April 13, 2024

Obaseki’s Offer to Edo Traditional Rulers Designed to Create Caliphates, Balkanize the Benin Traditional Institution – EDAC

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The Edo Diaspora Action Committee (EDAC) has disagreed with  the creation of Local Government Traditional Ruler Council by Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his decision to place them on monthly salaries. EDAC described the action as “criminal and attempt to rubbish the Benin Traditional Council.”

The State Executive Council recently announced the approval of the implementation of a 1979 Law on Local Council Administration, which translated to a new regime, where all traditional rulers in the 18 local government areas will now been paid directly by government, and not through the Benin the Benin Traditional Council, in the case of Edo South Local Government Areas.

A statement by the Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie, disclosed that the decision was taken by the Edo State Executive Council.

However, EDAC disagrees with the EXCO decision, and insisted that it is “suspect and awkward.” The group reacted through the Publicity Secretary, Dr Edwin Obabaifo, and castigated the government, and referred to the statement as part of the attempts by Governor Obaseki to create caliphates in the state with a view to balkanizing the Benin traditional institution.

EDAC statement reads: “Having carefully gone through the said document by the state government, the content of which was given wide publication, we hereby state our position(s): We are of the strong view that whatever good or noble its intention, the motive is highly suspect, timing awkward, and above all, a slight on the Benin ethnic race, which is most homogeneous in Edo State in general and, Edo South Senatorial District in particular.

“The Benin Kingdom, which is made up of the seven local government councils, has only one divine throne and one traditional ruler in the person of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin.

“We consider this move by Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration as distasteful and utterly disrespectful, and strongly advise it be withdrawn. The general public should note that the idea to create traditional councils in Benin Kingdom, for their selfish and dastardly interest, was only mooted by few disgruntled Enigie led by Edomwonyi Iduozee Ogiegbaen of Egbaen village and Prof. Gregory Akenzua of Evbuobanosa village.

“This two Enigies deceived other Enigies to append their signatures to a letter which the two Enigie already crafted and the content of the letter was never made known to the others. The letter was sent to the Governor requesting him to activate the 1979 law by creating traditional councils in Benin Kingdom that is in Edo South Senatorial District of Edo State and make them independent of the Benin throne and at equal status with the Oba of Benin.”

EDAC pointed out that, out of the 85 Enigie that signed that letter, 64 of them later came out to denounce it, and also reiterated their opposition to creation of traditional councils in Benin Kingdom and pledged their loyalty to the Oba of Benin.

EDAC also reminded Governor Obaseki that Benin Chiefs, led by Chief Sam Igbe, Iyase of Benin Kingdom had also written to Governor Obaseki, to opposed the balkanization of Benin Kingdom,  and proliferation of traditional rulership by creating any traditional council in Benin Kingdom.

They said predecessors of Governor Obaseki that created Benin traditional council understood the supremacy of the Oba of Benin on the Benin ethnic race, sanctity and homogeneity.

“The Governor should reason along this line. May be as good as the policy may appear, we wonder how Governor Obaseki will be giving monthly allowances to every traditional ruler in Edo State, when he is presently withholding over N600million, which is in the over seven months federal allocation, that is legally due to Benin Traditional Council.

“This statement by Governor Godwin Obaseki is just another of his several antics usually deployed by the governor in his dealings with the Palace, politicians, and the masses of Edo state.

“If the Governor Obaseki’s led administration has good intention to be paying allowances to all traditional rulers in Edo State, must he create traditional councils before he can pay them?

“Why did he not direct the 18 local government councils in Edo State to begin paying allowances to every traditional ruler in the local governments?

“And of course he is very much aware that local government councils make budget provisions for cultural purposes.

“Does His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki not aware that the traditional councils he is creating with ulterior motive, will have selected traditional rulers as members that would be receiving stipend?

“How does this translate to allowance for all the traditional rulers? There was never any controversy over the status and position of the Oba of Benin, as the Permanent Chairman of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs and also Permanent Chairman of the Benin Traditional Council.

“We not only recall the sad and ugly incidence of the stiff opposition of Governor Obaseki to the proposed place of domicile for returning stolen Benin artefacts from around the world, to the Oba of Benin.

“A Federal Government gazette which placed ownership, custody and maintenance of the artefacts on the Oba of Benin, was a landmark victory for which Governor Obaseki is trying to revenge and avenge by making every sinister move to disrespect the Oba of Benin, and the Benin culture, customs and, traditions.

“He should stay off traditional administrations. We urge Governor Godwin Obaseki, to be more decorous in his dealings with the palace, including refraining from such needless embarrassment cloaked in the monthly allowance announcement.

“We consider such announcement as red herring and utterly embarrassing.”

The group therefore advised Obaseki to desist from further slighting the office of Oba Ewuare II and focus his energy on providing infrastructures.

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