BY DENNIS OTU
THE Urhobo nation has been thrown into mourning following the death of the royal father of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, Warri, His Royal Majesty, Benjamin Okumagba (JP) (OON), Okumagba 1, the Orosuen of Okere Urhobo Kingdom.
The late monarch who was also the President-General of Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) from 1999 to 2007, was selected and apponited by the statutory kingmakers of Okere Urhobo Kingdom on Friday, 22nd February, 2008 in accordance with the traditional chieftaincy declaration of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, Warri until he joined his ancestors this year.
News of his passage was broken yesterday by the Otota (Traditional Prime Minister) of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, chief Wilson Eboh (JP) at a press conference held in the palace of the late royal father in Warri.
Chief Eboh, a Staff of the Delta Broadcasting Service, (DBS), Warri while breaking the sad news in the emotion filled hall of the palace said that; “Gentlemen of the press, if you take a look at the throne of His Royal Majesty; you will discover that the throne is carefully covered with a black cloth, signifying that the kingdom is in a state of mourning.”
The Otota added that; “Therefore, by the power conferred on me by the traditional chieftaincy declaration of Okere Urhobo Kingdom, Warri and in consultation with the traditional council of chief, I chief Wilson Omavowah Eboh (JP), the Otota of Okere Urhobo kingdom Warri, today, Monday 16th April, 2012 do hereby formally announce the glorious journey of our Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Benjamin Okumagba (JP) OON, Okumagba 1, the Orosuen of Okere Urhobo kingdom, Warri.”
He was born 20th of October, 1928 to the families of late chief Okumagba Eboh of Okere Urhobo kingdom, Warri in Warri south local government area and late Princess (Mrs) Osikomuenu Okumagba (nee Ojakovo) from the royal family of Agbarha in Ughelli North local government area of Delta state.
The late royal father was the 17th child out of 23 children of late Chief Okumagba Eboh and until his glorious journey, he was the Izomo of Agbarha in Ughelli North local government area.
The Otota said that; “HRM was a foremost urhobo leader who involved himself selflessly in urhobo nationalism for over 50 years. He was democratically elected the president general of Urhobo Progress Union from 1999 to 2007, covering a period of eight years.
As President-General of UPU, he re-organized and reinvigorated the UPU. He visited the then 22 Urhobo kingdoms, UPU branches nationwide as well as UPU branches in Europe and America to mobilize urhobo people towards nation building. The UPU under his leadership succeeded in bringing Urhobos together, thereby creating a sense of belonging and pride of place among Urhobos.
Under his dynamic and visionary leadership, the UPU started the construction of the first phase of the ultra-modern Urhobo cultural centre at Uvwaimuge Agbarho which will serve as a unifying centre for the entire Urhobo nation.”