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New book points way to Ughievwen unity.

Title: Mega Distortions Of Ughievwen History: Untold Story of Betrayal

Author: Mosumo Royal Family of Ughievwen
Editor: Prince Pa. Johnson Koyonda
Year of Publication: 2015
Number of Pages: ix + 94
Reviewer: Weneso Orogun

Ughievwen Kingdom in Delta state is embroiled in lingering disputes over

traditional rulership. Sadly, these conflicts have not received the attention they
deserve from the Delta State Government in the last eight years. Consequently, the
kingdom currently boasts of six Ivie, one Okobaro, two parallel Ughievwen
Union Executives, and two parallel Youth Executives. These have tended to
subject the unity, peace, and progress of the Ughievwen People to avoidable stress.
The lack of unity among the Ughievwen was recently on display when the
newspapers were awash with ludicrous exchanges among some of the seven people
masquerading as kings in Ughievwen. The drama started when people who have no
staff of office from the Delta State Government published messages congratulating
Governor-elect Senator Ifeanyi Okowa on his victory at the April 11 governorship
polls. They described themselves as kings and thus incurred the wrath of the
Okobaro of Ughievwen, Chief Matthew Egbi, himself the occupant of a position
that has no link with royalty in Ughievwen.
The bitter exchanges in the media must have alerted the incoming Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) government in Delta State to the fact that it will be
inheriting simmering kingship disputes in Ughievwen.
It is in the context of the foregoing that the authorities in Asaba will do well to
study this new book edited by the 87-year old Prince Pa (Dcn) Johnson Koyonda
of Oginibo. The book dwells on the avoidable confusion in Ughievwen and
answers the question: who is the authentic traditional ruler of Ughievwen? Pa
Koyonda answered this question in the book History of Ughievwen Kingship (Uvie

rUghievwen) and Mosumo Genealogy, which he co-edited for the Mosumo Royal
Family of Ughievwen in 2012.

The new book sets out to correct the deliberate distortions and propaganda that
detractors are using to suppress the Ughievwen Monarchy as symbolized by King
Mosumo- the first and only Ovie of Ughievwen to date. It is in three chapters and
six appendices. Chapter One contains most of the published and some unpublished
distortions of the history of Ughievwen monarchy. Chapter Two dwells on the
Mosumo Royal Familys responses to these distortions (propaganda) The final
chapter draws out the issues and suggests the way to Ughievwen peace and unity.
While the appendices contain: i) Summary report of the 1970 investigation into the
role of chiefs in Ughievwen, ii) Ancient history of Ughievwen as told by the
British Imperialist in 1932, iii) Appointment letter of Erigboluwa (Chief C.E Ugen)
as Warrant Chief by the British imperialist in 1925, iv) Recommendation letter of
Chief Ugen as Clan Head by the British imperialists in 1946, v) Warrant
establishing the Jeremi Clan Native court and vi) the critique of the 1932
Intelligence Report on Jeremi Clan, by the British Anthropological Officer.
The book discusses two main instances of betrayal in Ughievwen history. The first
is about the conspiracy that led to the assassination of King Mosumo Gbebor after
he was falsely accused of seizing women he fancied. A second instance centres on
the conspiracy by those who wanted to be Clan Head and, therefore, subverted two
golden opportunities by the Ughievwen people to restore their Ovieship (kingship).
One opportunity was through Prince Ogbaran Nairhe during the colonial era.
Another was the event of 1964, when the need arose for Ughievwen to be
represented in the then Mid-Western House of Chiefs. Instead of the Ughievwen
people restoring their monarchy, Chief C. E. Ugen manipulated the process,
invented the title of Okobaro and became a member of the House of Chiefs.
On distortions of Ughievwen history, the book devotes considerable space to
several. One major distortion emanates from the refusal of Professor G.G.Darah, a
folklore specialist of Ughievwen extraction, to acknowledge the Mid-West State
Government investigation report of 1970, which looked into the role of Chiefs in
Ughievwen. The Ughievwen people used the opportunity of that investigation to

correct the distorted and provocative account of the Ovieship of Ughievwen

contained in the British Intelligence report of 1932. The 1970 report established
that it was Mosumo Gbebor and not Evwerha that visited Aka (Benin) to be
crowned Ovie of Ughievwen in pre-colonial times. But Prof. Darah would not
factor this into his writings.
The 1970 report also acknowledged the hierarchy of chiefs in Ughievwen with the
Odede Ade at the apex. Indeed, the report of the 1970 chieftaincy investigation
contains an important finding: The most distinctive feature of the Jeremi
traditional organization are four separate title associations which in the current
inquiry were described collectively as Ehovwore, names and their present
membership were given as:- Ade (30), Ebo or Ogbarurhie (110), Igbutor (40),
Igbun-Eshovwin (30).
Prof. Darah invites outrage when in his 2014 lecture to the Ughievwen Ladies
Vanguard he claims that There was no hierarchy or pecking order among the
Idede at any time. None claim superiority or supremacy over the other. This claim
by Prof Darah is so contrary to the facts that most Ughievwen people would
question his credentials as a student of Ughievwen history, a subject which he
started documenting about the year 1971. He admitted in his earlier writings the
hierarchy of the titled associations. For example Darah is on record as stating that
in social ranking the Ade Society is the most important of the four societies.
Members (males only) regard themselves as belonging to a club of nobles and
affluent. This reference is to Darahs contributions in the 2003 and 2011 editions
of The Urhobo People edited by Onigun Otite, the distinguished anthropologist.
It is in the light of distortions such as the above that the book rightly accuses
Professor Darah of twisting the facts to fit into his theory of reconstructed
Ughievwen monarchy which he advanced in his 2014 lecture. Darahs new claim
that all Idede are equal in rank is a deception to hide the fact that Chief C. E. Ugen
was refused admission to the Ade Society in his life time. He therefore remained
Odede Ebo.

It is also significant to point out that in the absence of the Ovie (King), the highest
Chief of the land should ideally have been the one to represent Ughievwen in the

then newly created Mid-West State House of Chiefs in I964. In the alternative, the
Otota should have been the one. Chief Uhrorho of Okwemor being the Odede Ade,
was the highest chief, while Chief Djowha of Urhiephron was the Otota. Chief
Ugen was just an Odede Ebo (Chief Priest of Ogba-urhie deity) which is inferior to
Odede Ade. And Chief Ugen, whose pocket was attempted to be lined with the title
of 'Clan Head' by the colonial masters in 1946, had lost that title long before
Nigeria's independence of 1960. However, as usual, he deployed high-powered
political intrigues as NCNC party chieftain to nominate himself; and as a clever
decoy, adopted the title of Okobaro instead of Ovie since he knew he was not a
royal personage.

Prof. Darahs account of how the office of clan head came to be recognized by the
British in 1926, is misleading. The Intelligence Report of 1932 on Ughievwen by
Lt. Commander Johnson was conducted to enable the smooth take-off of Indirect
Rule. It was the Intelligence Report that recommended the setting up of a Grade
C Clan court at Otughievwen to replace what the colonial masters then referred to
as Otu-Jeremi and Jeremi native courts sited at Erhuwaren and Otokutu
respectively and where the Warrant Chiefs held sway. So, Oguma could not have
assumed office in 1926 when the Warrant Chiefs were still holding sway in their
native courts as evident by the suspension of Erigboluwa (Eyagbologha) for three
months in 1927.
It was the fallout of the 1932 investigation and recommendation that threw up
Oguma who was the then Okpaku Orere (eldest man) of Ughievwen as the Clan
Court president. Darah, in his desire to confuse and confound has chosen to refer to
a court president as traditional head of Ughievwen and found it convenient to
invest Oguma with royalty: HRH Oguma- Uhurie I, Clan Head of Ughievwen.
Prof. Darahs grand design to invest Chief C. E. Ugen, the first Okobaro of
Ughievwen, with royalty must be exposed as a fraud. As the book points out,
certainly to Darahs discomfiture, the 1970 Mid-West State Government enquiry

into the role of chiefs in Ughievwen met at the Otu-Ughievwen Town Hall as
against the practice where similar meetings were held in palaces of the kings (Ivie)
of other kingdoms of Urhobo. This was because Chief Ugen had no palace as
Okobaro and he could not have dared to summon members of the four societies for
any meeting in his own house.
It is important to note that shortly after the 1970 government enquiry, Chief C.E.
Ugen took steps to obliterate any physical reminder of Ughievwen Monarchy as
symbolized by King Mosumo. He ordered the demolition of what was left of the
sacred Ovie r Ughievwen palace at Otughievwen and relocated the Ughievwen
market there in 1972. This was something the British colonial masters were not
bold enough to do, despite the outrageous persecution of the Royal Family
throughout British rule in Ughievwen.
Prof. Darah claims that Ughievwen monarchy has long been extinct yet the present
occupant of the position of Okobaro, Matthew Egbi, was among the four former
Etota (spokes persons) of the four sub-clans of Ughievwen who in 2002, visited
the family of the so-called extinct Monarchy for royal blessings.
The book demonstrates that Chief Ugen who invented the Okobaro title was not
a king or a monarch and Matthew Egbi who is currently deluding himself with the
Okobaro title is also neither a king nor monarch. All those (the sub-clan etota) who
purportedly crowned Chief Matthew Egbi have deserted him. This, therefore, takes
Ughievwen back to the starting point, which is the foundation of Ughievwen
kingship and monarchy as laid by King Mosumo centuries ago and which he did
not abdicate.
Restoring peace and unity among the Ughievwen requires urgent soul-searching
by all true sons and daughters of Ughievwen who should take deliberate steps to
stop the Nollywood-like drama taking place in the kingdom. The Delta State
Government should not spare any effort to expose and checkmate those bent on
distorting Ughievwen history, thereby stoking the fire of disunity in our days.