June 20, 2024

Obaseki Breaks Benin Calabash!

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Oba Ewuare II, the Ivory Pendant Benin Court Art and Gov Obaseki, Proponent of MOWWA

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By Samuel Omatseye

The video is riveting. I had never imagined a vision of a dancing Oba of Benin.

But here he was, in his full royal apparel, splendour and grandeur, swaying from side to side.

Within his orbit, his white robe adorned with a semi-circle of beads around his neck, he stepped right and left, his hands upraised and came down in rhythm to a song from courtiers’ lips that filled the royal chamber with awe and majesty.

The song, translated for me by a Benin friend and former classmate, was: Serene, serene May calm reign in the Oba’s domain serene, serene.

And well, he should. The palace had just received two coronation stools stolen at an infamous hour of the Benin Empire.

The stools were for the coronations of two kings, Oba Eresoyen and Oba Esigie. The reigning king, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, was inhaling a proud draught for the kingdom.

But not everyone in Edo State is happy. Not least the governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki. He has not congratulated the palace.

He even carried it so far that he wanted to pit his party against the throne. Even after members of the APC, including its guber candidate, Monday Okpebholo, has issued a hearty congratulations, he has kept mum.

It took a while before Asue Ighodalo, PDP counterpart, did. It is seen as an afterthought. It is more of a reflection of the atavistic malice that Obaseki bears against the throne.

He is reminding everyone in the state that he is an Obaseki, and he would work against the stature of the palace.

His forbears were on the side of the foreigners when the British invaded in 1897. It was an Obaseki, who conspired with them and served as a warrant chief for the interlopers of the kingdom. He still carries that age-long pain in his lineage.

That bad blood is the reason he wants to cut the royal kingdom into parts and asks the parts to become equal to the Oba of Benin.

He is even backing renegade Enigies who are like dukes. And Dukes are no kings. He wants to dress them in Obaseki’s robes.

He is enlisting an “army” against the throne because he is a governor. It is puny force. His party has been complicit in it, and I want to know what Ighodalo will say for himself when the campaigns heat up.

Will he deny Obaseki during the campaigns, or will he deny the palace. To be or not to be, to echo Shakespeare. He is a governor trying to become a bandit against the throne.

He is divvying up the kingdom, so the allocation that should go to the king will now be divided among the dukedoms.

He is trying to suffocate the monarch by hitting the pocketbooks. But he is an inelegant man. He can not even acknowledge the good fortune of the palace. Rather, he wanted the stools to come to him.

He set up a museum by breaking away part of the iconic Central Hospital in Benin to house the artefacts. This is against the wish of the palace.

The palace wants it at the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre located across the palace. Is that not befitting? A cultural centre to house an icon of history. But Obaseki has turned it into a motor park.

Obaseki has broken the royal calabash. Hence, I say he is a gubernatorial bandit. But he will miss the prize, like the bandit in Alexander Pushkin’s unfinished tale, Dubrovsky, about a bandit who loses the prize, a young woman, because he arrives late to rescue her.

Obaseki is a joke now because he has only a few months to go. The palace knows that. They have to temporize and bid their time before a civilised turn.

Meanwhile, Obaseki is a cross on Ighodalo’s neck. Will he deny himself and carry Obaseki’s cross?

Will he allow himself to be cast as the candidate to sully the Benin throne.

Samuel Omatseye wrote this Article for The Nation Newspaper

Read Also: https://thenationonlineng.net/obaseki-breaks-benin-calabash/

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