By Ufuoma Eugene Ohwevwo
The Urhobo nation is with doubt the fifth largest ethnic nationality in the country and the second largest after the Ijaw in the so-categorized minority ethnic groups in the country. The Urhobo are also the largest ethnic group in Delta State where they constitute about 55% of the population of the state.
The population of the Urhobo at home and in the Diaspora as at 2005 was about 3million. Ironically, and perhaps strangely, the Urhobo nation is the only ethnic nationality in Nigeria with a threshold population of over two million people that does not have a state of its own. And worse still, without a state capital located within its territory.
It is indeed heart-rending when it is considered that, while Ekitiland which was a Division within the then old Ondo Province in the old Western Region, just as Urhobo was a Division within the old Delta Province and under the same Western Region, has since become a state of its own, the Urhobo are yet without a state of their own despite its contiguous geographical territory and an overwhelming capability of building a strong economy considering its vast natural resources.
There is no doubt that this stark injustice among others which the Urhobo nation have been subjected to over the years in spite of its huge contribution to what is termed common wealth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is ostensibly due to Urhobo low voice occassioned by lacklustre and ineffective representation at the national level of political governance.
The major factor that has been responsible for Urhobo poor political performance, is our attitude of changing our representatives at the National Assembly every four years.
Our attitude of changing our representatives every four years has robbed us of the opportunity of having our representatives occupy chairmanship position of as one of the House rules for occupying chairmanship position of strategic committees in both chambers is tied to the number of years a legislator has spent in the National Assembly.
While it is pertinent to encourage the continuity of her representatives, it is nonetheless more important that only her representatives who have done creditably in terms of effective representation of the Urhobo nation should be supported to return as their representatives.
The Urhobo are aware of those who have represented them effectively, especially within the parameters of moving motions that have had direct impact on their nation and respective constituencies.
They are also aware of their representatives whose constituency empowerment initiatives have had far-reaching impact on their lives and wellbeing.
It is important that as the 2019 election approaches, the Urhobo should be vigilant enough to decipher and distinguish between those who have represented them well and those who are only aspiring to represent them at the National Assembly for their selfish interests
- Ohwevwo, a journalist, author and analyst, writes in from Sapele, Delta State.