HRH Benjamin Okumagba
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It was a week of pomp and colour. Recently, the
entire Okere-Urhobo Kingdom in Delta State was clothed in a colourful garb
as the Orosuen of the community, Chief Benjamin Okumagba, marked his 80th
birthday in style.
The Orosuen of
For the community leader, it is lovely to attain the enviable age. “Life
begins at 80,” he told the crowd of people who gathered at his palace.
For the community leader, it would have been a low celebration. But
thousands of his subjects, including his family members, disagreed with the
king and organized a week-long string of social activities to mark the
Chief Okumagba, who led the Urhobo for almost a decade, while he was
President-General, Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), admitted that in
pre-independence period, things were better than they are at the moment. He
noted with disgust that since independence, things have gradually
deteriorated and prayed for the redemption of the lost glory of the Nigerian
On the collapse of moral values in the society, he enjoined Nigerians to
continue to pray very hard for the forgiveness of sins. He explained that in
life, there are bound to be upheavals, noting, however, that one should be
courageous to overcome such challenges.
“The culture of the kingdom is moving in the right direction but permit me
to say that we are just coming out of our struggle. But I am confident that
things will be better off in the nearest future. But as the leader of the
place, I am doing everything humanly possible for the growth and development
of the area.”
The Orosuen said he had forgiven all those who have offended him. “I have
always had a forgiving spirit and I do not have enemies. I don’t treat
people differently. Every man in Urhobo Kingdom is my subject and I treat
everybody equally.” He advised people to learn to forgive their adversaries,
saying that would ensure that their prayers are always answered by God.
He said further: “I have every reason to be grateful to God Almighty,
judging from what I have passed through in life. I don’t think that God has
been unkind to me”. Asked to comment on any areas where he had had
disappointment during his tenure as the UPU President, he said: “There
cannot be a human being that would have no regrets in life, but I think I
have passed that stage. I have outgrown all that. In my working for the
Urhobo nation, I believe I did my best for the Urhobo people. I brought the
Urhobo people together.
The unity of the Urhobo people was my major priority and I did so much and
achieved so many things. I am very grateful to God that he used me to
achieve so much for the Urhobo people”.
He also spoke on the multi-billion Naira project he initiated during his
tenure as Urhobo leader. “When we started, nobody ever thought the project
would go that far. Some people were saying all sorts of things, but I have
always had a heart of my own. With the extent we have gone so far, every
Urhobo man has a reason to be proud that we had set up not an ordinary
cultural centre, but a unifying centre for the Urhobo people.
Urhobo from all over the world are happy with this project. I think they
will make it work. Only those who do not want the progress of the Urhobo
nation will think otherwise. But I do not think I will stay here forever.
What I have done will take off, but you know I have done my best. I will
leave the rest for history.