Call for Nominations for

The Urhobo Historical Society (UHS) is calling for nominations of deserving Urhobo men and women to be chosen for its eleven different categories of the Urhobo Service Awards during its forthcoming 12th Annual Conference at the UPU Cultural Centre, Uvwiamughe, Delta State, Nigeria from November 25 – 28, 2021.

About the UHS Awards: The Third Annual General Meeting of Urhobo Historical Society, which was held in London, United Kingdom, on November 3, 2002, created five categories of awards that were named in honour of eminent Urhobo people who have served Urhobo history, culture and people in significant ways. The first awards were made at the Fifth Annual Conference of the Society at Agbarha-Otor on October 31, 2004. The Chief Mukoro Mowoe Service Award was given to Chief Michael Ibru; Dr. (Chief) F. E. Esiri received the Omohwovo Okoro Co-Leadership Award; Chief P. A. Wanogho received the Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Award; Professor F. M. A. Ukoli received the M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award; and Chief Daniel A. Obiomahreceived the Adogbeji Salubi Urhobo History Award.  At the Sixth Annual Conference held at Effurun in October 2005, two additional awards were created. They were the Omokomoko Osokpa and Ogute Otan (joint) Urhobo Music Award and M. O. Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award.  At that conference, Professor Joseph Akpokodje received the Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Award while Mrs. Rose Inisiagho received the M. G. Ejaife Education Award. At the Seventh Annual Conference in 2006, Professor Obaro Ikime received the M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award; Mr. Johnson Adjan received Omokomoko/Ogute Urhobo Music Award; Chief D.O. Ohwovoriole received the Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award; while Chief Johnson O. Omajowa and Chief Humphery Idisi jointly received the Agbotaren Udi Diaspora Service Award. At the Eight Annual Conference in 2009, Chief Johnson Ukueku received the Chief Mukoro Mowoe Award; Chief Edwin Clark received the Omorohwovo Okoro Leadership Service Award; Professor Onigu Otite and Professor Reverend Samuel Erivwo both received the Adogbeji Salubi Urhobo History Award, and Reverend Canon Joseph Oghenekaro received the Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award. At the Ninth in 2014, two additional awards were created. These were the E.N. Igho Science Award and the David Dafinone & Michael Ibru Business and Professional Award. The latter was awarded to Olorogun Moses O. Taiga at that conference. In 2015, two additional awards were created. These are the Alice Obahor Outstanding Urhobo Women Award and the Distinguished Urhobo Young People Award.  At the Eleventh Conference held on May 18, 2018 at the Main Auditorium of PTI Conference Centre, Effurun, the  Chief Mukoro Mowoe Service Award  was presented to Professor Joseph Ukpe Akpokodje; the Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Service Award to Chief Simpson S. Obruche; the M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award to Professor Perkins Foss; the David Dafinone & Michael Ibru Business and Professional Award to Olorogun O’tega Emerhor; the Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award  to Mrs. Emuobo Ibru; and the Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award to Professor (Mrs.) Rose Oro Aziza..

(1)       Chief Mukoro Mowoe Service Award: This is an award that reflects the life-long service that focuses and impacts Urhobo history, culture and people. Chief Mukoro Mowoe’s life epitomizes such service.

Criterion: This award should be for a life time of service that reflect the above attributes.

(2)       Omorohwovo Okoro Co-Leadership Service Award: The Urhobo Brotherly Society was the precursor of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU). Its founding leader was Omorohwovo Okoro, an Ovu trader in Warri in the 1920s and 1930s, who voluntarily relinquished leadership to Mukoro Mowoe, because he thought the complexities of the new colonial setting required younger and better trained leader. Any Urhobo person deserving of this award should come from the ranks of selfless public servants who seek out Urhobo issues and work for their success, even if the credit is claimed by others.

Criterion:  Recipients should show life time commitments of service to Urhobo causes by working with other leaders, without fighting for higher offices all the time.

(3)       Agbotanren Udih Diaspora Service Award: Agbotanren Udih was one of the three Trustees of Urhobo Progress Union when it was incorporated in 1946. Chief Udih resided and was famous throughout Urhoboland for a unique type of service that he rendered to Urhobo travellers who went through Benin City. Many Urhobos went to Okitipupa through the creeks in the 1920s. But with the establishment of motor transportation in later decades, Benin City became the corridor through which most Urhobos travelled to various locations outside Urhoboland. Those were dangerous times. Armel’s Transport Services and other transportation companies, through whose vehicles many travelled, passed through Benin City. Chief Udih arranged safe haven for Urhobo travellers. Those who had nowhere to rest, especially at night, went to Udih’s abode. Moreover, he provided important leadership to the Urhobo community in Benin City.

Criterion: This award is for Urhobo men and women who have served Urhobo Diaspora communities, outside Urhoboland.

(4)       M. G. Ejaife Education Service Award: Urhobo College is pivotal to Urhobo history. M. G. Ejaife was the chief steward in the formative years of the college. His service as the Principal of Urhobo College helped to create the momentum for the expansion of education in Urhoboland.

Criterion: This award is for individuals who have made major achievements in education and have helped to advance educational vocations that have benefited Urhobos.

(5)       Adogbeji Salubi Urhobo History Service Award: Chief Salubi did many things for Urhobo. In particular, his work on the history of Urhobo College and the UPU, British colonialism in Urhoboland, and the origins of Sapele are seminal and advanced the history of the Urhobo people.

Criterion: This award is for individuals who have made significant contributions to understanding and documentation of Urhobo history.

(6)       Omokomoko Osokpa and Ogute Otan (joint) Urhobo Music Award: Urhobo music is an integral part of our cultural heritage and traditions. Chief Omokomoko Osokpa of Orogun and Ogute Otan of Udu are amongst the greatest promoters of Urhobo music. Omokomoko consolidated Urhobo traditions of folk dance and music for modern mass culture. Ogute promoted the Udje genre of dance and music, making it accessible to the generality of the Urhobo people.

Criterion: This award is for those who promote Urhobo traditions of dance and music for mass distribution.

(7)       M. O. Ighrakpata Urhobo Language Award: The effort to promote a uniform style of literacy in the writing and reading of Urhobo language dates back to 1948 when UPU set up Urhobo Literacy Committee. In 1952, the committee was revived as Urhobo Language Committee an under the able leadership of Mr. M. O. Ighrakpata, the committee effectively standardized Urhobo orthography and made the reading and writing of Urhobo language a common exercise across Urhoboland.

Criterion:  This award is intended for individuals who has made a major contribution to the development of Urhobo literacy, including the reading and writing of Urhobo language.

(8)       David Dafinone & Michael Ibru Business and Professional Award: This award was created in honour of Chief David Dafinone and Chief Michael Ibru, two Urhobo icons who have projected the image of Urhobo nationally and internationally through their achievements in the professions and business.

Criterion: This award is intended for those who have not only distinguished themselves in business and in the professions but have also projected the image of, and supported, the Urhobo people in their businesses and professions in Urhoboland and in the Diaspora.

(9)       E. N. Igho Science Award: This award is honour of Mr. Ezekiel N. Igho, one of the two recipients of overseas scholarships awarded by the UPU in 1945 with the ultimate aim of qualifying for Science Mastership on the staff of the proposed Urhobo College. The other recipient was MG. Ejiafe who became the Principal of the College. In October, 1945, Ezekiel entered Downing College, Cambridge University, graduating Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences in June, 1948, and obtained his Diploma in Education from the Institute of Education, University of London in July, 1949.  Ezekiel returned home in September, 1949, and joined the Staff of the Urhobo College as the Vice-Principal and Science Master.  Although he died at an early age in1956, he made significant contribution to the teaching and learning of science at the college and in Urhoboland in general. In fact, he was one of the earliest Urhobo scientists.

Criterion: This award is intended for individuals who have distinguished themselves in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and have made significant contributions to the growth, application, teaching and learning of STEM in Urhoboland.

(10)    Alice Obahor Distinguished and Outstanding Urhobo Women Award: This award shall be given in honour of Mrs. Alice Obahor, who was an outstanding Urhobo women leader. Although she was the wife of a prominent Urhobo leader, Chief Jabin Asiditor Obahor who was the third President General of the UPU, she nonetheless was a charismatic community leader, a social mobilizer and wealthy trader in her own right and contributed in no small measure in empowering Urhobo women. 

Criterion: This award is intended for any Urhobo woman who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and has made significant contributions in empowering other Urhobo women. Note that in addition to this award, Urhobo women are also eligible for all the other Urhobo Service Awards if they meet the criteria.

(11)    Distinguished or Outstanding Urhobo Young People (Youth) Award: Although Urhobo societies are essentially gerontocratic, young people have always played important roles in traditional Urhobo societies such as defending their societies and doing the heavy work. Like elsewhere, they are seen as “leaders of tomorrow” and are expected to be hard working and be of good behavior. Unfortunately, Urhoboland, like other areas in the Niger Delta region, has been passing through some form of “youth crisis” (Onoge, 2004) which has tended to mask the significant contributions and achievements of some young people in the area. It is very important to recognize those young men and women who have distinguished themselves through remarkable achievements and served as role models to other youths.

Criterion:  This award is intended for any young Urhobo man or woman, aged 18 to 40 years, who exemplifies the best qualities of character, hard work, leadership, entrepreneurship and achievement in any field of human endeavor. The recipient should also be one that has served or can as a role model or mentor for other young people. Note that in addition to this award, Urhobo young men and women are also eligible for all the other Urhobo Service Awards if they meet the criteria.

The Call: This Announcement is to call for nominations in all the eleven award categories listed above. The Awards Committee reserves the right not to make awards in some categories in any year. The 2021 Awards are scheduled to be made during the Opening Ceremony of the 12th Annual Conference on Friday, November 26, 2021.

Please complete the attached form and attach a brief biography of your nominee and reasons why he/she should be selected, and then email it or send as text via WhatsApp to:

Dr. Emmanuel Ojameruaye
Chair, UHS Awards Committee
Tel: +1-602-628-0792

All nominations must be received no later than October 15, 2021.Members of Awards Committee: Dr. Emmanuel Ojameruaye, Chief Peter Essi, Mr. Edirin Erhiaganoma.



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