Urhobo Historical Society

Welcome Address on the Occasion of the

15th Anniversary Celebrations of Atamu Social Club of Nigeria

Featuring Inaugural Awards and

Launching of Ngn100m Atamu Education Endowment Fund

19th August 2006

 

By Obaro Osah

President

 

 

 

His Excellency, Executive Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori

Chairman, Chief Mike Omeru

Hon. Members of the National and Delta State Houses of Assembly

Honourable Commissioners

Father & Mother of the Day

Our Distinguished Patrons

Representative of the various Clubs and Associations

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Members of ATAMU SOCAL CLUB

All other Protocols Observed

 

We thank God almighty for making today possible and a reality in line with our evolving biennial tradition of organizing a get together for the Urhobo people to extract value from within and reenergize for our future. This journey started in May 2000 at the prestigious Auditorium of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria with the theme:  Atamu r’ Urhobo. The objective of ATAMU DAY was to create a forum for the youth and elders of our community to x-ray issues confronting the Urhobo nation and proffer alternative and multiple solution channels of addressing current and long-range strategic challenges of the Urhobo people.

 

We are strongly motivated to retain this approach by an all-encompassing understanding and interpretation of this theme within the context of the realities of present day Nigeria. There is no doubt now that there is an overriding need to close ranks, bond more and articulate a common and forward-looking position which is firmed up with strong and diverse networking abilities and capabilities. Previous Atamu Day events featured:

 
·
     The inaugural lecture series held in 2000

 
·
    The 10th anniversary celebration in 2001 that featured the Launching of the Dictionary of Urhobo Language.

 
·
    The renovation of Mariere Hall of Residence and erection of the Statue of Chief Jereton Mariere at the University of Lagos in 2004

 

It is therefore an opportunity and privilege, on behalf of our Patrons, Management and the entire members of the Atamu Family, to warmly welcome His Excellency Chief James Onanefe Ibori and the Chairman of today’s occasion Chief Mike Omeru JP. Chief Mike Omeru is the Chairman of the construction giant -- Niger Construction Limited (Nigercat); We are most pleased to welcome this occasion’s erudite and distinguished guest lecturer, Professor Omafume Onoge. A sociologist, a strong and committed member of the U.P.U., an expert in social change analysis and dimensioning and a member of the Constitution Review Conference, Professor Onoge will deliver our anniversary lecture titled: “The role of Education in the Socio-Economic Development of the Urhobo People.”

 

Permit me also to welcome and congratulate Atamu Awardees. The award was conceived by the Club’s Management as a way of recognizing and showing appreciation to our deserving sons and daughters who have made it to the top in diverse life callings and have supported the Urhobo age-long and generational quest for integrity, discipline, innovation, commitment, succession-planning and communal support from a very broad perspective. It will also serve as a means of encouraging others to emulate these role models and to put in perspective the core value of History as a subject that records our day-to-day activity for future analysis.

 

 At Fifteen, the Club remains apolitical but with a dream of having direct and positive impact on the Life of the next generation of our people. We also know from history that in 1935, on a motion moved by Joseph Ikutegbe at a U.P.U meeting in Lagos, the First scholarship endowment scheme was kick-started. This culminated in the sponsorship of two of our own for university studies: M. G. Ejaife to Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone and later Durham University in the U.K., and Ezekiel Igho to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

 

From web-pages  of the Internet and various documented records available, we know of the evergreen and great contributions of the legend, a personage extraordinary, Chief Mukoro Mowoe. His passion for education,  using Urhobo Progress Union (U.P.U) vehicle, made it possible for the establishment of Urhobo College, Effurun in 1948. Education as a leveler remains the most potent power any individual should crave for and acquire. Granted that education is by no means a less costly venture, its opposite -- state of ignorance – cannot be contemplated. No doubt this singular effort alongside those of the missionaries provided schooling opportunities that is near and cheap for our people.

 

What then happened to the Scholarship Scheme? How do we rekindle this project? How else can we prepare our youths for the future? What are we doing to provide support to the challenges faced by parents in sending their children and wards to school? How do we redirect the energy of the teaming youths to the path that is relevant and strategic to our local and global economy? . What are we doing to take charge of our local economy -- agriculture, water, oil and gas? 

 

“Atamu Education Endowment Fund” is designed to address these issues. The Endowment scheme will be professionally managed by an Independent Board of Trustees (IBT) with the objective of applying the returns there from the Fund in:

 

(i)Providing a perpetual source of Financial assistance for Tertiary Education, Sponsor studies in Urhobo.

 

(ii) Offering  career counseling support and sponsoring programs and initiatives in specific Colleges and schools located within our geographical axis.

 

Boardroom guru, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode, will chair the IBT which will be inaugurated today. The other members of the board are; Patrons O. J. A IDUDU & Olorogun O’tega Emerhor, Chief (Dr) Mrs Cecilia Ibru, Ms Evelyn Oputu, Professor John O. Enaowho, David Akoro and Obaro Osah.

 

Atamu will kick-start the =N=100M Endowment Fund with a sum of =N=1,000,000.00 and hereby calls on you our worthy Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, Clubs and associations, the Business community and all well wishers to co-plant this seed that requires nothing short of adequate care and nurturing to germinate and grow to maturity. You have always done it and we know you will do that for us again. Let us re-enact the Urhobo commitment to communalism today. Nothing is too small.

 

 At this juncture please permit me to put on record the pioneering role of our eminent quartet -- Messrs Isaac Evwierhurhoma, Godwin Onodjakeh, Friday Okwoka and Joseph Omovogho Erhirhie -- who founded this club in 1991.

 

I also want to thank our Patrons -- O.J.A Idudu, Professor G.G.Darah, Godwin Etakibuebu, O.C. Majoroh and Olorogun O’tega Emerhor -- as well as our past Presidents -- Isaac Evwierhurhoma, David Akoro, Friday Ebojoh, and Francis Okumagba -- for their immense and continuous contribution. May God continue to bless you all.

 

Let us not conclude without stating that Atamu’s effort is just one of the multiplicities of initiatives necessary to place Urhobo where she should be. Therefore, we urge other groups and even individuals here present today to pick up the challenge to float as many initiatives as possible to make Urhobo greatness a sure conclusion.

 

Once again, I welcome you all to this epoch-making event.

 

Long Live Nigeria!

 

Long Live Urhobo Nation!

 

Long Live Atamu Social Club!

 

Atamuoooooo…!…Erhuvwu

 

Mr. Obaro Osah

President

 

Lagos, Nigeria

19th August 2006

 

 


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