject us or to accept us and by accepting us is to oblige us of our request and to reject us is to deny us of our request.
“Till this very moment that I am granting you this interview, the Chairman of the local government felt that the letter I wrote to him is a child’s play but it is not. So, I am still using this medium to appeal to him that Urhuoka is not left out from this local government and if he must allow the leadership to groom the community to the favour of his party in the upcoming election, then he should consider and approve the letter requesting him to give an approval that this small structures that are posing traffic threats to road users be removed.”
He urged women in the area to take advantage of his open door policy to bring their issues to him whenever the need arises.
The PG also called for a change of name from Urhuoka Development Association to Urhuoka community Development Council.
His words: “I have approached so many Government functionaries and they have always looked at the name that bring us together as a group or segment of some persons and on this note, I want to appeal to the critical stakeholders of Urhuoka community that there is need to change the name. It is more meaningful and weighty for government recognition and by the time this one is approved, we will not even wait until the 26th of December, 2022 where our administration is going to exercise the first Urhuoka day of our tenure. So, if this name is considered and approved, the name before that day would have been registered with the Cooperate Affairs Commission and we will make progress and approach government functionaries.”
The PG who also visited elders in the community, hinted that he has appealed to them to also work closely with this administration.
“Nobody should expect that the leadership of Urhuoka community is going to do anything for them. People should think of what they are going to do for the progress of Urhuoka community and I have told you that those who have hidden ideas that they are keeping to themselves should bring it to the excos and we will deliberate on it, build it and work on it. It is then you will enjoy this administration. But if you stay and frown and keep watching us on where we will make mistakes so that you can laugh at us; the grave is your home place because this administration will not fail this community if the community supports the administration,” he added.
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