By Emeka Okafor
A foremost Urhobo advocacy group, Urhobo Advancement Agenda (UAA), has called on the Federal Government to appoint an Urhobo indigene as the substantive Principal of the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Delta State.
The group, which however, frowned at gang ups to deny eminently qualified Urhobo sons and daughters of the position, said such moves will amount to further marginalization of the Urhobo people by the Nigerian State.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja and signed by its National President, Comrade Theophilus Akpocha, UAA called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the various ministries which oversee the institution to pick the next Principal from the crops of Urhobo professional jostling for the seat.
It noted that Urhobo have continued to support and protect critical Federal Government assets including oil and facilities but are marginalized when opportunity for appointment and employment into such critical institutions.
According to the statement, “Urhobo Advancement Agenda (UAA) has been inundated with expressions of concerns from different quarters over a planned attempt to foist a non-Urhobo indigene as the substantive Principal of Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Delta State, despite the overabundance of core Urhobo professionals eminently qualified for the position.
“UAA as a foremost advocate for equity, fairness and justice in the affairs of Urhobo Nation strongly condemns this move to repeatedly shortchange the Urhobos because of their natural disposition to peaceful co-existence and warm hospitality often taken for granted.
“The Urhobos have over the years been grossly marginalised in the appropriation of the nation’s commonwealth in the midst of playing host to enormous revenue resources, oiling the wheel of growth and development of the country.”
The group, while calling for calm among agitating Urhobo people, posited that the body would keenly monitor the processes leading to the appointment of the next substantive Principal of the revered oil and gas training school.
“UAA is hereby using this medium to call on the appropriate authorities in the succession management of the Institute to ensure that the pool of qualified candidates of Urhobo extraction is duly accorded the Right of First Refusal as it is done in other notable Federal institutions in the country.
“UAA has put up mechanisms to remotely and keenly monitor the process of the appointment of the Principal of the Institute this time, with high expectations that the Federal Government will use this opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past meted on the Urhobo Nation.
We strongly believe that this would be a step in the right direction in guaranteeing the continued peace and tranquility enjoyed by the Institute since it was founded and hosted on Urhobo soil for almost 50 years now”, the statement added.