President General of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Olorogun Moses Taiga, has charged the Federal Government to honour the Federal Character principle, which respects the peculiar needs of all Nigerians.
Taiga, who spoke to newsmen in Lagos yesterday, noted that it was unfortunate that up till now, the Federal Character principle has not been equitably applied to the Urhobo.His words: “For instance, we think it is totally unfair that in a government that has over 30 ministers, there is no single Urhobo appointee despite the fact that the Urhobo nation must be counted as one of the principal ethnic nationalities of Nigeria in terms of its contributions to scholarship, commerce, industry, sports and entertainment.
“We believe we have excellent candidates who can serve faithfully and competently in the government as ministers. We urge the government to consider this matter urgently.”Taiga also stressed the demand for the country’s restructuring, saying the Urhobo Nation, like the rest of the South-South, favours political and economic restructuring in a true federation.
He added that the Urhobo stood with the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) on the implementation of the region’s 16-point demand, which was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.He pointed out that the people also emphasised the demand when the UPU and Urhobo traditional rulers met with the President last month, noting that the Urhobo people have prepared a paper titled: Urhobo Position on Restructuring Nigeria, on the subject.
Taiga further lamented that the Urhobo people were not adequately represented at the Federal House of Representatives.“In comparison with other constituencies in eastern and western Niger Delta, the Urhobo, being represented by only three members is unfair. In terms of population per constituency, we should be represented by no fewer than six members in the House of Representatives,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the President to take the imbalance into consideration and address the marginalisation of the ethnic nationality, bearing in mind the fact that he (Buhari) could do it alone.
As a way of addressing the traffic gridlock in Lagos, Taiga urged the Federal Government to revive the Sapele, Warri and Koko ports, stressing that the Urhobo had asked the Nigeria Navy to surrender nine-tenth of the Sapele Port, which is currently idle for commercial activities. He stressed that if the ports were made functional, the pressure on Lagos ports would be reduced.