“There is also the vexed issue of an Ovie for the Kingdom. Orogun Kingdom is the only kingdom in Urhoboland without an Ovie. Most people agree that for the development of modern Orogun, an Ovie is a necessity end. The challenge is how to select the Ovie and how it can fit into our culture and tradition. We must note that culture and tradition is dynamic and amenable to change. What we need is dialogue to agree on a process that is equitable and fair”.
-October 2, 2021.News/Comments
It has been well established that every society has the capacity to develop, and all societies strive for development. But the concept of development is a very controversial one. We have argued elsewhere that the definitions and interpretations of development are influenced by history, discipline, ideological orientation and training. Chambers defines development as “good change”. This definition envisages that development is synonymous with progress. This progress should entail an all-encompassing improvement, a process that builds on itself and involve both individuals and social change.
N3000, Please call, 08028592006
Kamghampati argues that development requires growth and structural change, some measure of distributive equity, modernization in social and cultural attitudes, a degree of political transformation and stability, an improvement in health and education so that population growth stabilizes, and an increase in urban living and employment. In our view, development always involves change that affects various facets of life including economic, social and political spheres. Sustainable development means that development is achieved without excess environmental degradation, in a way that both protects the rights and opportunities of coming generations and contributes to compatible approaches.[i]
The history of Orogun Kingdom is essentially derived from centuries of oral tradition. As Otite has argued, reconstruction of history from oral form presents its own problems especially as competing versions claim authenticity. [ii] According to tradition, Orogun along with others like Ogor, Ughele and Agbarha descended from a common ancestor, Oghwoghwa, who migrated from Benin as a result of the hostility of a reigning Oba in the middle of the 14th century.
Orogun is divided into five quarters made up of the male descendants of Orogun namely Umusu, Unukpo, Imodje, Emonu and Ogwa.[iii] Orogun settlements include Imodje, Orhokpokpo, Ekridjerhue, Oko-Idiovwa, Oko Eduviere, Ugono, Emonu, Sanubi, Onyobru, Ovara-Umusu, Ovara-Unukpo, Orhomuru, Igbuku, Okpe, Oku-Uno, Eboh, Arhagba, Obodoeti, Idjerhe, Erhobaro, Ozuaka and Obiogo.
In this paper, we argue that there is the need to build the modern Orogun Kingdom. We posit that for this to happen requires partnership between government, private sector and civil society. Meanwhile, peace, unity and political education are necessary conditions for improvement in the quality of life of Orogun people. We situate the place and contribution of Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege in the development of modern Orogun kingdom and conclude with what needs to be done to produce a modern Orogun kingdom.
DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN OROGUN KINGDOM
There are certain requirements for any modern society. A modern society is expected to meet the basic needs of not just food, water, clothing and shelter but also basic infrastructure (energy, water, roads, etc), employment, education and health care. Indeed, development theorists and practitioners are agreed that to improve the quality of life of citizens require focus on four areas: infrastructure, agriculture, education and health. For this to happen require partnership between government (at all levels-Federal, State and Local Government), private sector and civil society. Peace, unity and political education are necessary conditions for this to happen.
PEACE, UNITY AND POLITICAL EDUCATION
As noted above, peace, unity and political education are necessary conditions for the development of any modern society.
- PEACE: The security of life and property is the primary responsibility of government and a necessary pre-condition for development. Orogun Kingdom is relatively peaceful compared to other kingdoms in Urhoboland and other parts of Delta State. This must be maintained through effective organisation of the traditional system, development unions and other socio-cultural groups. Vigilantes have become part of the security architecture and every village must pay particular attention to how vigilantes are organised, and the kind of people recruited into the vigilante.
One source of conflict in recent time is the role and relationship between Okparas and the President Generals of Development Union. There is the need for education and clarification of the roles of Okparas and PGs as traditional/cultural and developmental respectively. Part of the problem is that in some cases, the PGs are not democratically elected as required in a modern society.
Historically, Orogun people are a united people which can be seen from the battle cry… mmadu a gharu nwane n’ogu….. An Orogun person will not abandon his brother or sister in a fight. However, the unity of Orogun has been tested in the past with the rights and privileges of the five sons and how to adapt the positions to modern society. There is also the vexed issue of an Ovie for the Kingdom. Orogun Kingdom is the only kingdom in Urhoboland without an Ovie. Most people agree that for the development of modern Orogun, an Ovie is a necessity end. The challenge is how to select the Ovie and how it can fit into our culture and tradition. We must note that culture and tradition is dynamic and amenable to change. For instance, we all grew up to the tradition of female circumcision. The myth was that if the woman is not circumcised, during delivery of a baby, when the head of the baby touches the clitoris, the baby will die. But we now know better that it is just a myth and female circumcision has now been made illegal. On the issue of Ovie for Orogun kingdom, what we need is dialogue to agree on a process that is equitable and fair.
Politics is crucial in the development of any modern society. As Aristotle puts it, ‘man is by nature a political animal’. Politics is the master science through which individuals collectively set structure, purpose and ideals in their lives. Politics determines who gets what, when and how. Any society or community can only benefit from politics through active participation. As Plato counselled, if you refuse to participate in politics, you will be ruled by your inferiors. In the words of Edmund Burke, for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Orogun kingdom has been historically marginalised by colonial government and successive governments in Nigeria partly as a result of insufficient participation of Orogun elites in politics. The discrimination is so much that Orogun Kingdom was literally forgotten by successive governments. Oral tradition has it that it is probably because of a curse placed on Orogun by Aboh. This was reversed in the 1980s.
This marginalisation has manifested in the fact that in recent history, very few Orogun sons (no daughter so far) have occupied key political positions in the State- Chief Demas Akpore as Deputy Governor in the old Bendel State, Olorogun Lucky Oghene Omoru as Commissioner for Finance in old Bendel State and Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege as Secretary to State Government (SSG). This is quite low when compared with other clans in Urhoboland. Given the nature of bourgeois politics in Nigeria, infrastructural development and provision of services that improves the quality of life can only be attracted by prominent politicians or traditional rulers. This is why we must engage in political education for Orogun people including the elite to be active in politics.
Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege And The Development Of Modern Orogun Kingdom
The emergence of HE, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege as the Senator representing Delta Central and Deputy President of the ninth Senate is gradually changing the fortunes of Urhobo people including the people of Orogun kingdom. He has attracted several projects to the Delta Central Senatorial District and implemented several constituency projects. There is a theoretical basis of the projects attracted by or implemented by Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege. They are projects in the four areas that development theorists and practitioners have identified that will lead to improvement in quality of lives namely infrastructure, agriculture, education and health. The infrastructure projects are mainly power including street lights, provision of water and roads. The agriculture projects include training and access to loans. The education projects include establishment of new institutions, building and renovation of existing institutions, and provision of modern ICT to schools. The health projects include building of health facilities and renovation of old ones.
With regard to Orogun Kingdom, there are four projects that have the potential to contribute to the development of modern Orogun Kingdom namely the power project to step down electricity, Nigerian Defence Space School, Federal Polytechnic, Orogun and Oil and Gas Industrial Park. These projects will impact on the economic and social lives of Orogun people. There is the need for Orogun people to prepare to receive these projects and position themselves to benefit from them.
The way forward
As I noted in my paper on the Future of Orogun on 23rd November, 2019 in a programme organised by Afrkanwatch, the solid foundation for the development of modern Orogun kingdom has been laid. The way forward is to focus on the right issues under the conditions of peace, unity and the right political education and participation. The development of modern Orogun Kingdom will require focus on the following areas:
- Agriculture: Orogun is blessed with natural resources and fertile soil and favourable climate which can make it become an important producer of food and cash crop such as cassava, Okro, yam, cocoyam, banana, pineapple, plantain, coconut, oil palm, rubber, fresh pepper, tomatoes, water melon, melon, sugar cane, cocoa, groundnut and vegetables (Ugwu and Bitter leaf) for local consumption and export. Agriculture is crucial in any modern society for providing employment and contributing to food security. There is the need to focus on both food and cash crops and develop some crops that Orogun Kingdom will be known for.
- Provision of water: There are few villages that have pipe borne water. In many of the schemes, there is no community ownership. Water supply scheme can be interrupted for many months just because of the need to replace tap head. There is the need for more water schemes and for the villages to take ownership and ensure maintenance and repairs.
- Housing: There is no government housing scheme in the entire kingdom. With the institutions coming to the clan, private development will become very rapid. This is the time to start town planning of the villages. The President Generals of Ugono, Ozuaka and Orhomuru have taken this step which is worthy of emulation.
- Electricity: Most of the villages are already connected to the national grid and it is expected that the step-down project will improve electricity in the Kingdom.
- Roads: There are some good road networks within the kingdom. But with the expected new developments, there is the need to repair the bad ones, expand the road network and create new roads. Otorho-Obodoeti- Eboh road is very bad and need urgent repairs. There is the need to dualise Sanubi-Orogun road up to Otorho ring road through Abbi to Abraka and Benin City; and Aragba-Eboh-Obodoeti-Igbukun-Otorho road. There is the need to open up Emonu-Eboh road, Otorho-Emevor road and Otorho-Owhelogbo road. Finally, there is the need to explore the possibility of opening new roads along Ugono-Kokori, Emonu-Ovara, Emonu-Eboh, Igbukun-Idjerhe, Igbukun-Abbi, and Obodoeti-Imodje. It is gratifying to note that DSP is already working on some of the roads.
- Education: The relationship between education and development is well established such that education is a key index of development. It has been documented that schooling improves productivity and health and reduces negative features such as child labour as well as bringing about empowerment. The beginning point of education is basic education. The foundation of good education is relevant curriculum, good content, good pedagogy, good environment of learning and quality teachers. Most primary schools in Orogun kingdom do not have sufficient teachers. Already many communities are supplementing the provision of teachers. This must continue with advocacy to the State government to provide teachers. There is no doubt that the future of the world will be dominated by science, technology and innovation with advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, automation and quantum data analytics. These are some of the courses that will be offered at the Federal Polytechnic, Orogun and the people of the kingdom should utilise the opportunity.
- Health Care Services: The health of the people is crucial in any modern society. As the popular adage goes- Health is wealth. Unfortunately, there is only one hospital in Orogun kingdom operating with challenges and difficulties. Only few villages have health centres. With the expected influx of people into the Kingdom with the coming institutions, there is the need for provision of more health facilities by both government and the private sector.
- Industrialisation: Industrialization is necessary to create employment, reduce poverty and help to promote economic growth. In any modern society, small and medium scale industries are critical. There is the need for Orogun businessmen and women to come back home and invest. The Oil and Gas industrial park will be another opportunity for ancillary industries. My dear brothers and sisters, I have no doubt in my mind that if we focus on the issues above, we will be on the right path to producing a modern Orogun Kingdom. This will require the partnership of government at all levels (Federal, State and Local Government), the private sector and civil society including the development unions and vigilante groups. The future is bright for Orogun kingdom.
Paper presented at the 2021 conference on economic and political development of Orogun kingdom held from 2nd -3rd October, 2021 titled, Peace, Unity And Political Education: Imperative For Development Of Modern Orogun Kingdom By Otive Igbuzor, PhD, Founding Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD) and Chief of Staff to the Deputy President of the Senate.
For breaking News: Call +2348028592006, 08148704264. Email us @: email@example.com for your interview on national issues, or article, commentary or event coverage. View our services and profile by clicking about Afrikanwatch Network and Service.