Corporate bodies such as DESOPADEC, other government agencies, private organizations as well as sons and daughters of Urhobo land, have been called upon to encourage and support the Urhobo film industry, the “Urhobo Wood” to ensure its sustenance taking into cognizancetheexpensivenatureoftheindustry.
The Commissioner representing Ethiope West, Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas on the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Dr. Henry Ofa (JP) who made this appeal on the occasion of the 1st Urhobo National Film Festival at Urhobo Cultural Centre Agbarho, Delta State, said Urhobo film is the image of the Urhobos, an image worth developing, celebrating and promoting by all men of goodwill in ourtime.
Dr. Ofa enjoined Urhobo Wood to strive hard to promote, propagate and preserve the Urhobo culture and language globally and as well create avenue for youth self employment, pointing out that Urhobo a once vibrant ethnic nationality in the country, ranking fifth in the whole nations in terms of population with rich mineral and human resources seems to be losing grip of its culture and social relevance for some inexplainable reasons, adding that it was a pride to be identified as an Urhobo man, having been raised in the finest ideals of the Urhobocultureand tradition.
He continued, that the beauty of the Urhobo culture and its tradition were there to behold and cherished, the symbolic identity left behind by their great forebears, but today, it is unfortunate to note that they are no longer there in that original state and form that could richly benefit the new generation of their children because of the infiltration of the Urhobo cultureby Western civilization.
Dr. Ofa remarked further that there is a missing link between the old and the present generation, with an increasing gap at each passing day of what used to be their collective identity, the pride of a people hence the cultural events, like the film festival which enable them understand the dynamics and reality of their culture through the lens of the screen can better beappreciated.
He noted that the festival, the first of its kind might therefore turn out to become a defining moment in their cultural renaissance as it will afford everyone in Urhobo land the opportunity to undertake introspective and retrospective evaluation of their centre which is
germane to their very existence as a people with a common heritage.
Dr. Ofa stressed that at the end, they may discover their true identity as Urhobos and the ultimate imperatives of their shared humanity through occasion such as this while thanking the organizers of Urhobo film “Urhobo Wood” for the laudable initiative which he said, will go a long way to enhancing their ebbing interest in their culture in whatever form, especially now that it has been elevated to an enduring platform in the screen.
The Commissioner also commended the Governor of Delta State, His Excellency Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan CON, for the opportunity given him to serve Urhobo Nations at the board of DESOPADEC as he called on the Urhobos to continue to support the programmes and policies of the government especially as it affects human capital development, infrastructure,peace and security.
He attributed the successes recorded in recent times by DESOPADEC to the Governor for his commitment to the over all development of the oil bearing communities in the state while also congratulating the governor for his numerous awards, most especially the “Man of the Year” award by the SUN Newspaper, noting that the awards is a clear attestation of His Excellency’s unprecedented achievements which is evident in the slogan, “Yes we are finishing strong” just as he called on the Urhobos to fervently pray for the former Governor HisExcellencyChief James Iboriforgoodhealth.
The President of the “Urhobo Wood”, Dr. Amb. Joseph Udugan Orekenreke, the founder and the Lord Mayor of Urhobo Wood and Mrs. Doris Ogheneochukome Esieke, the mayor representing Okpe Kingdom in Urhobo Wood, remarked that the visit of Dr. Henry Ofa to Urhobo Wood festival is significant in Urhobo history as a man that is after the overall progress of the Urhobos, lamenting that all DESOPADEC Commissioners were invited to grace the occasion but it was only Dr. Ofa who deemed it necessary to attend because he has the Urhobos at heart, just as they called on all Urhobos to take their rightful place in the scheme of things, as he thanked those of them that contributed to the success of the festival including Dr. Ofa whom they enjoined all Urhobos to follow his footsteps.
High points of the event was the keynote address/lecture delivered by Dr. Sunny Awefada a Lecturer at the Delta State University, Abraka, on the topic “The Role of Film in Creating Grassroots Security and Youth Empowerment”, launching, comedy, cultural display by members of the Urhobo Wood, an address by Dr. Ofa, rendering of Urhobo National
Anthem amongst others.
….As Lord Mayor of Urhobo Woods Appeals for Financial Support
The Lord Mayor of “Urhobo Wood” Dr. Joseph Udusan, Orekereke, has appealed to all sons and daughters of the Urhobo extractions for financial assistance in moving the Urhobo film industry forward.
Dr. Orekereke who delivered his speech on the occasion of the maiden edition of Urhobo National Film Festival organized by the Urhobo Wood organization in collaboration with the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) at the Urhobo Cultural Centre, Agbarho, Delta State, said they have been in the business of promoting the Urhobo Nation for over ten years, as they have organized several Urhobo language and culture competitions, Urhobo Beauty Pageants and they have also supported the creation of Urhobo movies, comedies ad oratories all activities done to create, sustain and promote the Urhobo language and culture.
He pointed out that the Urhobos are very creative as this creativity is evident in their music, dance, folklores and movies as their limitations is that of lack of exposure to the external world which hinders them from reaping the benefits of their God-given talents, adding that their goal in the first Urhobo National Film Festivals is to expose the creative works of the Urhobo people to National and International levels for patronage and propagation.
He stated that they needed the collective efforts of all Urhobo people in the Nation and in the Diaspora to move Urhobo forward to the international area, as they wanted their movies and music to be shown on MY TV Africa, Africa Magic, Cine Afrik and other National and International Cable stations, stressing that they want their talents to be recognized, appreciated and respected worldwide which is their vision and mission statement.
He therefore solicited for financial support from all the people of Urhobo Nation to enable them meet some of their critical professional requirements of this festival as well as acquire the necessary facilities and logistics to continue the goals they have set for themselves for thesakeof thebelovedUrhobopeople.
Dr. Orekereke placed on record, the fatherly assistance of the President General of Urhobo Progress Union worldwide, Chief General Patrick Aziza (Rtd), the Deputy President General and other UPUexecutives that arebehindthefestival.
The Mayor of Urhobo Wood also commended Senator, Emmanuel Edesiri Aguariavwodo for his untiring love for everything that concerns the Urhobo people and his contribution to getting the festival started even as he also lauded the humanitarian activist of Dr. Henry Ofa and all professionals who were on ground to train, to educate and to participate as well as other invitees, the local and international media which covered the event.